Financial Executive of the Year finalist Mary Schmidtke managed the whole of Pierce County government’s $500+ million budget for some 20 years. Then, about a decade ago, a possible personal health issue prompted her personal decision to voluntarily “demote to a less-demanding position as financial services manager in the County Auditor’s office.

“It was the best move I ever made,” Schmidtke recalls now. “I never got sick and was able to be a contributor in my new role, as well as stay connected County-wide. It was the best of both worlds.”

Described as having only one mode of work – “Pedal to the metal” –by her nominator, Schmidtke pioneered government use of Point-of-Sale (POS) and on-line credit/debit cards and e-checks, while also launching eRecording and eConvey systems. Nearly half of all Recording work is not done online. She also created and protected an Elections Replacement Reserve fund, allowing purchase of a new voting system to replace legacy tabulating equipment. Institution and personal leadership of a LEAN Six Sigma culture within her office is another peak accomplishment.

“Mary is the ‘glue’ that makes our internal and external collaboration and partnerships work,” says Julie Anderson, County Auditor and her supervisor.

“I love that I can use my skills to support and enable the provision of excellent customer service to the citizens and tax payers of Pierce County,” wrote Schmidtke to the judging panel for this award. We should all “listen with full attention (and) stay true to our heart and ethics.”

You can meet Mary Schhmidtke and the other 13 finalists for South Sound Financial Executives of the Year on Wednesday, April 26, for a luncheon beginning at 11:30 a.m. in Historic 1625 Tacoma Place. Tickets are available here.