Name: Freda R. Starnes
Education: Associate degree from Mountain Empire Community College, bachelor of business administration from King College, master of business administration from King University and a graduate certificate in local government management from Virginia Tech
Title: County administrator
Company: Scott County, Virginia
What do you do? Direct and supervise the day-to-day operations of all county departments and offices, which are under the direct control of the Board of Supervisors. A primary responsibility is to prepare and submit an operating and capital improvement budget to the Board of Supervisors for their consideration.
What do you think are the keys to success? Treat people the way you would want to be treated.
Name some of your key successes: I think my biggest success in life is that I have gone back to college and earned a bachelor’s and post-graduate degrees while being a full time employee, a mother, and a wife. Despite all of this, I have been able to become one of only 13 female county administrators in the Commonwealth of Virginia through hard work and perseverance.
Who were your mentors? George Butler was my high school agriculture teacher. I had his class for five years and was FFA president my senior year. The leadership and life skills that I learned under his instruction still benefit me today. I have always looked up to Charles Fortner in my career because during the 18 years that I worked in the private sector he was a great role model for me.
Can you name a turning point in your career? A turning point in my career came after I returned to college and completed my bachelor’s degree. Without that degree, I would not have been qualified for my last two positions.
Who are your family members? Married to J.C. for 28 years and have one son, Tyler, who is an upcoming 2L in law school.
What management books would you recommend? “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey and the Bible.
Do you read any national business publications? I occasionally read national business publications but I do read the Virginia Business news daily.
One piece of advice you would give an up-and-coming manager? Stay true to yourself. Be genuine in everything you do, both in public and in private. To be successful in local government, it is necessary to have a genuine care for both your staff and the citizens you represent.
Is there anything else you would like to add? Always keep learning. The world is fast-paced and in constant change.