The focus of this environmental agency is to drive economic prosperity in the province through the successful transfer of new technology and innovation to the marketplace. Within that framework, they help organizations compete by adopting innovative and environmentally responsible solutions. As the catalysts for forging the connections between research, government and industry, they remain closely involved from inception to conclusion, consistently monitoring progress to ensure delivery. Madison MacArthur was engaged to find a Managing Director for this group.
Candidates needed to have a depth of experience in related environmental technologies, have experience in working with academia, government bodies and commercial industry and be capable of building a business framework around an academic concept. It was also required that the candidate have strong skills in business casing and persuasion as different groups within the agency compete internally for the available funding.
The challenge was in sourcing candidates that were experienced in working with all of these very different groups. They had to be highly credible with each of the groups that they interacted with and had to have exceptional leadership qualities to ensure that the groups came together in pushing initiatives through. Another significant challenge was that the bar for hiring was extremely high yet the compensation was very modest – requiring that you source candidates that had a greater passion for the topic than concern for compensation. The successful candidate in this search would have an impact not only on the agency but on the broader community of entrepreneurs, academics and government leaders working in the green energy space. They would play a lead role in helping to incubate and develop the technologies and companies that will make the province a leader in this critical field.
Significant research was undertaken to identify the pre-eminent people in the environmental field both as potential candidates and as sources for referrals. In-depth discussions were initiated to establish whether or not the candidates could easily move between the three groups. Not surprisingly, the bulk of candidates were experienced in working within academic and government circles – but few had much experience in turning concepts into commercially viable products. The consultant on this search also had to refine the candidate pitch to the specific hot buttons of each target group. For the people in the private sector, we focused on the chance to play a key role in helping to build brand new, green energy businesses – we tapped into their entrepreneurial passion and sold this as a chance to really give something back to the province. For people in academia we showcased the role as one which gave them the chance to actually put theory into practice and turn ideas into viable businesses – something which was lacking in the purely academic setting in which they operated.
This approach proved successful and we overcame the compensation issue to produce great candidates. The finalist candidate met all of the Client’s specifications. They held a graduate degree in Environmental Sciences, brought a depth of experience ranging from working in academia, government, consulting and industry and were equally comfortable in each setting. Their business experience, academic experience and government experience bought them credibility in all three circles. As well, they were very well known and respected with environmental circles.
Under the leadership of the new Managing Director, the agency has grown and multiple new projects are under development. They have also realized much success in engaging industry in the process.