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The Top GovCon Executive Recruiters: Scott Miner, Ascend Executive Search

ExecutiveBiz spoke to senior leaders at some of government contracting's most powerful firms to find out whom they turn to when they need an executive position filled, and compiled the 10 recruiters you need to know.

To get a sense of their positions on government contracting, we asked the recruiters for their take on the current state of the industry and where they see it going in the future.

What is your take on the current state of the government-contracting field?
The Top GovCon Executive Recruiters: Scott Miner, Ascend Executive Search - top government contractors - best government contracting event
Scott Miner

“Depending upon who your customer is and what is going to happen to their budget, it could be a pretty tough market over the next few years for some players… and they realize it.  You can see companies today ““ some very large, visible companies in the DoD space, for example ““ structuring their businesses to be more lean and reflect their view of the market reality that's facing or will face them.  Many executives I talk with are taking a cautious and conservative view right now.  My view is there will be winners and losers.   The winners will be those companies that can figure out the government’s most critical priorities and develop cost-effective, differentiated solutions that solve their client's problems. Easier said than done, I realize.  My advice, particularly to companies that have strong balance sheets, would be to take advantage of this market uncertainty and actually invest for growth in specific, targeted areas.”

Do you have any predictions for the future of the business?

“We are bullish about the future of the government-contracting market.  There is no doubt that a lot of change is occurring.  From government insourcing initiatives to DoD budget reductions, to the reallocation of budgets amongst other agencies to reflect the agenda of the current administration, it is a challenging market to predict and navigate. Usually, it's in times of industry change that great market opportunities arise.  The government market is extremely large and this customer needs help in so many different ways.  For those contractors who are smart and agile enough to figure out how take advantage of these changes, there will be areas of terrific business growth and opportunity.”

What sets your practice apart in the field?

“Our firm is a boutique, retained, executive search firm specializing in the government contracting, information technology, outsourcing, and professional services markets across various industries and functions.  Dedicated to excellence and timeliness of results, we employ a proven methodology in the execution of assignments from strategic executive hires to rare functional specialists.  Quality, discipline, and thoroughness are the hallmarks of our practice, producing greater success for clients and better access to and knowledge of the best prospects and candidates.  We sustain long-term relationships with our clients and we enjoy a plethora of repeat business. Most often, our new clients are the result of our satisfied current clients recommending and introducing us to others, confident that we will deliver exceptional results.  Our mission is not to be all things to all people, but to be experts focused on recruiting senior management and key technology, program, and business development executives in select markets.  We limit the number of searches we take on in order to provide this high level of service.  Such focus affords us time and resources to dedicate to preferred clients while ensuring a full-market view of candidates with few off-limits restrictions.”

Are there any recommendations you can make to executives looking to enhance their personal brand?

“Continue to perform at a high level and get out there in the market!  Companies need senior executives who have a clear and consistent track record of achieving strong results.  Do that, and you will be or will become well known.  Beyond that, I'd recommend becoming and getting known as an expert in an area that is your professional passion.  It could be anything from a technical subject like cloud computing to a functional one like business development, or perhaps understanding a specific government client inside and out. Educate others on the topic, offer advice to problems owners, and be visible about it.  That can help build your personal brand, too.”

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