North Carolina Chief Technology, Innovation Officer Eric Ellis Moves to the Private Sector

Ellis logged his last day as a state employee and is moving on to work at hardware and software reseller SHI International.

One of the driving forces behind the state of North Carolina’s Innovation Center (iCenter) is stepping aside for a new role in the private sector. 

In an internal announcement released earlier this week, the Department of Information Technology (DIT) notified staff that Chief Technology and Innovation Officer Eric Ellis was leaving state service for hardware and software reseller SHI International. He held the technology and innovation position since January, and formerly served as the CTO for the multiple state agencies, including the departments of Environmental Quality and Commerce.

“Under Eric Ellis’ leadership as the Director of the Innovation Center (iCenter), North Carolina has made tremendous strides around innovation throughout state government, allowing us to become a national leader in the field. He helped foster several collaborative technological relationships with public and private partners, and allowed North Carolina to test more than $10 million worth of technology at no cost to the state," Chief Information Officer Keith Werner said in an email. 

Ellis’ duties also included directing the iCenter technology proving grounds, which Public Affairs Director Michelle Vaught said will now fall to former iCenter Deputy Director Deanté Tyler on an interim basis.

"Although Eric will be missed, rest assured that innovation will continue to remain a top priority for us, as we work with all of our partners to make state government more user-friendly and cost-effective for the citizens of North Carolina.  Also, I remain confident that the iCenter is in very capable hands with Deanté Tyler at the helm,” Werner continued.

The move comes shortly after the iCenter announced its testing of chatbots to aid internal IT help desk personnel, potentially freeing them up to focus on more strategic tasks — which Ellis said will find their way into numerous government applications over the next five years.

His last day on the state payroll was Oct. 14.

Eyragon Eidam is the Web editor for Government Technology magazine, after previously serving as assistant news editor and covering such topics as legislation, social media and public safety. He can be reached at