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Catawba County Manager To Retire
Catawba County Manager Mick Berry is set to retire in June after a career spanning more than 30 years of public service
Courtesy of Catawba County Government

Catawba County Manager To Retire

Catawba County Manager Mick Berry has announced plans to retire at the conclusion of the county’s current fiscal year, effective June 30, 2022. Berry’s career in public service has spanned more than 30 years, nearly 20 of which were with Catawba County.

Berry joined Catawba County in 1990 as a budget analyst and served as IT director, finance director and assistant county manager before being appointed manager of the City of Hickory in 2004. Berry returned to Catawba County as manager in 2016.

As county manager, Berry facilitated and led implementation of the Catawba County Board of Commissioners’ strategic plan to grow the economy and population. These efforts have resulted in $3B of economic investment by 42 new companies and 69 local business expansions creating 3,613 new jobs. This includes the development of Trivium Corporate Center, a first-of-its-kind Class A business park created in partnership with the City of Hickory and the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation that has attracted six new facilities to its location since its groundbreaking in May 2018.

Under Berry’s leadership, the county completed the $44.6M expansion of the Catawba County Justice Center, the $33.4M, 320-bed expansion of the Catawba County Detention Center and the renovation of the county’s former animal shelter into a new facility for the Catawba County Board of Elections. St. Stephens High School and Blackburn, Jenkins and Oakwood Elementary Schools have been renovated and updated, and the Workforce Solutions Complex opened on the campus of Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC).

Consistent with the County Commissioners’ strategic plan, during Berry’s tenure, the county has experienced a return to steady population growth and permitted 2,861 new residential dwellings. Riverbend Park expanded by 209 acres, and the new 606-acre Mountain Creek Park will open this year in Sherrills Ford. The county has also expanded paramedic service, adding 14 new staff and new EMS bases in Conover and Newton. In partnership with the local school systems, CVCC, Lenoir-Rhyne University and the business community, the K-64 initiative provided 14,131 Chromebooks and tech training for teachers, which proved invaluable in maintaining education continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to continuing his day-to-day work as county manager, Berry’s focus over the next six months will include developing the county’s FY 2022-23 budget and updates to the Commissioners’ strategic plan. Post-retirement, Berry plans to work part-time with the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation to continue building corporate centers for new and expanding businesses.

Over the next several months, the Catawba County Board of Commissioners will undertake a competitive process to identify the county’s next manager.

[News release courtesy of Amy McCauley, Catawba County Communications & Marketing Director]