Nov 25 2015

Estes Brought Innovation to North Carolina

State CIO to step down after creating new model for testing tech in government.

During his nearly three years as North Carolina’s chief information officer, Chris Estes migrated the state from Windows XP, modernized the state’s technology operations and created a more nimble and responsive workplace culture.

For all his success, though, Estes is most fond of the North Carolina Innovation Center, where state agencies, private industry and students can test technology systems before the state invests in them.

The hope is that the project will serve as a model for other states.

“Chris has been instrumental in modernizing the state’s information technology operations,” North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said in a statement. “Not only has he saved the taxpayers millions of dollars, the customer-first attitude he brought from his private sector experience has made it easier for individual citizens and small-business owners to interact and do business with state government.”

McCrory announced Monday that Estes will step down Nov. 29 as CIO, a role he has held since McCrory’s administration began in January 2013. Estes will go back to being a consultant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, a company he worked for earlier in his career.

North Carolina Deputy CIO Keith Werner will serve as acting CIO.

In the statement, McCrory highlighted a number of Estes’ successes:

Estes was instrumental in working with the General Assembly in fulfilling the governor’s vision of transforming IT from a collection of uncoordinated backroom operations to a critical driver of the state’s total infrastructure. When fully implemented, the new department will provide clear accountability and efficiency for the governance and management of 2,200 IT professionals across the state.

It continued:

Estes also fulfilled the governor’s challenge in creating a more nimble and responsive workplace culture where innovative state employees could thrive. Estes helped usher in new management changes to half of the state agencies, introduced new IT human resource practices, closed the technology platform deficit, improved the use of data analytics and digitally transformed state websites for mobile usability and navigation.

Estes shared his expertise with StateTech Magazine this past summer for a story on solving workforce issues in state government and for a story in January on virtual desktops enabling employee mobility.

He also joined StateTech Magazine at the 2015 NASCIO Annual Conference to discuss his state’s use of analytics and recruiting challenges.