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Pedro A. Cortés ’99 accepts new position at Everyone Counts

Pedro Cortés ’99 resigned as Secretary of the Commonwealth on June 11, 2010, to become executive vice president of Everyone Counts, a company specializing in military and overseas voting technology. In his new role, Cortés’ primary responsibility is strategic business development, including the Latin American and Caribbean marketplace. He was ready for a change.

“Being Secretary of the Commonwealth was a dream come true and I will cherish the experience for the rest of my life,” said Cortés. “While the job was enjoyable and professionally rewarding, after 17 years in the state government, it was time to expand my horizons. The offer to work for a reputable company that helps to enfranchise the members of our Armed Forces, overseas citizens, and people with disability was too attractive to pass up.”

As the former chief elections official in Pennsylvania, one of Cortés’ top priorities was to ensure the voice of every eligible voter was heard on Election Day. The Department of State works closely with Pennsylvania’s 67 counties to see that the elections are fair, accurate, accessible and secure. These are also the guiding principals of Everyone Counts.

“Since 1996, Everyone Counts has worked diligently to increase access to the ballot while enhancing voter security,” said Cortés. “The company is a pioneer in electronic voting technology for absentee voters and has successfully carried out hundreds of public and private elections. At Everyone Counts, I am able to draw on my elections administration experience to protect and promote the backbone of democracy.”

As long as he can remember, Cortés wanted to be a lawyer. “I always carried in me a profound sense of social justice and believed that a legal career was the perfect vehicle to act on that passion.” His mother, Divina, was his first and biggest inspiration to attend law school. As a single parent raising two children, she was relentless in her belief that her son could achieve anything in life to which he set his heart and mind. “My mother labored endlessly to provide me with the opportunities she did not have; I was not about to let her down,” said Cortés.

Cortes was selected as one of the 150 Living Legacies by the Harrisburg SusqueCentennial Commission, and one of the 25 MOST Influential Minorities Over the Past 25 Years by Central Penn Business Journal. He was the first Latino confirmed to the state cabinet and the longest-serving Secretary of the Commonwealth in Pennsylvania history.

Cortés resides in Harrisburg, with his wife, Lissette, and daughter, Gabriela. He encourages new attorneys to be humble. “Humility trumps any professional success you can attain. We all know individuals who have let titles and power get the better of them. Resist that temptation. Be approachable, have a kind word to say, and be sincere in your praise of others. If you do that, you will encounter real success.”

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