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County chief information officer promoted to assistant county manager

SALISBURY — Rowan County Chief Information Officer Randy Cress is adding another position to his job title as he has been promoted to serve as assistant county manager.

Cress has more than 18 years of experience in local government and was appointed to the position of director of information systems in October 2015. Cress’ new role will include improving the organizational structure, process, technology and staffing levels of the county’s plan review, permitting and inspections, according to a news release from County Manager Aaron Church.

“(Cress) will lead several departments through a transformation that will focus on modernization of the county’s entire permitting and inspection process from start to finish with a strong focus on customer service to all applicants,” Church said. “This will be a complex process that will take two to three years to implement. These cross-departmental activities occur in multiple functional areas including planning, building, fire, environmental management and environmental health.”

Leslie Heidrick, the county’s finance director, will also remain an assistant county manager, Church said. Heidrick has worked for Rowan County for more than 20 years and filled in briefly as interim county manager before Church was hired.

Under Cress’ leadership in the previous five years, the Information Technology Department has been restructured to improve IT services, a news release said. Those improvements include cloud-based application delivery, geospatial programs, business technology processes and social media.

Cress has placed an emphasis on cybersecurity and awareness training for all county employees. His department received the National Digital Counties Survey Award in both 2017 and 2019 for maximizing the value of technology in serving the county with innovative initiatives.

Cress is a board member of the North Carolina Local Government Information Systems Association, which fosters collaboration and sharing of technical knowledge among North Carolina local governments and school systems. He serves as the the association’s IT Strike Team Leader for the North Carolina Western Region, responding to natural and cyber events across the state.

He assisted state and local governments during hurricanes Florence and Matthew and during several significant cyber incidents, Church said in a news release. Cress also serves on the North Carolina 911 Board Technology Committee, which is responsible for providing guidance and implementation of the North Carolina Next-Generation 9-1-1 platform.

Cress was born and reared in Rowan County. He graduated from West Rowan High School, earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Catawba College and master’s in public administration degree from Appalachian State University. Cress is a Certified Government Chief Information Officer and earned a certificate in county administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is  enrolled in the National Association of Counties (NACo ) Leadership Academy.

He and his wife, Dacia, have been married for 24 years and have one daughter.

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