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Ropella Places Technical Director for Micro Powders

Posted: 10/09/2018  Category: RG Executive Search Placement

TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK, OCTOBER 9, 2018 – Congratulations to Ranell Santa Cruz, who recently accepted an offer to become Micro Powders’ new Technical Director.

Ranell began his professional career as an R&D Chemist / Technical Specialist for ITW-Polymer Technologies before joining Innovative Resin Systems as Director of Research & Development.  He has his B.A. in Biology from Kean University, B.Sc. in Chemistry from Rutgers University and his M.Sc. in Applied Chemistry from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Micro Powders is a worldwide leader in micronized wax additive technology.  Their solutions enable formulators to develop and improve advanced surface coatings for applications including paints and coatings, and personal care and cosmetics.  Ranell will be an integral member of the Micro Powders leadership team with responsibility over lab management, new product development, quality and regulatory compliance.

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Ropella Launches President Search for Swan Chemical Inc.

Posted: 10/04/2018  Category: RG Executive Search Assignment

LYNDHURST, NEW JERSEY, OCTOBER 4, 2018 – The Ropella Group, the leading Executive Search firm specializing in the chemical, consumer products and technology industries, has launched a new search on behalf of Thomas Swan & Company Ltd., who is looking for a hands-on President to lead their Swan Chemical Inc. (SCI) organization.

Thomas Swan is an independent, family-owned chemical manufacturing company with an eye towards innovation.  Founded in 1926 in the UK, Thomas Swan began in road surfacing; they have since diversified into a wide range of businesses, with over 100 product offerings across a variety of industries.

SCI is a wholly owned, US-based subsidiary of Thomas Swan & Company Ltd.  SCI has excelled in the sale and distribution of Thomas Swan’s UK-made products for many decades, and it has experienced 4 years of strong growth under current President Chuck Van Fleet and is now approaching $15M in annual sales.  Despite SCI’s strong ties to their parent company, they are run as a stand-alone small business.  They are currently budgeted for 6 employees and maintain an emphasis on “outside the box” growth planning and implementation.

The President search is part of their succession planning, as Chuck Van Fleet is preparing to retire after 21 years of dedicated service at SCI.

Job Requirements

The President is a key executive position at SCI, reporting directly to the owner of Thomas Swan, Harry Swan.  The President will have the opportunity to lead a customer-centric, financially strong company.  They should be prepared to lead by example, working hands-on in the trenches with their team.  They need to be both an independent self-starter and a trustworthy team player.  A Bachelor’s degree in a technical discipline is required, with Chemistry or Chemical Engineering being preferred.

As first-in-command at SCI, the President will have the autonomy to make decisions quickly and respond accordingly with the goals of maintaining the existing business and expanding sustainably.  They will be responsible for management of the business, including budget preparation and approval, regulatory compliance and supervising toll manufacturers.  They will have ownership of all hiring, onboarding and ongoing training within SCI.  They will manage direct sales territories, as well as overseeing all sales contracts.  The President will also introduce proposals for new investments, products or other growth, and the oversight to effectively implement these strategies.

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Craig Hrabar Joins The Ropella Group

Posted: 09/06/2018  Category: RG Company NewsRG Employee New

PENSACOLA, FLORIDA, SEPTEMEBER 6, 2018 -- Ropella is excited to welcome their new Energy, Oil & Gas Client Partnership Development Leader, Craig Hrabar.  Craig is an Energy, Oil & Gas Industry Expert who has served internationally in China, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia and Thailand, as well as in the U.S. for powerhouse companies like Westinghouse, Weatherford and Baker Hughes.  At the height of the oil price crash, Craig used his business acumen and networking skills to continually maintain profitability and adapt to rapidly shifting market conditions.

At Ropella, Craig is going to be at the forefront of major organizational expansion.  He will mobilize his expansive global network of industry contacts to drive major growth in Ropella’s Energy, Oil & Gas client base.  This is part of Ropella’s plan to double the size of the almost 50-person Executive Search practice within five years and open satellite offices in Houston, Chicago and New York City.

