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The People

Who is Catawba County?

Catawba County employees definitely work hard, but they also know how to play hard. We are parents, musicians, athletes, volunteers, and much more. Hover over the photos to shine the spotlight on a few of our employees...


    Amanda Bentley
    County Manager's Office
    Hobby: Ballroom Dancing

    What do you like about ballroom dancing?
    It is a combination of grace, athleticism, presentation and GLAMOR! Picture Fred and Ginger gliding across the screen, sometimes together, sometimes apart, but always in perfect time. It is so beautiful to watch! Sweeping ball gowns, men in formals, regal dancing with steps that date back hundreds of years to the royal courts of Europe. Ballroom dance is an art form, an expression of the human body and I like it because I don’t have to speak. What I enjoyed most about teaching was working with people to make a dream become reality. It was very rewarding creating a “bucket list” experience and helping people gain confidence to shine on the floor instead of standing in the shadows.

    When did you get started? What inspired you to start?
    I started teaching ballroom in August 2013 and taught full time for approximately a year and part time for another year. I actually trained and taught at the same time.
    It was fate that I started ballroom dancing. I had been laid off from a 16-year paralegal career and thought maybe that was my opportunity to try something new. I really wanted to try teaching but there were no teaching opportunities in my field. However, there was an opening at a ballroom studio for a dance instructor! It fit the bill perfectly because I have a long love history with music and dancing.

    Do you have a favorite dance you like to do?
    East Coast Swing is hands down my favorite. East Coast Swing was established after WWII and is full of energy and danced to jazz or big band music. A lot of modern music has a great tempo for swing dancing as well, so it is considered a social dance and can be used on any dance floor.
    Another favorite is the "Thriller" dance we taught during Halloween every year! That’s right, to the Michael Jackson classic hit. Not ballroom at all, but just as fun!


    Matthew Kusper
    Hobby: Travelling

    Tell us about your traveling adventuress. What do you like about travelling?
    I like traveling to places where I can pursue my outdoorsy hobbies. Also as a geography and planning major, I am really interested in the natural physical landscapes of places as well as cities and their history. Traveling provides a break from the daily rut and exposes me to different cultures and places that excite me. I believe that you don’t have to go far to find unique and interesting places. Especially in NC where landscape and culture can vary greatly over a relatively short distance.

    Have you been on any interesting trips lately?
    I recently went on a solo backpacking trip on the Laugavegur trail in Iceland. It passes through a very unique landscape full of lava fields, volcanoes, colorful bald highlands, and glaciers. It has been hailed by National Geographic as one of the best hikes in the world. The natives are very interesting and friendly and I met many interesting people from all over the world.

    What has been your favorite trip? My favorite trip so far would have to be my recent backpacking trip to Iceland. The landscape is so surreal and unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been. Also the locals and culture of Iceland are very unique and interesting. I will definitely go back someday when I have more time and more money.


    Mary Furtado
    County Manager's Office
    Hobby: Hiking

    Tell us about your hiking adventures. What do you like about hiking?
    I’ll hike pretty much anywhere there’s a trail – and if there’s no trail, even better! If I’ve never been, I’m up for exploring. I love hiking because it reminds me of my place in the universe – we’re so small compared to the vastness of it all. Being out in nature keeps me humble. There is so much natural beauty in the world, and the experience of being out in the woods varies by region, season, time of day, trail… Depending upon where I go, I’m out of technology’s reach. Everyone needs to unplug. Hiking is my favorite way to do that. I love hearing nothing but the sounds of nature, my own footsteps, maybe my own huffing and puffing because I’m getting a work-out. Now, with 2 small boys, I’ve been thrilled to get to share these experiences with them, although that definitely cuts down on the quiet factor...

    When did you get started? What inspired you to start hiking?
    I didn’t really start exploring the outdoors through hiking until college. Growing up, I played team sports – soccer, basketball, volleyball – so that’s how I spent my weekends and summers. My parents weren’t into hiking or camping. I went to college in upstate New York, which brought me into the Adirondack Mountains. Every year, my school organized something called “46 Peaks Weekend” – they tried to send a student group to the peak of each of the 46 peaks in the Adirondacks. One year I signed up to participate. And that was that; I’d been bitten by the hiking bug. During my junior year, I decided to study abroad – in India, Nepal, and Tibet. I couldn’t believe I could get college credit to hike around the Himalayans, but I did!  After college, I lived in South Carolina, which put me within striking distance of the Shining Rock Wilderness here in NC. Then I moved to Arizona for graduate school – and fell in love with the Superstition Mountains, among other majestic places. So now we plan vacations around where we can get out and romp around in the woods.

    Where is your favorite place to hike?
    These days most of our hiking excursions take us either up into the Wilson Creek area or into the Linville Gorge. Both places are vast, beautiful in their own ways, and (if you pick the right spot) remote enough where you can avoid seeing a ton of people.

If you are interested in learning more, please call Angie Triplett at (828) 465 – 8383
or send her an email