Terry Yates

On far left end, with his team.

Terry Yates
Infrastructure and Network Manager
Town of Cary, North Carolina

Favorite Music

Heavy metal, like Iron Maiden’s Revelations.


Located in North Carolina’s Research Triangle region, Cary (pop 162k) wanted to adopt smart cities technologies to improve public services. But with all the options to choose from, and how to pay for them, decisions were difficult.


In 2016 Cary began using its town hall area as an innovation campus to test and evaluate the technologies. Every department is represented, and the area features a small park, two community centers, city offices, IT and data center, traffic management center, 911 center, and parking deck.

Cary surveyed departmental needs in areas such as transportation, facility usage, utilities, public safety and citizen engagement, and then built use cases to ask tech companies for solutions. Companies pilot potential solutions to see if they’re compatible and effective.

Cary is also soliciting startups to demonstrate their products on campus. It hopes to create an educational incubator where local colleges, high school students, and interns can learn about smart cities tech.

Lessons Learned

Identify and create the business use case for an innovation campus and what the goals are. Make sure everyone understands who is involved and why they’re at the table. Reach out to city departments and identify who will be part of the process. Engage legal and procurement staff early to determine appropriate contract vehicles. Create a technical advisory group that includes the nonprofit, academic, and corporate sectors to ensure both public and private business value.

Terry’s Background

Grew up in Greensboro and Winston-Salem areas of North Carolina. Associate’s degree in electronics engineering technology, and more than 25 years in voice, data and security systems in local government, including stints reading meters and installing traffic lights.

Terry’s Job

Along with his infrastructure and network management assignments, Terry has become the smart cities’ chief innovator on campus. He manages a team of five staff members and gets additional support from local universities and high schools interns.

Startling Fact

A “guerilla traveler,” where a single four-day trip has stops in Miami, Denver, Reno, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite and San Jose.

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