Deputy Development Commissioner
for a public agency in a major metropolitan area

Helbling represented a major metropolitan public agency responsible for enforcing building and energy codes and zoning regulations. Our client's objective was to enhance its service delivery. The selected candidate emanates credibility and has been able to drive the department forward through his energizing and motivational leadership style. He has improved the performance of the agency by developing and streamlining processes and procedures, and he is known for his solid work ethic.

Due to the agency’s ultimate objective of enhancing its service delivery and customer service, they needed a professional who would be committed to improving its performance by developing streamlined, understandable and transparent procedures and processes. The role works directly with the Commissioner and strategic planning specialists to identify operational needs or concerns and provide recommendations for improvement. Responsibilities include meeting with the public, professionals, and others to resolve technical and operational issues involving audits, complaints, applications, permits, and certificates of occupancy; standardizing processes throughout all development offices; and implementing initiatives and goals.

During initial conversations with the Commissioner, we discussed the technical qualifications of candidates which included a master’s degree and experience working within a large public or private entity. Candidates would have knowledge of coordinating approvals across multiple government agencies; have familiarity with trade unions or building operators’ associations, negotiations, conflict resolution, and consensus building; and have experience with construction oversight including inspections and quality assurance.

In addition to the above, ideal candidates would have strong leadership and relationship-building skills, and the ability to mentor and motivate large teams. 

Working in partnership with the Commissioner, we developed a search strategy that would ensure the identification of diverse candidates who would possess the experience and skills needed to perform in the position and the mindset to succeed within the Agency itself. 

Because our firm is highly networked within our client’s metropolitan area, we leveraged our extensive contacts for direct recruitment as well as for gathering referrals. We spoke with individuals from a variety of sources including: public agencies, construction managers, architectural and engineering firms, corporations, and healthcare and higher education institutions. Our process focused on individuals who are highly educated and tenured leaders who are accustomed to managing and inspiring large teams in challenging political environments and who can lead in emergent situations. Candidates also had to have superior knowledge of the current permitting and zoning approvals process in the city with tangible ideas on how to streamline it and spur development. 

Our client selected an individual who was a Senior Technical Architect & Senior Project Manager with a major architectural and engineering firm. He has more than 24 years of experience in developing project solutions from planning and design phases through construction administration. His experience encompasses working on large, complex, and technically challenging projects within diverse sectors, and some that have been the largest transportation and infrastructure projects in North America. Being from the same metropolitan area, the individual has a strong understanding of the culture and the potential dynamics and complexities of public projects.

Complementing his technical qualifications and background, the individual’s intangible qualities are impressive as well. He is highly regarded for his work ethic, and his energizing and motivational leadership style. He is known for doing whatever it takes to get the job done, always delivering exactly what the client wants while maintaining a strong, enthusiastic team.

Since the professional joined the agency, he has helped to expand the city's Development Hub, approving roughly 25% of all new building permits. The agency has been successful in rolling out an electronic submission practice, a new Inspection Hub, and a self-service application. The Hub’s self-service application is an electronic professional certification to help individuals obtain permits within 24 hours, and the Inspection Hub was designed with a goal to reduce the approval process from 50 days to 10, and they have been able to achieve this in most instances.

In a follow-up conversation, the professional explained, “By utilizing the Inspection Hub, the development community has been able to get permits exponentially faster, offering the ability to bring more construction jobs online expeditiously. The Hub demonstrates how technical integration can speed up the review processes, turning architectural drawings into built projects more quickly. The Hub is an excellent example of how collaboration and cooperation between government and the development community can make tangible improvements in approval processes, decreasing time to construction, bringing more jobs to the city, and promoting information sharing and best practices throughout the industry.”

The professional went on to express that he is extremely happy with his career move. It has been very exciting for him to interact with the Mayor, be involved at City Hall, and work on many high-level initiatives to spur development within his home city.

In speaking with our client, they have expressed that the secured professional continues to exceed their expectations. They are impressed with his technical expertise, his adeptness at building codes, and his ability to motivate his team. He emanates credibility and has been able to drive the department forward by leading through a strong example. He also demonstrates respect of procedures and processes, which is exactly what the department needed.  

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Our client has expressed that the secured professional continues to exceed their expectations. They are impressed with his technical expertise, his adeptness at building codes, and his ability to motivate his team. He emanates credibility and has been able to drive the department forward by leading through a strong example.
Matt Lesher, Senior Managing Consultant

Learn about Helbling’s search process