Craig’s industry experience stretches back over 30 years, with his most recent position being Vice President, China for Westinghouse Electric Company.  In this position, he held responsibility for penetrating and growing operations and services business to state-owned nuclear power plants.

Prior to his time with Westinghouse, Craig spent 9 years with Weatherford International in Australia, China and Indonesia as an Operations Manager, Group Business Manager, General Manager and ultimately as Country President in Indonesia and China.  During his tenure, Craig drove operational efficiency which in one case grew the operating profit of a $100MM+ business by 16% in less than a year during a flat market period.  He also served as a key part of a senior leadership team that delivered a profitable major integrated project covering 131 oil wells over several years.

Craig has also held positions with Baker Oil Tools (Baker Hughes), WorleyParsons, Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines and Kleenheat.  Craig earned his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia.

Craig’s overall success has been in large part due to his ability to quickly assess the capabilities of senior leadership and build high performing teams that deliver results. His deep relationships built over 30 years in the industry, along with his personal integrity and an intense professional resolve, bring unique insights to high level Executive Searches. He now specializes in confidentially discovering, assessing and connecting leaders for C-suite, executive and senior positions, most specifically in Operations, Engineering & Technology, Sales & Marketing and Finance disciplines.

In his spare time, Craig enjoys traveling with his family and spending time on the water.  Craig was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia, while his wife was born and grew up in the Pensacola area.  The couple has two adult sons and two school-age daughters.

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Ropella Places Powertrain Test Lab Team Leader for Infineum

Posted: 08/29/2018  Category: RG Executive Search Placement

LINDEN, NEW JERSEY, August 29, 2018 – Congratulations to Shahzeb Sayeedi, who recently accepted an offer to become Infineum’s new Powertrain Test Lab Team Leader.

Shahzeb is excited to be returning to Infineum, where he actually completed his college internship as a Tribology Test Engineer Co-Op.  He has spent most of his career with MICRO where he worked his way up from Process Development Engineer Co-Op to Quality Engineer and, most recently, CNC Machining Development Engineer.  One project which helped prepare him for his new position was designing and building a Formula SAE spec racecar, during which Shahzeb was responsible for powertrain, turbocharging, intake, exhaust, engine management and overall build.  He has his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology.

Infineum is a leading fuel and lubricant additive manufacturer focused on delivering reliable performance.  They were established in January 1999 as a joint venture between ExxonMobil and Shell.

Although Ropella’s initial objective was to find a Powertrain Test Lab Team Leader for Infineum, they located a number of highly qualified professionals that Infineum wanted to bring onto their team, including Jacob Goodale who accepted an Engineering position.  The next step in this business partnership will be recruiting a Technical Sales Account Manager.

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Ropella Launches CEO Search for Nanotech Industrial Solutions

Posted: 08/27/2018  Category: RG Executive Search Assignment

WOODBRIDGE, NEW JERSEY, August 27, 2018 – The Ropella Group, the leading Executive Search firm specializing in the chemical, consumer products and technology industries, has launched a new search on behalf of Nanotech Industrial Solutions (NIS), who is looking for a visionary CEO to lead the company through exponential growth and establish a strong strategic direction for the future.

NIS was the first company to succeed in commercially producing multi-layered, spherical and tubular nano-structures from inorganic materials, and remains the world’s only manufacturer of nano and submicron spherical sized particles of Inorganic Fullerene-like Tungsten Disulfide.  These technologies are primarily applied to lubricant applications within various infrastructure industries, including Oil & Gas Drilling, Space & Defense, and Power Generation Plants.

Job Requirements

The CEO will have the opportunity to establish a vision for the company over the next three to five years and beyond, including expanded revenue from $1.5MM to $5-10MM in the next one to two years.  The foundation of this growth lies on maturing joint development agreements with large clients including Total Global and Evonik.  With this growth comes the opportunity to travel to NIS’s production facility in Israel, as well as to current and prospective key clients in France, Germany and others.

