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August 5, 2014

CATAWBA COUNTY ASSISTANT COUNTY MANAGER NAMED CANDIDATE FOR INTERNATIONAL ACCREDITATION

Assistant County Manager Mary FurtadoCatawba County Assistant County Manager Mary Furtado has been named a candidate for the International City/County Management Association's (ICMA) Credentialed Manager designation and is expected to fully earn the credential by the end of 2015.

Established in 2002, the ICMA Credentialed Manager program recognizes professional local government managers who have a "commitment to continuous learning and professional development."

To be credentialed by ICMA, an association member must have significant experience as a senior management executive in local government, have earned a degree in public administration or a related field, and have demonstrated a commitment to high standards of integrity and to lifelong learning and professional development. Furtado has earned five and a half years toward the seven years of senior governmental management experience she needs to be fully credentialed.

“In our profession, it's not enough to obtain a degree and feel you're certified for life; learning is a lifelong effort,” said Tom Lundy, Catawba County Manager. “ICMA’s Credentialing Program helps us as managers focus on areas where we want to enhance our skills. It could be in leadership, advocacy, strategic planning or communications. The Credentialing Program is a voluntary step. It says a lot about Mary’s commitment to learning and professional development that she’s willing to earn this designation. I’m proud that she’s made this commitment.”

Furtado began serving as Assistant County Manager in Catawba County in December 2011. She is part of the County’s Management Team along with Lundy and Assistant County Manager Dewey Harris, both of whom are ICMA Credentialed Managers.

The Team works on a day-to-day basis to oversee County operations and carry out the directives of the Board of Commissioners. Furtado has day-to-day supervision of the Budget Office, Cooperative Extension Service, Elections Office, County Library system, Public Information Office, Tax Department and Technology Department.

During her time as Assistant Manager in Catawba County, Furtado has led a project to strengthen the county’s local food economy. The program is working to increase the sustainability and self-sufficiency of the local food system, drawing on the county’s strong community heritage of farming and agriculture. The main objectives of the initiative are to sustain agricultural land in Catawba County, recruit younger farmers, provide tools for farm transitioning and ensure local food sustainability by developing and marketing a “Farm-to-Fork” initiative that has been branded as “Eat, Drink, and Be Local”.

Furtado has also led an ongoing effort to strengthen the County’s community engagement and outreach efforts aimed at keeping citizens informed about County programs and services and inviting them to enter into the civic dialogue about what they want the community to look like, now and in the future. Her work with the County’s budget creation process has led to improvement of some of the documents associated with the budget to make them easier for the public to understand.

“I believe strongly in the value of professional local government management and its importance in building strong communities,” Furtado said. “Participating in the ICMA Credentialing Program is one way for me to ensure I’m putting my best foot forward in working on behalf of our citizens, as the process requires me to constantly be learning, growing, and developing. That benefits both me and the Catawba County community I serve.”

Prior to serving in Catawba County, Furtado was Executive Director of Strategic Operations in Sarasota County, Florida. In that role, she designed and put in place strategic plans for the County and its departments; worked to establish countywide goals and ways to measure progress toward goals and set priorities for the county’s use of financial and staff resources.

Furtado earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Hamilton College in New York in 2000 with a dual concentration in philosophy and anthropology. In 2004, she earned a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Arizona State University. She also earned a Certificate in Non-Profit Leadership and Management. She was named a member of the Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society while attending Arizona State.

Furtado and her husband, Gage, who is a veterinarian, live in Hickory with their son, Quinn, 2. They are expecting a second son in September. In addition to her duties as Assistant County Manager, Furtado is active in her profession on a statewide and national level and in the community, as a member of ICMA, the North Carolina City and County Management Association, the National Association of County Administrators, the Rotary Club of Newton-Conover, and as President of the Board of Directors of the Women’s Resource Center.