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By Robert Rapier on Jul 23, 2009 with no responses

Looking for Help After a Difficult Week

I am coming to the end of the most difficult week of my career, which is why I haven’t written much for the past few days. I had to sit across the table from some very good people and tell them they no longer had jobs. It wasn’t the first time I had to terminate people, but it was the first time I had to terminate people of this caliber, and for purely economic reasons. It was an experience I hope to never repeat, and I am determined to intervene in order to mitigate the impact on these individuals and their families.

The history here is that the company I have worked for over the past 1.5 years had built up an office in Dallas of about 30 people. The CEO of the company (Accsys PLC) had been based in Dallas, but stepped down at the beginning of this week. The new CEO will be based in London. In the aftermath of the change, a decision was made to restructure and shift certain functions back to Europe, which is where our first commercial plant is located. We lost a number of people, including several engineers who reported to me. These were people that I recruited and hired, and I feel personally responsible for them. As I indicated previously, I am relocating very soon to Hawaii, but before I go I want to help place those who lost jobs.

Given that we are in the midst of the most difficult economic conditions in decades, I thought I would do something unconventional here. I want to reach out to readers in the off chance that you currently know of an organization looking to employ someone with the skills of some of the people we lost this week. Of the following six, I personally interviewed four of them, and I can promise you my interviews are generally brutal. As a result, few of the people that I interview are offered a job. But because my screening process is so tough, I rarely make a hiring decision that I later regret. (Of course overly-restrictive standards also result in missing out on lots of good candidates). So all of the candidates below have my unqualified recommendation.

The following group includes 3 chemical engineers (representing Arizona State, Princeton, and Villanova), a mechanical engineer (Virginia Tech) who is a Six Sigma/lean manufacturing expert, a logistics expert with over 20 years of experience, and a business manager who excels at building and managing teams. All have international experience.

Here is a slightly more detailed synopsis, in no particular order:

1. First year chemical engineer out of Arizona State with a 3.6 GPA. Spent 8 years in the U.S. Army. Gets along very well with everyone, and established himself very quickly as a promising engineer in our Arnhem (Netherlands) plant. Ideally would like to work in process design or process engineering.

2. MS in Chemical Engineering from Princeton, with a BChE Summa cum Laude from the University of Delaware. Has been excellent in an R&D role for us. Interests are process design and improvement in the chemical, biochemical, pharmaceutical, or energy industries. Willing to relocate within US and Canada. Preferences within the following areas: Mid-Atlantic, New England, Pacific Northwest.

3. Chemical engineering graduate from Villanova. Enormous potential, but had barely started with us when the reorganization was announced. The all around best of a very good group of candidates I interviewed from the recent graduating Class of 2009.

4. Mechanical engineer by training; almost 20 years of experience with lots of management experience. Six Sigma/LEAN manufacturing specialist. Very good at building consensus, and superb at setting up and executing projects. Served as my stand-in when I was out of the office.

5. A natural salesman with an extremely smooth demeanor. BBA with almost 20 years of experience. Was responsible for commercialization efforts of one of our new product lines. Skilled at building, developing, and managing teams. Prefers to remain in the Dallas metroplex, but open to other opportunities.

6. Logistics expert with more than 20 years of experience. Experience in China, South Africa, and the Netherlands. American citizen but speaks some Dutch and German.

If you are interested in talking to any of these people, send me an email (my address) and let me know. I can send you any or all of their resumes. Just say “Send me #4 and #6″, for instance. If you want to speak with me personally about any of them, let me know and I will call you. I will update this as needed, and perhaps bump it back up in the future.

Thank you.