TESTIMONIALS: Executive Search & Selection

"Steve Darter and People Management have played a major role in helping me build my management team, first at Massachusetts Mutual and then at New York Life. During that period, Steve was instrumental in recruiting more than 20 top management and sales professionals, many of whom serve in key roles throughout our organization…I should note that People Management is unique because it is much more than a recruiting firm. Where the organization differentiates itself is in the selection and matching process ... Through SIMA®, People Management is able to assess the compatibility of the candidate with our organization and the candidate’s new boss ...With SIMA®, we are able to judge the likelihood that the applicant will fit into our culture."

 –Sy Sternberg, CLU
  Chairman, President and
  Chief Executive Officer
  New York Life Insurance Company

This letter is to recommend to you the work of Steve Darter and People Management. Steve is a first-rate professional; People Management is a first-rate company.

Steve has successfully completed several assignments for me. Let me cite two examples:

  1. When I was heading up retail banking for Shawmut Bank, we wanted to experiment with sourcing talent for the position of branch manager from non-traditional places. We were looking for people with management experience combined with sales and service skills. We hired Steve and People Management to help us accomplish this task. They used the SIMA process in recruiting the new talent which helped us make sure that the new hires would fit into our corporate culture. We hired six new branch managers from different backgrounds, and all six were successful additions to our branch manager corps.
  2. I was named head of the search committee to hire a new CEO for the Hartford regions combined Chamber of Commerce and Growth Council. (The new name was the Metro Hartford Economic Alliance.) I turned to Steve Darter and People Management as our search consultant. We needed to do a national search, and I knew that Steve, People Management, and the SIMA process would be perfect for sorting through a wide range of candidates from all over the country so that the search committee could spend its time interviewing people who not only had the requisite background but who would ‘fit’ this high profile non-profit CEO position in Hartford. Steve and People Management did a fine job for us in hiring and bringing to the job a very strong individual with a corporate background. He has been very successful in his position as a leader in our community."

  – Eileen S. Kraus
     Retired Chairman
     Fleet Bank, CT

"Ensign-Bickford Industries, Inc. has been associated with People Management for over twelve years. During this period we have relied extensively upon the SIMA® analysis to assess the potential of mid-level to senior-level executives as well as potential hires. The results have been most satisfying in that the MAP® profiles have been excellent selection and leadership identification tools to use in our manpower planning process... Steve and the staff of People Management have been and continue to be responsive to our needs in an extremely timely fashion."

  – Herman J. Fonteyn

    President  & CEO
   Ensign-Bickford Industries, Inc.
 – Andres N. Kukk,
   Vice President, Human Resources
   Ensign-Bickford Industries, Inc.

"Over the past ten years, Steve Darter has performed several important executive search assignments for GRI. Each has been done thoroughly, on a timely basis, and very professionally handled. These searches have been carefully constructed and have resulted in candidates who are extraordinarily good matches to the position being filled. The experience the firm has in making ‘job fit’ matches pays off."

   – Dr. Stephen D. Ban
     President & CEO
    Gas Research Institute

"I have known and worked with Steve Darter and People Management for close to 10 years. During that period of time, Steve has undertaken numerous assignments at various levels of the organization for MassMutual. In all instances, Steve has done an outstanding job matching the needs and needed personalities for the position, with qualified and varied candidates. The proof of Steve’s effectiveness can be seen by the significant number of key individuals in my organization that are alumni of Steve’s efforts."

   – James E. Miller
      Executive Vice President
      Life & Health Benefits Management

In my 25 years in sales and sales management, I have had the occasion to work with several executive search and human resource consultants. People Management SMD and Steve Darter both stand out in that group...His professional approach and the technique he uses have proven to be invaluable...While there is no such thing as a perfect candidate for any given job, he certainly helped reduce the margin for error in our hiring..."

    – Julius G. Alberico
      Executive Vice President
      NYLCare Health Plans

Recently I hired the services of Steve Darter and his team at People Management. Steve invoked his portfolio of tools to help us screen, evaluate, negotiate, hire and assimilate an expanded Product Management organization. Steve’s creative framework started by assessing the top performers in our current organization and identified our vital attributes of success. Their System for Identifying Motivated Abilities (SIMA) was an effective tool as it accurately aligned the right resources for the right job. Through the combination of Steve’s thoroughness, persistency and professionalism we were proud to have him as an ambassador of our company throughout our search. We are now three months into earning contributions from the team Steve helped compose and we are confident about the future prospects ..."

    – Greg Toczydlowski
       Head of Auto and Property Division
      Travelers Property Casualty

I have the privilege to comment on the excellent work done by Steve Darter and his team for my company... We consulted Steve to assist us in the search for a new Chief Financial Officer... This was a very sensitive position for us... What differentiated Steve from other recruiters we spoke with was his approach to qualifying job candidates. Steve uses the System for Identifying Motivated Abilities (SIMA) to uncover the attributes that make a candidate particularly strong... In addition, he uses professionally prepared organization charts and diagrams to analyze the organizations in which a candidate has been previously employed. This allows him to see the candidate in their former environments and to understand the true nature of the responsibilities the candidate had. It also gives him insight into the reasons for which a candidate may have made a change in the past and may be seeking to join a new organization now... Steve listens well and customizes his recruitment approach based on customer input. And Steve follows through... The candidates Steve and his team found for us were uniformly strong, motivated, professionally competent, and prepared. We had a tough time choosing among them, but Steve was prepared with recommendations when we stalled. In short, Steve Darter is a person in whom we would not hesitate to place our trust for any important executive search. We recommend him highly."