The CEO will be first in command at NIS, responsible for creating a vision for success, providing strategic direction, driving development and guiding the company and its employees towards long-term success.  The ideal candidate will be a skilled executive with a demonstrated ability to focus on the big picture.  They will take actions to enhance the company’s cash flow and position the company as a lucrative investment opportunity for new strategic partners.  They need to have an entrepreneurial mindset, familiarity with diverse business functions, in-depth knowledge of corporate governance and strong acumen surrounding corporate finance.

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Ropella Places Senior Account Manager for Botaneco

Posted: 08/23/2018  Category: RG Executive Search Placement

LAMBERTVILLE, NEW JERSEY, August 23, 2018 – Congratulations to Michael Schwartz, who recently accepted an offer to become Botaneco’s new Senior Account Manager.

Michael is a results-oriented chemical industry sales management professional with an established record of consistent profit growth.  He began his career with Unilever as a Purchasing Agent before ultimately moving into Sales roles with Sandoz Chemicals, Lanxess, Ciba, and, most recently, BASF.  He has his B.Sc. in Chemistry from The City College of New York and his M.B.A. in Marketing from the Pace University Lubin School of Business.

Botaneco is a natural personal care ingredient manufacturer specializing in oilseeds.  They work intimately with their customers to solve problems, achieve specific formulation goals, and consistently improve the overall performance of personal care products.

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Ropella Places Sales Director - Americas for Micro Powders

Posted: 08/08/2018  Category: RG Executive Search Placement

TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK, AUGUST 8, 2018 – Congratulations to Peter “P.J.” Muller, who recently accepted an offer to become Micro Powders’ new Sales Director – Americas.

P.J. began his professional career as a Pharmaceutical Technician before ultimately moving into personal care ingredient sales roles with Croda and, most recently, TRI-K.  He has his B.Sc. in Biology and his M.B.A. from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, where he was a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society.  He is also an Eagle Scout.

Micro Powders is a worldwide leader in micronized wax additive technology.  Their solutions enable formulators to develop and improve advanced surface coatings for applications including paints and coatings, and personal care and cosmetics.

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The Importance of SMART Onboarding

Posted: 08/03/2018  Category: RG White Paper

You walk into the car dealership confident with your decision, and you’re excited about finally purchasing the car of your dreams. The salesman accompanies you on the test drive; the drive is smooth and comfortable, and you can see yourself happy with this as your daily driver. As he highlights the car’s features, the salesman casually brags that approximately 75% of their new cars are still running three months after purchase.

Are you shocked? Would you be comfortable making the significant investment required to purchase a new vehicle if there was a 25% chance it would breakdown within 90 days?

Notice I said the salesman bragged about this rate – that’s because your odds for a new hire are even worse.

According to a recent survey by Jobvite, approximately 30% of new hires will quit in their first 90 days. Take a moment to let that sink in…

30% of new hires will quit in their first 90 days.

For a little perspective, if you hired 100 people in January, 30 will have resigned by the end of March.

At the time of this writing, BASF (the world’s largest chemical company) has more than 1700 job openings worldwide. Of the people hired for those positions, more than 500 will have resigned by the end of a fiscal quarter.


For many, they simply didn’t get what they expected. Maybe the responsibilities were different from what they expected, maybe they didn’t smoothly assimilate into the culture, or maybe a specific negative experience left a bad taste in their mouth.

In The Definitive Guide to Onboarding, BambooHR asked what might have enticed these people to stay. Some answers weren’t surprising –clear guidelines regarding responsibilities and more effective training were top responses (23% and 21% respectively). One response really stands out from the rest, though: “17 percent said, ‘a friendly smile or helpful coworker would have made all the difference.’” 17% may not seem like a lot – especially since that’s only 17% of the 30% who resign after a short tenure (5% of all new hires).

Still, that implies that 17% of early turnover – 85 of BASF’s currently open positions – could be prevented with nothing more than a few friendly gestures.

That’s not including the 9% who wanted “more attention from the ‘manager and coworkers’”.

