From Worst to 1st
CML Emergency Services
Steven Panyko, CEO
Positions: VP of marketing + Head of product management
When former CEO Steve Panyko joined CML Emergency Services, he had a concrete plan in mind: Build revenues and acquire customers with the hope of an eventual exit in three to five years.
But to do that, Panyko realized the already seasoned and effective senior leadership team he’d inherited needed a boost in two crucial areas. “When I got there, what I found was a team of individuals who were playing together very, very effectively,” he said. “What I also found was a complete absence of marketing and of product management.”
What was required, he knew, was an injection of marketing and product management talent to push his already-strong team from good to great. So he partnered with David Perry of Perry-Martel International to make it happen.
Perry’s first step was to work with CML’s CEO to hammer out a detailed and unique set of specifications, or position profiles, for the two roles. This was absolutely pivotal, said Panyko, and was borne of Perry developing an almost innate knowledge of his company and its needs. “It was in that context of where we are, where we’re going, and what we need to get there that he was able to work with me to refine those specifications,” he said. These spec lists not only included skill sets but also personal traits and potential company fit.
Select candidates were then approached and evaluated based on how closely they matched these position profiles. And after an intensive interview process of just two to three months involving both the recruiter and company, Panyko found what he describes as “two marvelous candidates.”
The company’s eventual product manager, Allan Zander, described Perry as an extremely atypical recruiter – one whose passion for his client and their opportunity won him over almost immediately. “It was pretty clear to me that David was going above and beyond for his client,” says Zander, “and this made me that much more interested in the job.”
Zander then also worked with Perry to help rebuild the product management structure at CML from the ground up: painstakingly jigsawing a disparate group of talents together to create a strong, cohesive unit. “It was not my job to just get my team to the Super Bowl; it was to get the team to the Super Bowl and win,” he said.
CML eventually hired Zander and chief marketing officer Darryl Praill to its leadership group. And as CEO Panyko tells it, the executive search hit it out of the park: CML’s leadership team went into overdrive, tripling the company’s valuation to around $70 million in a little more than a year.
And it wasn’t just Perry’s savvy recruiting skills that helped contribute to such a successful search, either. Panyko said it was also the executive recruiter’s heightened awareness of good strategy, individual business needs, and the essence of what’s required when building a new role or team that also contributed to CML’s success.
“I was told by a lead investor, ‘You’re not here to quick flip this thing. You’re here to build this thing,’” recalled Panyko. “As it turned out, though, by doing the appropriate thing to build it, we attracted the attention of a suitable buyer, and achieved in 14 months the kind of exit they wanted in five years.”
From Worst to 1st