General Managers for a multinational construction conglomerate

A preeminent, multibillion dollar contractor, and longstanding partner of ours, sought to secure two General Managers – one to lead their Florida territory and another to lead their Northern California territory. The leadership style and commanding demeanor of each of the selected candidates will aid in the expansion of both regions and boost morale internally. 

Our client’s aim was to improve visibility in the Florida and California regions through the addition of proven leaders who could grow these divisions by:

  • managing diverse teams involved in considerable projects;
  • developing and implementing new marketing and business development strategies; and
  • establishing new mentoring and training programs for professional development.

The client’s vision was that these General Managers (GMs) would not just be regional leaders, but community leaders. As a face of the organization, each candidate would need to be hands-on and on-site – ready and willing to roll up their sleeves and be heavily involved – and so would their families. 

We knew from the beginning that there would be a shallow talent pool to source from for both regions. Both GMS needed to be deeply ingrained in the processes and procedures of large, complex organizations. They needed to be their own authority, performing all duties and assignments with minimal guidance. They had to have strong people and presentation skills in order to serve as brand ambassadors in the business community and show support for community causes. The candidates needed experience running territories, and they had to be multifaceted, with demonstrated success in expanding operations. Their ability to cultivate client and vendor relationships and provide radical solutions, with a business plan to support them, would ultimately be a determining factor as candidates were evaluated. 

While our client’s Florida region is a half-billion dollar business unit, and it needed to undergo significant operational improvements and restructuring, the search for its GM would prove to be challenging. For the Northern California operation, the GM would be growing a region that was still in its infancy. It would be necessary for the candidate to already be living in California, to have knowledge of and experience working in the vast terrain, and to be proficient in navigating the local communities within respective geographical subsections. 

It was during the initial staging process, after we discovered the extent of the roles and unearthed the likelihood/probability of prospective candidates being in long-term relationships with their current employers, that we realized the searches commanded innovative and detailed strategies. Conversations regarding compensation and long-term incentives, as well as how to present the information to the candidates, happened more quickly than in most of our searches. Our history with the client, and our ability to communicate honestly and effectively is what makes our relationship so strong. We worked closely with the President, Regional Operations Executive, Chief Human Resources Officer, and their internal search committee to lay the groundwork for attracting, evaluating, and scoring some of the nation’s top-performing executives. 

To ensure that we identified all potential candidates who would have the competencies to fulfill these high-level roles, we branched out from construction management firms to the engineering/construction world and to third-party vendors. To acquire the desired multinational, multi-layered professional, we became even more entrenched in our client’s inner-workings to understand the anticipated opportunities that could arise from such a challenging role so we could communicate them effectively to target candidates. Our outreach was not only to Office Leaders, Chief Operating Officers, Business Leaders, and traditional General Managers, but also to Chief Administrative Officers, Chief Financial Officers, Senior Vice Presidents of Business Development, and more to broaden the pool as much as possible. 

While our activity for the California GM was focused in California, our search was national in scope for the firm’s Florida GM. Knowing that the selected candidates’ families had to be fully on board and active in the communities with which they would serve, it was important to carefully orchestrate a strategy and process for the timing and layout of a proper candidate experience. With our client’s executive management team aligned closely with us, we executed both searches successfully. 

For its Florida region, our client selected a candidate who is a construction management professional with a strong technical and academic background. He worked his way up through operations at the start of his career, transitioned to the business development side of the industry for a time, and eventually landed at the level of a territory manager. For 19 years, he was loyal to his employer and extremely flexible, as he was able to readily relocate and acclimate to new environments multiple times throughout his tenure. All of this was extremely attractive to our client, and his adaptability and self-assured demeanor has already strengthened the Florida team. 

The successful candidate for Northern California spent the last 23 years engrossed in top management positions for multiple construction firms. His experience driving marketing, business development, procurement, and operations indicated his potential to establish the programs our client needed in order to grow and expand a relatively small division. 

Known for their profitability and collaborative management styles, both GMs have shown immediate impacts and are confident decision-makers. They have the executive presence, motivation, and vision necessary to look for ways to continuously add value. Our client is excited to have them on board to reestablish leadership and maintain dominance in their respective markets. 

Learn more about Helbling's search process