County hires assistant manager

When Mary Furtado applied for the International City County Management Association (ICMA) Fellow program in 2004, she was asked to list the governments she most wanted to work with. Catawba County was at the top of her list.

Seven years later, she gets her wish.

Furtado will soon begin working as Catawba County’s new assistant county manager.

A nine-year local government veteran with experience in organizational structuring, strategic planning and policy, Furtado currently serves as executive director of strategic operations in Sarasota County, Fla. She will begin her new duties with Catawba County on Dec. 12.

In her new position, Furtado will work with County Manager Tom Lundy and Assistant County Manager Dewey Harris on a day-to-day basis with specific county departments. The team’s job is to work closely with the Catawba County Board of Commissioners to carry out its goals and directives.

Furtado succeeds Lee Worsley, who left Catawba County in October to become deputy county manager in Durham County.

“We’re very pleased to have Mary join the county’s management team,” Lundy said.

“She’s smart, strategic, a hard worker and interested in building strong communities. She has had experience in technology, finance, budget, legislation and strategic planning. She brings a strong commitment to public service, has good county government experience and skills that will complement our current staff.”

Furtado was selected for the position after a rigorous interview process involving seven department heads, Harris and Lundy. She was picked out of 135 candidates.

“I've always loved what North Carolina has to offer in terms of quality of life and climate,” Furtado said. “From a professional perspective, I was ready to take the next step in assuming a progressively more responsible position. I just had to find the right organization and community."

"Catawba County has a phenomenal national reputation as a well-managed and innovative organization focused on delivering quality outcomes to its citizens," Furtado continued. "When I read through the philosophy statements posted on the county's website, they really resonated with me — values statements like competent, accountable, responsive, least intrusive, compassionate, fair.”

Furtado earned her bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College in New York in 2000, with a dual concentration in philosophy and anthropology. In 2004, she earned her master’s in public administration from Arizona State University.

“My early plans in Catawba County involve getting to know the community priorities and the employees throughout the organization,” Furtado said. “I’ll be listening a lot and learning how I can support them, with the primary goals of building solid relationships and determining how and where I can add the greatest value moving forward.”

Furtado and her husband have two dogs and two cats. They both love the outdoors, especially hiking and kayaking, and she loves playing sports of almost any kind, with soccer being a long-standing favorite. She enjoys reading and watching live musical performance in a variety of styles.