Outside the Boardroom: Andrew Koontz
On January 4, 2019, Andrew Koontz was sworn in as the Vice Chair to the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders. While he is currently in his third term as Freeholder, Andrew’s first taste of public service came while volunteering for now Mayor of Trenton Reed Gusciora’s Assembly campaign in 1995.
“I was between jobs at the time,” Andrew remembers. “It was a hard-fought campaign which we were not expected to win, but we did. I guess I caught the bug and from there continued my political involvement, first by becoming the Democratic Party Chair of Princeton Borough, then serving as PCDO President, and then joining Princeton Borough Council.”
Outside from his duties as Freeholder, Andrew has been teaching television broadcasting at Hightstown High School for the last eight years. He loves teaching young people, sharing the skills he learned over a 20-year career in television broadcasting in Manhattan. As Andrew explained, he got an entry level job with a small New York video production company right out of college.
“I eventually became a freelance television editor, and got the opportunity to work with Fox News, ABC and A&E Network. In the late 1990s, I was hired by CBS News Productions, and I worked for them as an editor for almost 10 years, creating documentaries on all sorts of subjects including biographies of Saddam Hussein and Richard Branson, as well as histories of the Vietnam War.”
One of Andrew’s personal hobbies is playing the fiddle to traditional Irish songs, bluegrass and country music. He first began studying and learning how to play the classical violin at age 7 until his 18th birthday. After a long hiatus, Andrew resumed his interest in the violin in 2009 where he played alongside his father and his brother (who is a professional musician). It wasn’t until he came into office in 2011 where gravitated toward Irish music. He plays frequently with Bill O’Neal, a local singer/guitar player, and they have played together for four years.
“I love the way the fiddle sounds, and I like that it's not an easy instrument to play,” he said. “And I like that you have to keep at it: if you don’t practice consistently you notice right away. You can always improve.”
If you can’t find Andrew either in his classroom, playing the fiddle or at a Freeholder event, you will most likely find him outside and active within the community. He serves as a member on the Princeton Recreation Commission, and the Corner House Foundation, a non-profit counseling center for adolescents, young adults, and their families. Andrew and his wife of more than 20 years, Laurie Harmon, are avid cyclists and reside in Princeton.