GovCon’s premier media and events organization, Executive Mosaic, has revealed its list of top 10 executive recruiters who are positively impacting government contracting organizations and driving meaningful talent growth across the federal sector.
As GovCon companies continue to adjust to evolving COVID challenges, the rise of remote work, the need for extended security and the ongoing talent shortage, these 10 outstanding recruiters have distinguished themselves in the market through their work securing key hires and placements, supporting the evolution of talent acquisition and adapting the GovCon recruitment landscape to meet new missions and organizational needs.
Executive Mosaic’s 2022 list of top GovCon recruiters features leaders from 10 elite firms who are serving the mission and revolutionizing the way we find talent and grow GovCon businesses in today’s competitive market.
Brian Thomas, Partner of Industrials & Aerospace, Defense and Government Services at NorthWind Partners
Brian Thomas is the lead for the industrial and ADG business at NorthWind Partners. In this role, Thomas delivers retainer-based executive search and leadership consulting services to boards, C-suite leaders and sponsors across markets like aerospace, government services, security and business services.
Thomas possesses over two decades of experience in executive search and advisory, and he has successfully completed more than 500 executive searches for a myriad of clients including both rapid-growth private equity portfolio companies and larger globally-integrated companies. Thomas’ work focuses particularly on enterprise operations, financial and HR officers, business development and technology leaders.
Brian manages NorthWind Partners’ Capital Region office and leads all searches for financial officers across the firm’s practice groups. With a passion for generating new enterprise value, Thomas has built a reputation of thought leadership in areas such as succession planning, market expansion, increased profitability, acquisitions and integration.
Mike Christ, Managing Partner of Korn Ferry Military Division
As managing partner with the military division at Korn Ferry, Mike Christ leads the company’s mission to connect companies with top-level military talent who can drive business growth and deliver operational impact.
Mike Christ joined Lucas Group, a Korn Ferry company, in 1996 and transferred to Washington D.C. four years later to help establish the firm’s Military Transition Office. Christ stepped into the role of managing partner in 2021 and has since been instrumental in growing his team’s revenue by more than 60 percent — going above and beyond the company’s annual growth goals by 300 percent.
In his current role, Christ specializes in placing former junior military officers into impactful civilian careers. Christ is a veteran and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, and his public service includes six years as a Navy supply officer prior to joining Lucas Group.
Evan Scott, President and CEO of ESGI
Evan Scott founded ESGI in 2000, and for the past 22 years, he has led the retainer-based executive search firm as CEO. Scott brings over 28 years of executive search experience to the firm, which represents companies that have graduated or will soon graduate from the small business designation.
Since its inception, ESGI has delivered on senior-level assignments for clients such as ASRC Federal, SAIC, Guidehouse, Capgemini, Siemens’ federal business and more. The firm is active in areas such as cloud migration, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cybersecurity, data analytics and law enforcement, among other areas.
“We recognize the power of executive search and the value we bring to the recruitment process,” Scott said in an Executive Spotlight interview with ExecutiveBiz. “Impacting lives has always been high on my list. It is why I entered this profession. Careers are such an important part of people’s lives and we play a key role.”
Mercedes LeGrand, Partner at Odgers Berndtson US’ Aerospace & Defense and National Security Practice
As a partner in Odgers Berndtson’s Aerospace and Defense and National Security practice, Mercedes LeGrand draws from her industry experience to find leaders for her clients in positions that encompass CEO, board and C-level functions. LeGrand is passionate about recruiting female and minority talent to the industry, and she has a keen interest in the intersection between technology and defense.
“I believe my reputation for finding game-changing, diverse leaders at the board, CEO and C-suite levels will serve me well as Odgers Berndtson continues to grow this already distinguished practice around the world,” LeGrand commented.
LeGrand’s work at the sixth largest executive search firm in the world will continue to help her clients in the aerospace, defense and national security sectors grow.
Alison Marshall, Principal for JDG Associates
At JDG Associates, Alison Marshall performs national and local searches for C-suite and senior-level executives, as well as scientists and information technology professionals that span a wide range of disciplines.
In her current role, which she has held for more than 12 years, Marshall also identifies talent for classified environments.
Marshall’s clients include federal, state and local government agencies, as well as Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, consultancies and research institutions. Her more than three decades of experience in the government recruitment field includes the establishment of her own firm, Government Sales Force, in 2004.
Paul Heldenbrand, Senior Legal Recruiter, Consulting Principal at The McCormick Group
As a senior legal recruiter and consulting principal at the McCormick Group, Paul Heldenbrand specializes in consulting for law firm mergers in the Washington, D.C. region and the Mid-Atlantic legal market.
Heldenbrand’s work encompasses areas including taxation and corporate litigation, environment, energy, technology, intellectual property and national security, among others.
Throughout his career, Heldenbrand has represented Cabinet officials, members of Congress and other high-ranking government representatives. His honors include the National Account Executive of the Year Award, Hall of Fame and Living Legend.
Jim Donnelly, Managing Director at Centerstone Executive Search & Consulting
Jim Donnelly’s more than 25-year career has centered on talent acquisition across a multitude of functional areas including corporate leadership, business development, operations, cybersecurity, intelligence and federal healthcare.
As managing director of Centerstone Executive Search and Consulting, Donnelly represents a broad portfolio of senior executives based in defense, intelligence and federal civilian markets across the government contracting sector.
Jim’s previous experience includes talent recruitment roles at firms such as ManTech International, Dinte Executive Search, MCR Federal and Dynamics Research, which is now known as Engility.
Jake Frazer, President and Co-Founder of Precision Talent Solutions
Jake Frazer co-founded Precision Talent Solutions in 2016 and has since served as the company’s president. In his role, Frazer aims to revolutionize talent recruitment, both in the U.S. government and in overseas markets.
Frazer has over two decades of deep expertise and experience in the talent recruitment industry, and his areas of expertise include executive search, international business development, government contracting, mergers and acquisitions, culture building and capture management.
Frazer works to deliver win-win solutions for his clients and the GovCon talent he places.
“We seek to help our clients in any environment and with whatever deadlines they face,” Jake Frazer said. “Our success draws on members of the team spread across ten different countries. This award is a testament to their skills, hard work, and dedication.”
Phoebe Henderson, Managing Director of ZRG Partners, LLC
This marks Phoebe Henderson’s second year of recognition by Executive Mosaic as a top GovCon recruiter, following her 2020 recognition. Henderson currently serves as managing director of ZRG Partners, and in this role, she helps her clients to fill specific talent needs and meet evolving business objectives in today’s competitive market.
Throughout her 20-year career, Henderson has garnered a reputation for excellence and continues to support the GovCon community through her deep knowledge of program management, corporate strategy and culture building.
At ZRG Partners, Henderson works to pair executive talent with innovative companies to drive services and solutions for the federal government.
Patrick Gray, Managing Director, Industrial Lead for Raines International
Patrick Gray serves as managing director and industrial practice leader at Raines International, where he leads the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Gray demonstrates nearly two decades of executive search experience across industries including aviation, aerospace and defense, national security, government services and others.
“His unparalleled experience recruiting leaders in times of crisis will help guide, inform and influence our practice at Raines and our growth as a firm,” praised Dan Smith, CEO of Raines International. “We are enormously fortunate to have him on our team.”
Executive Mosaic is thrilled to recognize these elite GovCon recruitment executives and their organizations for the significant work being done to drive the federal workforce into the future and address the latest challenges facing the GovCon community in talent acquisition.