  – Paul E. Forte
     Chief Executive Officer
     Long Term Care Partners, LLC

"I first met Steve in the late 1980s when I was a candidate for a search and was pleased at the way he responded to me. Very professional are words that come to mind. Two things struck me at that time – one was the intimate knowledge he had of his client and how articulate he was in communicating that to me, and second was his interest (through People Management’s SIMA® process) in trying to facilitate a good match.

It is because of this first encounter that I began to use his services. I have had several SIMA® profiles done on key employees and find the information insightful and useful. I have also periodically gone back and reread my own profile and have used the information to better manage myself and my organization.

Regarding executive search, all I can say is that I have used many firms in the past, and I’d have to put Steve at the top of the list. He is hardworking and determined like good search people should be, but the care he takes in trying to land a person who fits is refreshing in contrast to many of his peers. As we looked at candidates, his insights regarding background were very valuable, but what has always intrigued me, is the use of the SIMA® process as a way of understanding people and trying to figure out if a candidate will be successful."

    – Jack D. Williams
      President & CEO
      Human Affairs International, Inc

"SIMA® combined with the aggressive screening and recruitment activities of People Management have helped us build our organization, in keeping with our ‘best in class’ philosophy...Steve’s organization is a unique resource and a pleasure to do business with."
   – Jerome H. Gotthainer
      President & COO
      Johns Hopkins HealthCare LLC

"The executive searches Steve has conducted for ANI during the last couple of years have more than adequately demonstrated the professionalism of his firm. His expertise in the preparation and definition phase, in the actual search and in the very delicate process of final selection came through very clearly. Steve and his associates established an excellent rapport with those of us involved at ANI. They took the time and effort to thoroughly learn the corporate culture here at ANI before they began to represent us to candidates. All in all, a job well done."
   – Burt C. Proom
      President & CEO
      American Nuclear Insurers

Steven Darter worked with us on a couple of very senior executive searches and we found his customer service to be top-notch. He accurately and quickly sized our needs and was great to work with. Steve also assisted in some follow-up situations by providing keen insight and analysis gleaned from his initial recruiting and testing data."
    – Marty Petty
      Senior Vice President and General Manager
      The Hartford Courant

"We first started using the SIMA® evaluation system offered by People Management, and its President, Steve Darter, in 2001. The health care industry is a most challenging one in which to work, with its myriad of regulatory requirements, increasing customer demands for improved access, quality of care, and lower costs, and complexity of products, benefits, and payment arrangements, When your primary competitor has 70% of the market share, the challenges are even more demanding. The knowledge and skills a candidates possesses are easily assessed, and past accomplishments can be readily verified. But the assessment of a candidate of a candidate's "fit" with our organization's culture, with the behavioral and performance expectations required of the position, and with the hiring manager's leadership style is an essential component of the hiring decision, and one too often neglected. SIMA ® evaluations have helped to confirm our impressions of a candidate's potential for success on the job based on their Motivational Patterns of accomplishments and behaviors. Managers have become more aware of their candidate's naturally motivated tendencies, and those they would have to coach. The SIMA® evaluations of those candidates we did hire were right on target. "

   – Kathleen Dahl
      Vice President, Human Resources
      Preferred Care

My first encounter with Steve and People Management came as a candidate for my current position. I have worked with a number of executive search firms over the years and can say from first-hand experience that Steve and his organization are top flight. As part of the search process, I went through the SIMA® evaluation. It was right on target with who I am, my skills and how I approach my work. This not only allowed my prospective employer to get an accurate view of me, it helped me access my qualifications and interest in the position. A remarkable, positive, two way communication piece... Perhaps the highest form of flattery is to use the services once used to bring you into a position ... I conducted a retained search for a new Chief Administrative Officer and Vice President of Sales. In both cases I turned to Steve and People Management. The result was outstanding additions to our team. Steve promptly surfaced strong candidates, had an excellent understanding of our needs and my style from the work we’d done together and we quickly identified the right people for these positions. The SIMA® process was on target once again."
   – Kenneth A. Grubb
     NYLIFE Administration Corp

In my capacity as counsel to and a Director of a manufacturing company here in Connecticut, I endeavored to hire a Vice President/General Manager with the right ‘fit.’ My efforts were quite unsuccessful. I turned to People Management and to Steve Darter in particular. In retrospect, that certainly has been one of my better decisions! Somehow he located the one person who truly ‘fits’ my unique situation. That candidate has worked out perfectly. We are all very pleased and grateful."

    –Donald P. Richter
     Murtha, Cullina, Richter and Pinney

"In 1991 and 1992 I used People Management for several key executive searches and evaluations. Their work was thorough, well executed, and I feel the candidates referred were of exceptional quality. People Management works closely to make certain they understand your needs prior to beginning their work, and there’s regular feedback along the way. I had a great experience working with Steve Darter and his staff."

