History with search firm eases finding next KSU chief

Madeleine Winer

The same private company that helped Kent State find Provost Todd Diacon and Gregg Floyd, vice president of finance and administration, is now scouring for candidates for the school’s next president.

Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, a not-for-profit search firm based in California, signed a contract with the Board of Trustees in July worth more than $100,000 that outlines the company’s responsibilities to advertise and recruit during the yearlong search process.

More than one-third of the searches the firm conducts are for the position of president or chancellor, and others are for senior university officials.

Presidential Search Committee Chair Richard Marsh said the firm is providing committee members private client portals for them to track the firm’s progress. The firm also will help the search committee follow the status of candidates through a database system that tracks the arrival and status of all candidate applications and nominations.

This database can be used to generate current logs of all prospective, active and inactive candidates as well as to inform each candidate of his or her status from the beginning to the end of the entire process.

“They’ll come to committee meetings from now on,” Marsh said about the search firm’s involvement with the committee. “A lot of the contact will be either through phone calls or a confidential website only committee members can access.”

Maureen Hillen, supervisor for support services at Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, declined to interview about Kent State’s current presidential search, the history of the search firm or the search firm’s history with the university. Hillen said the situation was “too close” for the company to comment.

The firm most recently found a new head of student affairs at the University of Southern California in July. Their last successful match in Ohio was when Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland hired Louis Stark as vice president of Student Affairs on May 10.

The firm brought Diacon to campus in April 2012 and Floyd in 2008. Most recently, it was chosen to help with finding a new dean for the College of Business Administration, although no one was hired through the search, Diacon said.

Diacon said in his experience as a candidate for provost and as a provost running a dean search, the firm provided valuable resources. He said the company tends to arrange the visits and interviews, perform background checks and schedule the travel.

“They put together strong pools of candidates and were very good at explaining to candidates what would be expected of them on campus visits,” he said. “When I was a candidate, they always had answers to my questions and got back to me quickly.”

Lauren Fine, an executive search consultant at Cleveland-based Howard & O’Brien Associates, said it’s beneficial to the committee to be working with a company with which the school has a history.

“I think its really interesting and good to know that it’s a firm that they’ve used before because they can move faster because they already know the culture,” she said.

Madeleine Winer is the administration reporter for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

The firm’s role:

  • Kent State will be charged a fixed professional fee of $104,000 and an engagement support fee of $21,000, which covers expenses. The university will pay Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates $53,000 in the first installment of its payment.
  • The recruitment and search agreement commenced June 26 and will terminate upon the acceptance of an offer of employment for the position or by June 30, 2014.
  • Qualifications listed in the job advertisements by Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates should balance the need to ensure a diverse applicant pool by stating the minimum qualifications required, while targeting the best qualified applicants by stating the preferred additional qualifications.
  • When the search firm recommends applicants, it must present the university with a description of its search process, affirmative efforts to recruit minorities, report indicating the applicant pool demographics and a copy of advertisements used.
  • Upon the university’s request, the firm will provide contact information of those who applied for the advertised position.
  • A detailed monthly invoice will be provided by the firm for all expenses incurred on behalf of the institution.

Source: contract with Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates