Steen and Almeida join gov’s staff

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 8, 2013

SALISBURY — Three Rowan County residents have now been named to work in Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration.
On Monday, McCrory appointed Tony Almeida as senior adviser to the governor for jobs and the economy and Fred Steen as the governor’s legislative liaison, according to a press release.
Steen, of Landis, is a former state representative who just left the 76th district seat that he held for eight years.
He and Almeida, a retired vice president at Duke Energy, will join former Salisbury Mayor Susan Kluttz in Raleigh. Kluttz was sworn in Saturday as the new secretary of cultural resources in the governor’s cabinet.
Ricky Diaz, spokesman for the governor, said Steen will represent the McCrory administration to House and Senate members on both sides of the aisle.
“He’s charged with building strategic relationships over at the General Assembly to help implement and advance the governor’s agenda,” Diaz said.
Steen said he’s very excited to work for McCrory, who asked Steen to join his administration after speaking with him a few times on the campaign trail.
“I think anytime you can serve the governor, it’s a good thing,” he said. “I want to do what I can to help him out.”
He said he met with both Almeida and Kluttz for breakfast Monday morning, and they’re eager to work together in Raleigh.
“I thought I was through with the General Assembly, but this takes on a whole new meaning,” Steen said. “There are people there that I’ve gotten to know over the last eight years, and I’m looking forward to working with them again.”
Steen joins the McCrory administration after serving the people of District 76 in the N.C. House of Representatives since 2004. He chose not to seek re-election last year in order to run for the U.S. House of Representatives, but he was unsuccessful in his bid for the 8th district seat.
Most recently, he was chair of the House Committee on Public Utilities and vice chair of Commerce and Development.
“He has held several leadership posts there and served on many study committees, so he brings a lot of experience to the table,” Diaz said. “He’s going to be a great asset to the team, and we’re excited to have him.”
Prior to serving in the General Assembly, Fred was elected mayor of Landis five times.
Almeida joins the McCrory administration with 32 years of management experience at Duke Energy, where he served as vice president for economic development. He also worked as the economic development director on McCrory’s transition team.
“I am very excited about this opportunity to serve the governor and the citizens of North Carolina,” he said.
Almeida said Salisbury will still be his home, and he will continue to work on the boards of trustees of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and Hood Theological Seminary.
Diaz said Almeida was appointed because of his extensive experience working with state, regional and local governments on economic development projects and business recruitment.
Almeida said his new position will focus mainly on helping to create jobs in North Carolina.
“We’ll be developing policy recommendations for the governor and his cabinet around job creation and economic development,” he said. “We’ll also be working with the governor and cabinet to develop a statewide strategic plan for economic growth, since we don’t really have one right now.”
Diaz said businesses that are already here won’t be left out.
“Not only does this mean Tony will help in the recruitment of new business, but he will also help develop a plan that will help existing businesses and industries grow,” he said. “That’s something the governor feels very passionate about.”
McCrory also announced Monday the appointment of Chris Estes, of Charlotte, as state Chief Information Officer.
“In order to help North Carolina fulfill its potential, we must work together as a team to fix our broken government and make North Carolina a place of economic growth and opportunity,” McCrory said in the press release. “Tony, Fred and Chris will be an integral part of my leadership team as we work to achieve that goal.”
Estes enters state government with extensive management and IT experience in the private sector.
Estes most recently served as a principal at Booz Allen Hamilton, a strategy and technology consulting firm. He previously served as business development manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers before joining IBM after its acquisition of the company in 2004.