President
of a mechanical contractor

Helbling worked closely with a mechanical contractor and long-term client in securing an individual to replace its retiring President who had been with the company for over 40 years. We understood that the secured professional must have strong technical capabilities, the credibility to engage the company's existing highly talented senior management team, and the ability to lead the organization into new markets during a challenging economic time. In his first six months, the new President exhibited his operational expertise as well as his business development skills. In fact, he had already reached 50% of the company's yearly sales goals by the end of the second quarter.

Due to a pending retirement, our long-term client, a mechanical contractor that provides construction and fabrication services to the industrial sector, was seeking an individual to replace its President who had been with the company for over 40 years. Understanding our client’s organization well, we knew that it would be necessary to find a professional who had strong technical capabilities as well as the credibility to engage its existing highly-talented senior management and lead the organization into new markets at a challenging economic time.

Because the company has a partial Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), many of its functional leaders had a vested interest in making sure the final candidate was highly qualified and a strong cultural fit. Additionally, the contractor is partially owned by an investment firm, and the management of that company needed to have strong confidence in the business and financial acumen of the selected candidate.

Prior to retaining us for this search, our client had promoted an individual internally only to determine that he did not have the experience and abilities to effectively generate the desired results. This made finding and attracting an ideal professional even more critical.

Because of the industrial nature of our client’s specialty, the pool of candidates from which to draw was extremely limited. Additionally, most of the senior executives in similar companies were approaching retirement age. Knowing that we had to compensate for the scarcity of talent in the industrial piping sector, we conducted the search on a national scale to ensure that the talent pool was comprehensive and adequate to draw from. We followed a detailed process, considering potential candidates within similar mechanical contracting firms as well as leaders of business units with piping specialties of large international engineer-procure-construct and construction management organizations. We also approached individuals in senior roles within industrial engineering firms and in construction capacities within industrial manufacturing organizations.

As we continued with this strategy, we also received and pursued recommendations and referrals from our network of industry contacts.

Working closely with our client, we attracted and secured an individual who was a consultant with a large construction management firm and whose prior experience included acting as a partner in a company that provided services similar to those of our client. The professional has strong technical skills and is a strategic and operationally focused leader who has experience driving continued, profitable growth. He also has a 20-year career horizon so the succession plan component of the search has been strongly addressed.

During a recent follow up call, the retiring president, who still functions part-time as the Chief Executive Officer, said that the new President has transitioned well into his new position and responsibilities. He is an engaging individual and has been well accepted by all employees, including those with ownership. The company has also received positive feedback from key clients about the placed professional and some have gone out of their way to express how impressed they are with him.

In his first six months, the new President has exhibited his technical expertise as well as his business development skills. He has been able to steadily bid work and he had already reached 50% of the company’s 2012 sales goals by early May.

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To compensate for the scarcity of talent in the industrial piping sector, we conducted a national search to ensure that the talent pool was comprehensive and adequate to draw from. The successful candidate, most recently a consultant with a large construction management firm, has strong technical skills and is an operationally focused leader who has experience driving continued, profitable growth.
Jim Lord, Executive Director - Northeast

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