One of Tennyson's key responsibilities will be to lead the development and implementation of a 25-year transportation infrastructure plan.
"Nick has a proven ability to build close working relationships and manage large-scale initiatives," said Tata. "These will be key attributes as we carry out Governor McCrory's directive to establish a long-range plan for North Carolina that builds on the department's previous efforts to leverage our infrastructure for greater economic investment and growth."
He will oversee five business functions: the Division of Motor Vehicles, strategic planning, information technology, fiscal, and intergovernmental affairs and budget coordination. Tennyson will collaborate closely with Chief Deputy Secretary of Operations Jim Trogdon.
Tennyson served four years as mayor of Durham, from 1997-2001.
He starts April 1 at a salary of $123,000.