“Captain” of Industry

Andrew Heath Takes the Reins as Chairman of the N.C. Industrial Commission
Andrew Heath

Andrew Heath has a habit of overachieving. As a Bulldog student-athlete in 2001, Heath was named All Conference goalkeeper after he helped lead the men’s soccer team—picked during the preseason to finish last—to the Big South championship. 

And just a dozen years later, after less than a decade as a practicing attorney, Heath was appointed by Gov. Pat

McCrory to lead the N.C. Industrial Commission. As chairman, Heath is chief officer for a state agency with a $16 million budget and 160 employees. “We have a lot of responsibility here,” says Heath. “The commission is a statewide judicial system that primarily hears claims against the State of North Carolina and workers’ compensation claims. We process more than 70,000 workers’ compensation claims a year.” Heath is working to integrate new technologies to make the commission’s operations more efficient.

On the job, Heath is sometimes reminded of his UNC Asheville years, especially management classes taught by Professor Bob Yearout. “Every time I see an industrial facility, it jogs my memory and I can’t help but think about all the math that goes into developing efficient manufacturing processes, or calculating the most cost-effective preventive maintenance schedules, etc.,” says Heath. “The management program at UNC Asheville provided me with the sort of ‘fertile soil’ necessary to grow and develop strong business fundamentals that I’ve been able to build on.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree in management in 2003, Heath entered law school at Indiana University and clerked for then Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels in the General Counsel’s Office and also for the Indiana attorney general. Then, from 2006–13, in private practice in Wilmington, N.C., he represented employees and employers in injury claims and other cases, and was voted one of Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite.

As part of his position in the McCrory Administration, Heath also has contributed to state economic policies beyond his commission duties—he was part of a small group that advised the N.C. Board of Economic Development on the impact of the state’s legal and regulatory climate. “I am trying make a positive impact for North Carolina,” he says.

“The management program at UNC Asheville provided me with the sort of ‘fertile soil’ necessary to grow and develop strong business fundamentals that I’ve been able to build on.” —Andrew Heath

A native of Fort Wayne, Ind., Heath now has firm roots in the Tar Heel State. “I really enjoyed my time at UNC Asheville,” says Heath. “I was lucky enough to make lifelong friends, including a number of alumni who are attorneys here in the Raleigh area.”

He and his wife, Kristen Waldman Heath ’02, an attorney for Chiltern International of the U.K., have two young children, Maley Amelia and James William.