Ready to make his mark
Newly elected Hamilton County Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt is excited about the new opportunities, and challenges, he faces
For the next four years, Westfield’s Mark Heirbrandt will serve as Hamilton County Commissioner in District 3. While his name never appeared on a voting machine or before the public voters, Heirbrandt was elected during a caucus of Republican Precinct Committeemen from all over Hamilton County on Jan. 26.
“I knew I had an uphill battle. A lot of people in Carmel, Fishers and Noblesville didn’t know who I was,” he said. “It was important that I got out and met people that were going to vote. For two weeks my wife and kids hardly saw me.”
Heirbrandt will serve the remainder of Doug Carter’s term after Carter resigned in early January when he was selected by newly elected Gov. Mike Pence to be the Indiana State Police Supt. Heirbrandt has known Carter for 40 years, but the two became friends during Hamilton County Sheriff Mark Bowen’s campaign.
“At a golf outing, we were paired together and just hit it off,” he said. “The past two years, I’ve gotten pretty close to Doug. We went to a lot of the same conferences and drove together to events… He’s very ethical. He’s kind of a model for me. I have the utmost respect for him.”
When Carter knew he might be tapped as ISP superintendent, he called Heirbrandt over Thanksgiving and asked him to consider running.
“He had to know by Monday,” Heirbrandt recalled. “It was a huge commitment, but my family encouraged me to do it. I kept my mouth shut to not start rumors.”
Heirbrandt was on vacation with his family when his phone started lighting up following the official announcement of Carter’s new role.
“I had $200 in long distance charges from people calling me saying I needed to do this. It was really humbling,” he said.
Heirbrandt and his wife, Gina, have lived in Hamilton County for 20 years. While they currently live in Westfield, the couple have also lived in Carmel and Noblesville.
“I have a good understanding of what the different needs are because I’ve lived in different communities,” Heirbrandt said.
Heirbrandt credits his strong work ethic to his father.
“We grew up in the construction business. We never slept in Saturdays because he worked us,” Heirbrandt said, adding he teaches his sons the importance of physical labor. “We’re usually doing hard labor. I’m usually filthy dirty.”
Being involved in public service in not new for Heirbrandt, who served for six years on the Westfield Board of Public Works and Safety.
“Mark is an outstanding member of the Westfield community, and he will be a true asset to Hamilton County serving as commissioner,” City of Westfield Spokeswoman Carrie Cason said. “He displays all qualities of a true public servant.”
Heirbrandt works in the energy engineering and water treatment service industry. His focus is on local governments within the state of Indiana so he works with councils and elected officials every day.
“I go in and assess the facilities and operations, look for cost-saving opportunities and creative ways to save them money. I uncover inefficiencies and work to offset costs with grants, state incentives or creative funding,” he said. “The past 14 years I’ve been involved in local government. I know what worked and what didn’t work.”
In his first month as a Hamilton County Commissioner, Heirbrandt wants to get out and meet the people in Hamilton County.
“I’m absolutely blown away by the quality of people we have in Hamilton County working for us,” he said.
Heirbrandt also is looking to learn from fellow Hamilton County Commissioners Christine Altman and Steve Dillinger.
“They’ve got a lot of experience. I was encouraged because I really want to learn a lot from both of them,” he said. “I think I’m going to bring some energy and a new perspective. I want to continue to make Hamilton County a great place to live and raise a family.”
Altman said Heirbrandt has been devoted to his new role.
“I was very impressed with his first meeting,” she said. “He knows how to work with people and get jobs done.”
Altman said Heirbrandt’s infrastructure background is a welcomed addition to the commissioners.
“That’s a lot of what commissioners do. That’s a huge plus for us,” she said. “We have good people working for us, but it’ll be nice having that experience on the board.”