Richard Lovelace PIc
Richard Lovelace
UNF Degree: B.S – ’88
Employment: Senior Vice President, Stellar, Commercial Group

Real world training propels Lovelace to successful career

 Richard Lovelace may be the perfect example of how UNF transforms everyday students into successful civic and business leaders.


Lovelace, the divisional vice president of Stellar Commercial, admits he wasn't the greatest student coming out of high school and lacked motivation. He attended a community college and worked at JEA, Jacksonville's water and electric utility, during the construction of its new coal-fired generating station.


The turning point came when he enrolled in UNF's Construction Management Program. Attending night classes, he was impressed with the "real world experience" of the faculty and the "common sense approach to learning." Specifically he recalls the inclusion of accounting and business classes in the program. "Those classes prepared me well for my current job which is part accounting, part lawyer and part HR rather than actual construction."


After graduating in 1988, Lovelace took a job with Batson-Cook Construction where he worked for 18 years, beginning as a field engineer and climbing the career ladder to assistant vice president.


When he moved to Stellar in 2003, the commercial division was delivering approximately $30 million a year in business. Today, that total exceeds $100,000 million or about 20 percent of the company's overall business.


After his three kids and a 19-year-marriage to wife Darlene, Lovelace is most proud of the growth the Commercial Division has accomplished under his management. He is also proud of the LEED work Stellar has completed. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), is the national benchmark for the design, construction and operation of environmentally friendly buildings. Lovelace and Stellar practice what they preach. The company's new two-story, 25,000 square-foot building that houses the Commercial Division is LEED certified.


When not working, chances are good you will find Richard on his bicycle. He logs up to 150 miles per week. This is in addition to the recreation time he spends with his children coaching everything from Little League baseball to flag football.


He still finds time for community involvement. He is on the board of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and co-chairs an annual sporting clays (clay pigeons) event that generates up to $80,000 a year for the charity. Lovelace is also a Paul Harris Fellow of the Riverside Rotary and sits on the advisory panel of the St. Johns County Economic Development Council.


His involvement with UNF continues with membership on the Dean's Leadership Council for the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction as well as volunteering for the student design build competitions sponsored by the Associated General Contractors. As a result of Richard's commitment to UNF, Stellar sponsors the Stellar Commercial Track of the Construction Management program.


Richard also gives a helping hand to UNF graduates. He estimates as many as 50 UNF alums currently work for Stellar. The emphasis on community service which Lovelace encountered at UNF continues today with all Stellar employees. "We did projects at UNF where we were all encouraged to be involved in the community. Everyone needs to be involved in their community. That's how we make Jacksonville a better place to live."