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LocalFolks : Ben Stikeleather

Currituck County Manager – Ben Stikeleather : Photo courtesy Randal Edwards, PIO

This is article #1 in our feature called LocalFolks – giving some depth / dimension to community leaders, and a better understanding of “what they do” in our community. Many thanks to Ben Stikeleather and Randall Edwards, County Public Information Officer (PIO) in taking the time out of their busy schedules, to get it all down on paper – so to speak.

What is your past experience?
I worked for Iredell County for 12 years in a variety of departments. These included  Planning, Solid Waste, Public Transportation, and Administration.

How long have you been County manager in Currituck?
I have been County Manager since July 1, 2019.

What does your job as County Manager entail?
As County Manager, I am responsible for making sure that essential services are provided efficiently, effectively, and in a fiscally responsible manner to the citizens of Currituck County. The job involves working with a range of individuals involved in public safety, public works, economic development, and dozens of other service areas to move Currituck County toward the goals of the Currituck County Board of Commissioners and respond to problems efficiently and effectively.

What have you found most challenging about being County Manager in Currituck? 
Currituck County is a fantastic place with a wealth of potential. It is also as diverse as any county in North Carolina. I do not believe there is anywhere else like it. That geographic and cultural diversity means that service delivery expectations are very different across Currituck County. The challenge as County Manager is finding a way to provide the services while balancing the expectations of other communities.

What issues do you see challenging county staff in the coming four years?
I think the challenges are always the same for county staff. You are adjusting to a changing community that has different wants and needs. The world moves so much faster now than it did even 12 years ago, and I do not believe that it is going to slow down anytime soon.   

What is your favorite local food?
There is so much great food in Currituck County that it is hard to pick one item. The item I think is unique to this part of North Carolina is the sweet potato biscuit.

What hobbies do you have aside from work?
I enjoy hunting and fishing. The opportunity to live in an area like Currituck County with a long history as the “Sportsman’s Paradise” has been fantastic.

What do you do to relax from your job?
Being new to the profession, I am still trying to figure that out. There is a constant responsibility that I believe all local government managers feel in the back of their minds. Most of the people who seek out jobs as local government managers do so because they want to help make a community a better place. In this role, I am not sure that you ever completely stop worrying about your community and the challenges that it faces.

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