Client: National Search

Our client is a mid-size, privately held global manufacturing company in the consumer products space. Their headquarters is in Indianapolis, IN. Revenues have grown 10x in the last 5 years. It’s entrepreneurial, fast-paced and dynamic. Culture and environment fit is a huge factor.

The Challenge:

Our client was growing rapidly, and the CEO was passionate about continuing that growth. There is a heavy R&D component to their business. To continue pushing forward, the CEO needed to upgrade their R&D capabilities. The VP of R&D would report directly to the CEO and have full, global R&D responsibilities.

Sounds like a challenging search, right? As you might imagine, a science based position would require experience with specific products and processes. Nobody in Indianapolis would have this experience.

We have a National Search on our hands! But, that’s not all.

Another challenging component to this search was finding the right fit. We needed to find someone that could thrive reporting directly to the CEO/Founder of an entrepreneurial company. Yet, the ideal candidate was probably at a divisional level inside a large organization. Not reporting to the CEO of an entrepreneurial company. A much different dynamic.

It was critical that we find someone the leadership team felt could transition from a larger corporation to an entrepreneurial organization with full, global R&D responsibilities for the entire organization.

Lastly, R&D professionals are passionate about science. As you progress in an organization, interpersonal and relationship skills become more important. The top R&D executive must interact well with customers and vendors on a regular basis, as well as the CEO, VP of Sales, VP of Operations and others. Communication and interpersonal skills are a must for this role.

The Solution:

One of our most experienced recruiters works with this client. Gathering the requirements and preferences for this search required input from the CEO, VP of HR, COO and VP of Sales and others. The VP of R&D would work closely with all of them. They also knew what type of person would work best with the CEO.

With the ideal profile defined, we began our relentless pursuit to find the right person for the opportunity. As predicted, there were no viable local candidates. The 3 finalists for this search were all outside of Indiana.

National searches require a significant investment of time and resources. This opportunity required someone move to Indianapolis. Commuting wasn’t an option. It was imperative to quickly assess the likelihood of someone being willing to move.

The Success:

The winning candidate was found in Dallas, TX! He started with our client in the fall of 2015. Still there today, he’s responsible for expanding existing product applications as well as launching multiple new products!

We found the following unique experiences & characteristics:

  • R&D experience with products are client was currently manufacturing PLUS experience with product spaces they intended to pursue.
  • International experience that aligned with our client’s growth plans.
  • Family connections to Indiana helped make Indianapolis a viable option.
  • Excellent communication skills, confident, ability to think on his feet.
  • Proven success in customer facing roles and situations.

The VP of R&D has played a major role in the recent and continued success of our client!


Like any search, finding the right person is incredibly important. With a national search, there is a lot more on the line.

Our client was prepared to make a significant investment of time and resources to bring out-of-town candidates to Indianapolis for interviews and ultimately provide the necessary resources for the winning candidate to move his family.

Managing the process is incredibly important. Coordinating interviews with busy senior level executives and dealing with obstacles around travel such as flight availability.

Lastly, keeping a close pulse on the “emotions” of those involved is incredibly important. Relocating is a huge decision for family. It’s often a “team decision” with spouses and children. We don’t take that lightly. It is critical to keep a pulse on how the candidate and the family are feeling about the possibility of moving.