A mission-driven leader for a modern manufacturing operation
Successful search brings new president and CEO to Minnesota Diversified Industries
When Peter McDermott, President and CEO of Minnesota Diversified Industries, announced his retirement in 2020, the board of directors knew they had big shoes to fill. During his 12 years in the role, McDermott significantly strengthened and grew the non-profit, which provides meaningful employment opportunities to Minnesotans with disabilities.
After considering their options, MDI turned to Lyman Executive Search to identify external leadership candidates. David Lyman, Principal, and Heidi Westlind, Search Consultant, led the three-month effort. MDI’s unique combination of social enterprise and manufacturing made it a challenging yet exciting assignment.
“Lyman Executive Search did exceptional work in finding good candidates for us to vet.”
Jill Hesselroth, Board Chairman, MDI
Blending manufacturing with social enterprise
MDI needed a president and CEO candidate adept at:
- Bridging the boundaries of mission and manufacturing
- Demonstrating servant leadership qualities
- Interfacing with external stakeholders
Combining the two disciplines of non-profit leadership and manufacturing savvy was especially important for MDI. The organization operates four manufacturing facilities across the state, which produce and assemble corrugated plastic products for organizations around the country.
“Lyman Executive Search did exceptional work in finding good candidates for us to vet,” said Jill Hesselroth, Chair of the MDI board of directors.
“It was a great process. We had the right team and found the right person. We thank David and Heidi at Lyman Executive Search for their guidance and leadership.”
Ellen Hoeg, Board Chairman Emeritus, MDI
A collaborative and inclusive process
Finding the right leader meant learning the MDI business inside and out. Our inclusive and collaborative process enabled us to understand the non-profit’s key requirements, as well as the cultural nuances that would guarantee a strong fit.
We worked in close partnership with outgoing president McDermott, board chair Hesselroth, former chair Ellen Hoeg and the non-profit’s full selection committee. Dr. Sarah Bridges assisted us with psychological assessments for finalists.
“It was a great process. We had the right team and found the right person,” Hoeg said. “We thank David and Heidi at Lyman Executive Search for their guidance and leadership.”
A unanimous decision in Eric Black
The hard work paid off. Although making a final decision was difficult due to the number of qualified candidates, the selection committee was unanimous in their choice. Eric Black is the right leader for this moment at MDI. The board values his deep manufacturing experience, strategic skills and inspiring leadership.
Lyman Executive Search helped the two parties negotiate terms and assisted with the transition and onboarding plan.
“An abundance of gratitude goes to Lyman Executive Search for supporting us throughout the process,” Hesselroth said. “I am excited to work with Eric and watch him develop in this role.”