Cooper Taps Business Execs For Commerce, Administration Posts

— Gov. Roy Cooper continued to add to his cabinet Thursday, naming area business executives to head the departments of Commerce and Administration.

Tony Copeland, a Hertford native and Duke University graduate, sandwiched time a vice president of Raleigh-based telecommunications company BTI and work as an economic development and site selection lawyer for the Williams Mullen law firm around a stint as deputy secretary of the Department of Commerce.

Machelle Sanders, a Belhaven native and North Carolina State University graduate, led the Research Triangle Park operations for global biopharmaceutical giant Biogen Idec from 2011 to 2015 and also held quality control and management positions at other pharmaceutical companies.

“We are attracting a lot of quality people who’ve been very successful in the things they’ve done who want to give some time in public service and who want to make a difference, and I think both Machelle and Tony fall into that category,” Cooper said during a news conference.

The Commerce Department was scaled back a few years ago, as former Gov. Pat McCrory and state lawmakers shifted business recruitment operations to a nonprofit public-private partnership. Cooper said he wants Copeland to perform “a quick assessment” of the department’s operations, including the partnership.

“We may even bring in some independent expertise to look at the effectiveness of the public-private partnership and how Commerce works as a whole,” Cooper said. “We are not going to be spending a lot of time looking inward and figuring out the structure of that department. We’re going to make that decision, we’re going to put it in place, and we’re going to go out and create jobs.”

The Department of Administration acts as the business manager for North Carolina state government, overseeing building construction and facility maintenance, purchasing and contracts, managing state vehicles and operating auxiliary services. Cooper said Sanders background in management and quality control would ensure that state operations would run efficiently and effectively.

,Gov. Roy Cooper continued to add to his cabinet Thursday, naming area business executives to head the departments of Commerce and Administration.,Gov. Roy Cooper continued to add to his cabinet Thursday, naming area business executives to head the departments of Commerce and Administration.

A special thank you to our friends at WRAL for helping out with this post.

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