   – Michael J. Fisch
      President & CEO
     The Bakersfield Californian

"We at Shawmut have been very happy with the services People Management have provided for us in our search for highly skilled executives. These executives proved to be invaluable to our company."

    – Paul J. DelFino
      Executive Vice President
      Shawmut Bank

"People Management has rendered extremely positive assistance to Linemaster Switch Corporation in helping to find the ‘Right Man’ for a very responsible position of General Manager of this small, but not too small, manufacturing facility in the Northeastern Section of Connecticut... Linemaster has had a great deal to offer, but found it difficult to obtain the ‘Right One’ – Steve’s personal efforts and expertise were invaluable."

    – Nancy B. Blakely
      Linemaster Switch Corporation

Steve has helped us staff the company with a superior group of people. Their method of scrutinizing the job requirements, work environment and boss is a major contribution to their success. Their SIMA® analyses are very helpful."
   – Dr. Robert J. Leaf
     U.S. Dental Plans

"At the risk of over-simplification, the key to success is matching the characteristics of the job to the abilities of the applicant. Based upon my own experience, the motivational profiling system developed by People Management is the best approach that I have found to this delicate and difficult task."

    – J. Richard Shand
      Bicron Electronics

"I was particularly impressed with the thoroughness and professionalism demonstrated during the entire search process, from our initial interview, through candidate selection, job offer and post hiring follow-up. Throughout this hectic period, your interest, enthusiasm and candor has been most appreciated."
   – Kenneth J. Miller
      MICHCON Energy Service Corporation

The use of SIMA® has proven to be very beneficial to us as part of the selection process for general agents. The information complements the data our people uncover in the course of our interviews and has been instrumental in several of our final decisions."

    – Burvin E. Pugh, CLU, ChFC
      Senior Vice President

"As an organization that strives to build its strength through quality people, People Management has been extremely helpful in recruiting higher caliber individuals for our Product Line. Steve and his team bring value to the recruiting process; they are more than just a placement firm, they create a ‘fit’ between the individual and the organization... To the extent MassMutual Life & Health has been successful over the past few years, to some degree they share in that success because of the people and support they have provided to us."

    –William J. Burton
      Senior Vice President

"I value the SIMA® approach to executive search. Your approach provides a high level of confidence that the correct decisions are being made and is a significant aid to both the company and the individual being recruited. Having been on both sides of the process, I can say with assurance that the SIMA® tool is quite effective in evaluating the candidate’s fit to the organization as well as to the job.

I highly recommend People Management and the SIMA® process."

    – Sherry A. Manetta
      Executive Vice President and CFO
      HealthRight, Inc.

"Thanks for your help in fulfilling our latest search. As before, I was pleased with the approach taken and the quality of the candidates proposed. What was probably even more useful was the ‘Summary of Motivated Strengths and Job Fit Recommendations.’ I’ve found these very helpful in structuring my approach to the individuals we’ve hired in a way that capitalizes on their strengths. I think that they really shorten both me and my colleagues learning curves."

    – Steven P. Laden
      Vice President, Sales & Marketing

"I have been impressed with the very thorough approach toward understanding our position requirements and, as importantly, our management philosophy and culture. The searches you’ve performed for us have consistently produced quality candidates and quality hires...Having personally experienced the SIMA® ‘job fit’ tool, I can attest to its unique approach but, more to the point, to its effectiveness in identifying job fit. All of the individuals you helped us hire continue to make significant contributions to our company..."

   – James R. Curtis, SPHR
      Vice President, Human Resources
      American Nuclear Insurers

As a result of their professional, thorough and precise techniques all positions were filled with individuals of the highest quality... the motivational profiling of each top candidate was critical to understanding strengths and weaknesses... their ongoing support once the candidates were in place has been helpful... they have my highest recommendation."
   – Keith Dameron
      Regional Vice President

"We have been pleased with their enthusiasm and professionalism... always felt they knew their business very well, were very anxious to provide the services needed and did so in a very honest and straightforward manner. The SIMA® process is very thorough and effective... the information gathering at the beginning of a search is one of the most complete I have seen... it’s a pleasure working with them."

    – Margaret Robinson
      Supervisor of Employment
      Amoco Research Center

Over the past five years we have had the opportunity to professionally work together with Steve and his team in a number of critical areas... The results of our collaboration have been invaluable and productive. All searches developed excellent candidates that mirrored agreed upon requirements and were completed on a timely basis. Steve also worked with each successful candidate to speed their assimilation into our business, which has a very strong culture. An ancillary benefit that we also appreciate is the sharing of important market data which was developed through the course of each assignment.

Working with Steve on several complex processes I have also had the opportunity to observe his assessment skills. The masterful application of the unique SIMA® technique provides candid insights and in-depth evaluations that are invaluable to the individual as well as their organization. Coupled with very strong facilitation skills, he provides his client base with a competency that is the hallmark of an exceptional organization consultant."

    – Alfred G. Wilke
      Vice President
      The Travelers