Following an extensive search process, City Manager James E. Baker announced today the appointment of Heath E. Covey as the City’s new Director of Public Communications, effective June 22, 2017. Covey replaces Mark S. Cox, APR, who retired from the position in February following more than 25 years of service to the City.
“I am extremely pleased to have Mr. Covey in this role,” said Baker. “His knowledge of the City, coupled with his very positive working relationships with those inside and outside the organization will be a tremendous asset as we continue to work towards informing all of our citizens about their government and their community.”
Covey began his career in Chesapeake in April of 2001, and has served as Public Information Coordinator for the past 16 years. He has taken a lead role in providing emergency public communications during events ranging from Hurricanes Isabel, Irene, and Sandy, to winter storms and other events. In addition, Covey played a principal role in the media relations efforts during the trial of the DC Sniper in 2003 and has worked on numerous City and community initiatives of all sizes and scopes. He will receive an annual salary of $103,000.
“The opportunity to help lead Chesapeake’s professional communications team is one that I truly welcome,” Covey commented. “Through honest, open, and responsive communications, it’s my goal that citizens be as informed about their City as possible, and we have the staff here to do just that while leveraging all of the communication tools available.”
Covey holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications degree from Virginia Tech, with a double minor in Graphic Design and Theater Design. He has attended numerous trainings with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and has served as an evaluator for multiple local and regional exercises. Additionally, Covey has been a guest lecturer at Old Dominion University and Virginia Wesleyan College on topics including Crisis Communication and Public Relations.
Prior to coming to the City, Covey worked for 10 years in non-profit fundraising as an events manager, as well as writing emergency plans for nuclear weapons facilities in Tennessee, Ohio, and Kentucky. He will oversee a department of 12, handling media relations, television programming, public information, and emergency communications, among other areas. Additionally, Covey will manage the department's more than $1 million annual budget.