“It has been a journey,” Marcy Austin said of her 20-year trek to the top of the Harford County Health Department. Named the Harford County Health Officer in October, Austin, 65, had no aspirations for the role two decades ago when she joined the department as an underling sculpting health programs for the public.
“I was happy to stay under the radar,” said Austin, a native of Easton and a graduate of the College of Notre Dame (now Notre Dame of Maryland University). But her positive efforts led to the administrative post. “The beauty is that I know this place from the ground up. Rather than judge the staff, I know what they are going through.”
Here are three things you might not know about Austin:
She raised a family before joining the workforce.
“Being a stay-at-home mom for 10 years was the hardest job I’ve ever done. It more than prepared me for the world of work. Raising my children taught me unbelievable patience, the art of negotiation, resiliency and time management — all traits that serve me well in my current job.”
Writing poetry helps her through tough times.
“I was inspired to write when my niece, Megan, was born with a terminal neurological disorder in 1995. I documented each milestone in her life, in poetry, until she died at 18 months; that was my therapy. I bound the poems in a book, which is one of my prized possessions.
“I’m now writing a children’s book, in rhyme, with my grandson, Silas, and his bunny as the main characters.”
She’s the macaroon maven of Harford County.
“Twenty years ago, I began making coconut macaroons for a neighborhood luau, where even the caterers asked for the recipe. Now, I can’t get away with making anything else for parties because the macaroons are in such demand. For the holidays, I take platters of them to the staff at each of our five health sites; the [sweets] are pretty much gone before I leave.”