Hiring and training new employees are major investments in time, money and other resources. Just like when you buy a car, you want to make sure you’re going to get the most for that investment – without having to worry about repeating the whole process in a couple of months.

Chances are, your candidates are excited when they accept your job offer. If that is true, it stands to reason that something changes between the “Yes” and the end of their first 90 days on the job. The most obvious place to look for improvement, then, is with onboarding processes. You can learn more about how to upgrade your onboarding to set employees up for success in The SMART Onboarding Handbook, a Ropella White Paper that will be available soon. (If you would like to be notified upon its publication, leave a comment on this article.)

Until then, I’ll leave you with one final, uplifting statistic from O.C. Tanner: A great onboarding experience results in 69% of employees being more likely to stay with the company for at least 3 years.

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Negotiating Acceptance Before Making an Offer

Posted: 07/24/2018  Category: RG White Paper

Everyone knows that negotiating an offer can be the most delicate stage in the recruiting process. Done poorly, it can decrease the new hire’s job satisfaction before they have even begun their first day. Even worse, the offer may be rejected – and if it was a prolonged negotiation, that may mean that other viable candidates have likewise lost interest in the position, forcing the organization to start over from step one.

The whole point of presenting an offer is to get a “YES!” Not a “Maybe, I’ll think about it…” or a “No, thank you.” In fact, you want to get that yes before you present the final written offer!

How do you do this? All negotiations should be conducted with the candidate and appropriate decision makers during a pre-offer negotiations stage. The idea is that you don’t want to present an official offer unless you know exactly what the candidate is going to say. To make that possible, you need to discuss hypothetical terms and receive a firm commitment from the candidate that it will be worth moving forward with preparing and presenting a formal written offer.

Start the negotiations after you have addressed all the candidate’s needs, wants and motivations. Walk him through hypothetical offer scenarios until you get a “Yes”. Below is an example of such a pre-offer negotiation. You’ll notice that the candidate, Bill, doesn’t make it easy for the recruiter; expect to get some pushback, and be prepared to address likely objections.


Recruiter: Bill, when we first discussed compensation for this position, you told me that you wanted a base of $165,000 because you’re expecting a 5% raise on your current base of $150,000 in the next six months, and you wanted some incentive on top of that to make the job change. For the moment, let’s table the salary question and compare everything else.

Our bonus program is structured the same way as at your current organization and pays at the same range, so you’ll be even there. Our health and benefits will cost you a little less than what you’re paying now, but you had slightly more coverage there, so that comes out about even, too. Finally, I’ve previously given you details on our standard relocation package, which will cover everything that you’ve indicated you’ll need except for 90 days of temporary living expenses. Are there any other non-negotiable points I’ve forgotten?

Bill: What about the vacation policy?

Recruiter: Right, thanks! We are going to be able to match the amount of vacation you currently have, so you’ll come out even there, too. Are we in agreement?

Bill: Perfect. Yes, I think we’re good on those points.

Recruiter: Here’s my question: If I go to bat for you and push for a salary of $165,000 – which is over the target range by $10,000 – and push for an extra $5,000 in relocation benefits to cover your temporary living needs, are you going to say “Yes”?

Bill: I’ll need to think about it.

Recruiter: Bill, I have to know what negotiating leverage I have. Keep in mind that I can get more for you if I can guarantee you’ll say “Yes.” It’s the ultimate negotiating power if I can say, “Bill has given me his word. If we can do A or B, he will set the start day for two weeks from the day we present the offer.” If you were the one doing the hiring, you’d want to be wanted – just as much as you want to be wanted as a candidate. If you went through the long selection process, then negotiated and prepared an offer and jumped through a bunch of hoops to get approvals, you’d want to know the candidate was definitely going to say “Yes”. If you didn’t know how the candidate would respond, how much time, energy and enthusiasm would you put into pushing for the candidate to get more? Make sense?

Bill: Sure, I can appreciate that.

Recruiter: With that in mind, let’s discuss a few scenarios. If I can get you an even larger base of $175,000, you’d accept that enthusiastically, even without the added temporary living expenses, right?

