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Alum Chris Peoples Promoted to COO at NCDOT

Chris PeoplesAlum Chris Peoples (B.S. ’93) has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer at the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT).

Peoples started with the N.C. Department of Transportation in 1995 working as a Chemistry Technician and has held a handful of positions, consistently rising in rank, within the department over the last 28 years culminating in his promotion to Chief Operating Officer in October 2023. 

As Chief Operating Officer, Peoples directs and manages the Division of Highways, Ferry Division, Aviation Division, Rail Division, the Integrated Mobility Division, Division of Planning & Programming, Human Resources and the Communications Office. He is a registered professional engineer and has worked at NCDOT in several field engineering positions, including state materials engineer and director of field support. He became deputy chief engineer in 2019. In his previous position—chief engineer—he directed the engineering and program activities of NCDOT’s 14 highway divisions, Transportation Mobility and Safety Division, the Central Units and the Technical Services Division.

When asked about what the promotion meant to him, Peoples said, “I’ve spent 28 plus years working for the NCDOT.  I’ve had the opportunity to build relationships with some many bright and talented people both here at home and all across the country.  The last few years have provided me the chance to really influence a great deal of what the Department does.  This promotion expands that ability even further and also allows for even more relationships to be established.  It is a tremendous honor and I’m humbled by it.  My father was a civil engineering graduate of NC State in 1974.  He had a 33 plus year career at NCDOT and worked another 15 years in the private sector.  NCDOT has been a part of my life since a very young age so that makes this role even more special.”

The N.C. Department of Transportation is one of North Carolina’s largest state government agencies, with more than 9,000 employees. NCDOT works to provide high-quality transportation for travelers throughout North Carolina, including highways, rail, aviation, ferries, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and public transit.

Peoples was also asked about the impact his chemical engineering degree from NC State has had on his career with the NCDOT. He responded, “chemical engineering is a non-traditional degree for someone at the lever of this organization.  When I started with the Department, I’m fairly certain I was the only ChemE.  Most of the other engineers in the Department had a great deal of respect for the degree itself but it was just an odd fit.  I started my career in the Materials and Tests Unit testing asphalt in the Chemical Testing Laboratory.  That was a great fit for me and allowed me to get exposed to many of the things that the Department is responsible for.  My time in ChemE at NCSU prepared me technically by providing a fantastic basis for problem solving.  The approach that we learned to solve mass balances was extremely valuable and was very transferable to the roles I had at Materials and Tests where I spent the first 23 years of my career.  However, the most important skills I learned at State were the things I learned about myself and working with others through the Longitudinal Study that Dr. Felder had us participate in.  I can truly say that those things have helped as much as any of the technical skills I’ve learned.  Today there are more than a handful of Chem E graduates in the Department and they are all doing quite well.  I’m proud to have been a trailblazer for those that follow me and show them a path for someone who doesn’t come from a traditional background.  It just goes to show how versatile a Chemical Engineering degree truly is.”

Congratulations on the promotion, Chris! We look forward to seeing what you do in the position.