RALEIGH – Governor Pat McCrory announced the leaders of two newly created departments at a ceremony at the State Capitol in Raleigh. Chris Estes will serve as state chief information officer of the Department of Information Technology and Cornell Wilson will serve as secretary of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. The governor pushed for the creation of both departments in his State of the State Address and both were created with the passing of the budget.
“Since day one, our administration has been focused on making state government more efficient so that we can better serve the people of North Carolina,” said Governor McCrory. “Both Chris Estes and Cornell Wilson have the skills, dedication and experience to lead the Departments of Information Technology and Military and Veterans Affairs to better serve our state for generations to come.”
The governor highlighted accomplishments in both information technology (IT) and for military affairs and veterans. In IT, the creation of the iCenter has saved taxpayers more than $6 million by allowing the state to try technology solutions before buying. For the military and veterans, the governor has initiated in-state tuition for veterans, veterans driver’s licenses, veterans treatment courts, and counting military experience for becoming things like commercial driver’s or police officers. The governor cited the newly created departments as a way to build on this progress.
Under the leadership of Chief Information Officer Chris Estes, the new Department of Technology Information will improve management and oversight in IT with the focus of improving customers service, increasing efficiency and cutting down costs. When the governor’s administration entered office, the state had more than 1,000 systems scattered across state government without oversight and accountability. This led to 74 percent of projects coming in over budget and behind schedule. The new department will continue to streamline the state’s IT systems. Chris Estes has served under Governor McCrory as state chief information officer since January 2013. In this role, he has overseen statewide IT planning and operations with an annual budget of more than $600 million and 2,200 employees.
Under the leadership of Secretary Cornell Wilson, the new Department of Military and Veterans Affairs will focus on protecting North Carolina’s military installations, working with the communities around military bases, helping military families and veterans get the support and services they need, and helping connect veterans with jobs. Cornell Wilson has served under Governor McCrory as military affairs advisor since October 2013. A retired Marine Corps Major General, he served as Commanding General of U.S. Marine Forces, Southern Command and oversaw a $1.5 billion budget and 81,000 Marines and civilians.