CAO Tom York retiring from UNC Charlotte

Published Date: 
Thursday, September 1, 2016

After nearly 12 years at UNC Charlotte, Tom York, chief audit officer and director of the Internal Audit Department, is retiring from his second career. York arrived on campus after spending 27 years in the U.S. Army, where he achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel.

“My first assignment was as a member of the Army ROTC Basic Camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky,” said York. He would later serve as a cavalry platoon leader, tank company commander, brigade logistics officer, brigade executive officer and division inspector general. His duty stations included Germany, Kansas, Oklahoma, and finally, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he was inspector general.

Moving to Charlotte was on the advice of friends familiar with the area. “They told us what a great place it was, and we found a wonderful house in Lake Wylie, South Carolina.”

After a couple of short-term jobs, York was hired as the University’s first security officer in 2005. “Morgan Roseborough (a member of business affairs at the time who has since retired) encouraged me to apply for the internal audit director’s job after Randy Ross retired, even though I was not a CPA and had no accounting background. To probably everyone’s surprise, I was selected and hired in 2006.”

York, who had earned a Master of Arts in Management from Webster University while stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, embraced the role, and during his tenure, the Internal Audit Department went from three to five full-time auditors and added two part-time interns.

“We have increased our visibility across all the divisions of the University, and we have proven that we are partners not opponents,” said York. “Our goal is to help our colleagues do their jobs better. We have stretched ourselves as a team to look into areas of the University that we have never been to, and each of us are doing our part to contribute to the overall success of UNC Charlotte.”

In contemplating his time at the University, York said there were many colleagues who  helped him achieve this point in his “second” career – Olen Smith and Beth Hardin for taking a “leap of faith” in his abilities; the chancellor, trustees and vice chancellors, who understood that “we have good intentions, even if we have unconventional methods”; and retired and current teammates – Tommy Earnhardt, Carla Flowers, Diana Hill, Raheel Qureshi, Julie Earls and Tara Pritchett – for all their “hard work to change the image and reputation of internal audit.”

Working at a university was not in his plans after the U.S. Army, but York said, “Being chief audit officer was an unexpected opportunity that turned out to be extremely rewarding and has provided a rucksack of memories.”

With the sale of his Lake Wylie home complete, York and his wife Mary Louise, are building a new house in Milton, Delaware, where they intend to explore the local area on bikes and kayaks.

“We plan to make several ski trips each winter to New England and the Rocky Mountains and travel to visit our far-flung children, who are currently in Hawaii, Alabama, Indiana and New York,” York stated. “When not visiting family, we’ll be using U.S. Air Force space-available travel opportunities to visit Germany, England, Italy and wherever else they fly. I wish everyone at the University well. I have truly enjoyed my time with you. Go Niners.”