Catawba County leaders named Mary Furtado the next county manager. Furtado will be the county’s first female manager.
Furtado, the county’s current deputy county manager, will move into the county manager seat on July 1, after current county manager Mick Berry retires on June 30.
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners voted to approve Furtado for the position after a closed session meeting Monday evening. The vote was unanimous among commissioners Kitty Barnes, Barbara Beatty, Randy Isenhower and Sherry Butler. Commissioner Austin Allran was not present for the meeting.
Butler said Furtado’s dedication and integrity made her the right person for the job. Beatty agreed.
“She cares about everyone in the entire county. She has compassion, she’s a hard worker,” Beatty said.
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Barnes said Furtado’s knowledge of the county’s goals and operations will make for a smooth transition.
“Mary is a very strategic thinker and cares about the community and is so deeply involved in the community with so many partners she’s going to be a great teammate for everybody,” Barnes said.
Furtado has worked for Catawba County since 2011, a press release from Catawba County said. She lives in Hickory and her years in the area have made Catawba County her home, she said. When Berry announced his retirement in January, Furtado felt applying for the role was the right step.
“I think when I first moved here it was a job. As I’ve lived here and my family is here, and I’ve worked with the team here and we’ve had success together, it became home,” Furtado said. “Then it’s really easy to come and work to make the place you call home better. … It was easy. It felt like the logical next step. When you realize this is where your family has chosen to live you want to do everything you can to see the place thrive.”
With her knowledge of the county’s strategic plan and operations, she’ll hit the ground running, she said. Her goals are to continue growing the county following current strategic plans and goals.
The groundwork Berry laid for those plans during his six years as county manager will be essential to the county’s growth, Furtado said.
“Mick has been a wonderful mentor who’s made sure that he was ensuring that the right people were in place to keep up the good work and follow through on a lot of things that started with his vision,” Furtado said.
Isenhower said he’s glad Furtado applied, and the county is lucky to have her.
“She’s been a great team player, she’s hard working, she’s responsive and she’s been a part of our long-term planning,” Isenhower said.
Before working in Catawba County, Furtado worked for Sarasota County government in Florida from 2004 to 2011. She worked as executive director of strategic operations, public works strategic planner and fiscal planning/policy program consultant.
Furtado holds a master’s degree in public administration from Arizona State University in Tempe, and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and philosophy from Hamilton College.