One of Guilford County’s two brand spanking new assistant managers is Erris Dunston, who’s racked up more than two decades of local government experience in her career, including, most recently, a five-year stretch with the City of Wilmington as assistant city manager.

Prior to that, Dunston served for two years as an assistant county manager of Halifax County, NC, as well as eight years as a planning director for the City of Henderson.

She received her master’s degree from North Carolina Central University after getting her undergraduate degree – in geography and earth science – from that school as well.  

As is the case with many people who end up in careers leading local government in various capacities, Dunston’s master’s degree is in public administration.

Guilford County has in recent years put a focus on community and economic development and has been revamping its planning and zoning ordinances – and Dunston’s skills in planning, zoning and geographic information systems may come in handy in those efforts.

Dunston offered a short statement in the Wednesday, Nov. 15 press release that announced her new job with the county.

“The opportunity to join the Guilford County team is one which I am grateful and excited for,” Dunston stated. “There are many great things happening in Guilford that allow me to offer my experience and passion in advancing the County’s interests.”

In 2014, former Henderson City Manager Ray Griffin wrote some positive remarks after Dunston submitted her resignation to become the assistant county manager of Halifax County.

He wrote that Erris “has been a team player and brought significant value to the City with the successful writing of two HOPE VI grants for downtown.  Additionally, she helped marshal through the updating of the City’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan.”

Griffin added that Erris had always been “desirous of moving forward along the local government management career path,” and that “This opportunity in Halifax County is a perfect beginning point for her to begin achieving her goals.”

Seven years later, she’s now one of the top administrative officials for Guilford County.  The actions and judgment of Erris will now affect the roughly 541,000 residents of this county – which is over ten times the population of Halifax County.  According to the latest census numbers, Halifax County has just under 49,000 residents.