Bill: Absolutely. I’ll give you my word that I would accept that offer.

Recruiter: Alright. What if I can’t get that, but I get a base of $165,000 plus an additional $3,500 added to the standard relocation package to cover your temporary living. Can I count on you to take that offer?

Bill: Probably. I’d at least still be interested, but I’d rather have the first offer.

Recruiter: Okay, so how about this: If it was $7,500 added to the relocation package, what would you say?

Bill: Yes, for sure. I give you my word that I would accept that offer, too.

Recruiter: Okay, worst case scenario time. If the decision makers come back and say $155,000 and no help with temporary living, what would you say to that?

Bill: I would pass on that offer. That’s not going to motivate me to move my family across the country.

Recruiter: Okay, so I can tell them that if they go that low, they should hire someone else?

Bill: Well, no, I didn’t say that. I’d want to at least hear the offer and have a chance to think it over.

Recruiter: I’m giving you the chance to think it over right now, Bill. I need to know exactly what is exciting to you, what is acceptable, and when you would walk away. That way, I know how hard to push on your behalf and when to back off.

If you need to review this with your wife and get back to me this afternoon, that’s fine. But I can’t pursue an offer until I know exactly where we stand.

Bill: Why can’t you just get me an offer, let me think about it, and I’ll get back to you?

Recruiter: That’s a fair question. Here’s why: Getting an offer together and getting approval on it from all necessary stakeholders is a huge, time-consuming process. It requires multiple signatures and sets expectations. We can’t afford to go through the formal approval process, then wait on your decision, have to renegotiate and go through approval again, and potentially still have you say “No, thanks”. By then, we will likely have lost any other potential candidates, and we have to start the whole search process again.

That’s why I want to find out what will satisfy you now. I give you my word that I’m going to put everything I’ve got into getting exactly what you want, with the understanding that you’ll say “Yes” if we put in that effort. Like I said earlier, I’m more likely to get agreement from the decision makers if I can give them that guarantee.

So, to make sure we’re on the same page before you talk to your wife, let’s review the scenarios one more time. If I can get you a larger base of $175,000, we’ve definitely got a deal and you’ll start two weeks from receipt of the written offer, correct?

Bill: Yes, for sure.

Recruiter: Great! And if I can’t get that, but I get a base of $165,000 plus $7,500 added to the relocation package for temporary living, can I count on you to take that offer?

Bill: Probably. I’d at least still be interested, but I’d rather have the $175,000. Let me confirm this one with my wife and let you know for sure this afternoon.

Recruiter: Okay, that’s fair. How about a base of $155,000 plus $7,500 added to relocation. What would you say?

Bill: Hmm… This is where I’d probably walk away. I just don’t think I’d be happy with that offer.

Recruiter: Okay. Now, I don’t expect this, but just in case the decision makers come back with a $150,000 cap on salary because they know another candidate would be happy with that number, and nothing added to the relocation package, because that candidate wouldn’t have to relocate, what would you say to that?

Bill: Honestly, I’d have to say no. I’ll run it by Mary, but I’m confident we’d say no to that.

Recruiter: Thanks, Bill. You run all this by your wife and get back to me as soon as possible – nothing else happens until I hear from you. Before we say good-bye, let’s make sure we’re both clear on the scenarios. Could you repeat them back to me quick?

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Ropella Places Director of Business Development for EPM - Press Release

Posted: 07/03/2018  Category: RG Executive Search Placement

FRAMINGHAM, MASSACHUSETTES, JULY 3, 2018 – Congratulations to Susan Steyn, who recently accepted an offer to become Engineering Planning and Management, Inc.’s (EPM) new Director of Business Development.

Susan has more than 15 years of energy and safety experience, at companies including Bureau Veritas and GE.  She has her Master of Science from University of Witwatersrand, and her Bachelor of Science from University of Pretoria.

EPM is a safety engineering and consultancy firm with a focus on fire protection in the nuclear power plant industry.  They sought a new Director of Business Development in order to drive their ambitious growth strategy.

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