Hi, I'm Austin Heffernan
WHERE I COME FROM
I grew up in Bethesda Maryland. My wife, Pamela, and I have lived in Hagerstown since 2005, when we moved here to start a business at the Hagerstown Regional Airport.
I obtained my BA degree at Vanderbilt University, and my MBA from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt. I served as a Captain with the U.S. Army's Rapid Deployment Force, as a Battalion
S-4 and Battery Commander (Field Artillery). Following my military service, I worked as a systems analyst at Peeples Industries in Savannah GA, then served in various information systems management positions with AMP Incorporated in Harrisburg PA. I moved to Reading PA to serve as Director of MIS for Yuasa Exide, and later worked as Director of Global Information Systems at ATI Teledyne Metalworking Products in Nashville TN. I served in senior Information Services management positions with Magnetic Data Technologies in Nashville, and with Solectron in Memphis TN before moving to Hagerstown to found Royal Aircraft Services at the Hagerstown Regional Airport, where I currently serve as owner and General Manager. I was appointed to the Hagerstown City Council in 2018, and serve as a Board Member with the Hagerstown / Eastern Panhandle Metropolitan Planning Organization.
I am committed to making Hagerstown a safe, vibrant and exciting place to live!
As I see it, we have two immediate priorities that are mutually dependent on each other:
PROMOTE PUBLIC SAFETY
We need to reduce crime and its main cause, illegal drug activity.
Our citizens are tired of the petty crimes, thefts, vandalized cars and break-ins, and incessant pan-handling. The majority of this behavior is driven by the need to feed an addiction. We need better mental health and addiction treatment options to combat addiction, but we'll be in a constantly losing battle until we eliminate illegal drugs from our streets and remove the individuals who supply them. Our downtown has a reputation for being unsafe. Statistics say that's not true, but the perception remains. If we eliminate the drug-induced petty crimes, increase the number of police on the street, remove vagrants and pan-handlers, restore police bike patrols, and improve street and alley lighting, we can change our reputation. We deserve to have a professional, fully-staffed and well-equipped police department, and we can have one. We need to do a better job of controlling existing expenses and finding new sources of revenue so we can pay competitive wages that will let us attract and retain the best police officers. Then we need to equip them with state-of- the-art tools and rework our aged and obsolete city ordinances to address the key problems we're experiencing today.
We need new businesses, new jobs, and new career opportunities with the educational pathways to support the arts, science, medicine, logistics, manufacturing, maintenance and technology. To create this environment, we need to make Hagerstown an attractive, welcoming and supportive destination for new businesses, educational institutions and creative developers who have an ability to think outside the box and the willingness to take risks. We deserve to live in a City that is free from blight and decay. This requires money, which will come from the property and business tax revenue generated by the new businesses and new employees we attract. Hagerstown has a problem retaining developers and entrepreneurs who want to move fast, make changes and create opportunities. We have a bad reputation for not being an easy place to get things done. In working with developers who had visions and dreams of what they might accomplish in Hagerstown, I have encountered far too many who have decided that it's just not worth the headache to try and do additional projects in our City due to excessive bureaucracy and inconsistent interpretation and application of rules that hinder progress, create unnecessary delays and increase development costs. We need to stop putting roadblocks in their way and start figuring out how to help them get empty buildings restored and back on the tax roles quickly and efficiently. We're improving, but still have a ways to go in order to build a new reputation as an innovative, supportive and efficient City where people want to come to invest and live.
Here’s how these two priorities tie together:
SUPPORT FOR NEW DEVELOPMENT = NEW TAX REVENUE = MONEY FOR PUBLIC SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS = REDUCED CRIME = IMPROVED CITY REPUTATION = NEW BUSINESSES AND JOBS = NEW CAREER TRAINING PROGRAMS = NEED FOR MORE RESTORED BUILDINGS = MORE NEW DEVELOPMENT....... and repeat!