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RETAINED EXECUTIVE SEARCH FIRM, LEADERSHIP ADVISORY SERVICES, AND INTERIM LEADERSHIP & PROJECT CONSULTING

Our Services

Executive Search Services

Finding and retaining top leadership and board talent can be a strategic game changer. Our retained executive search firm has been providing executive search consulting services since 1996.

Leadership Advisory Services

Allen Austin’s Leadership Advisory Services are based on Total Performance Leadership (TPL), which is a journey that will never end. It is our study of organizations that perform at the very top of their sectors.

Interim Leadership & Project Consulting

Our flexible model and tailored solutions allow us to operate with precision and rapidly respond to our clients’ needs, providing a roadmap to measurably improve business performance.

The Allen Austin Difference

Since 1996, Allen Austin, has been dedicated to building lasting relationships and delivering real value to our clients.

As a global retained executive search, leadership advisory, and interim leadership and project consulting services firm, our mission is to provide fully integrated management solutions that allow our clients to unleash the full potential of their organizations and deliver outstanding business results. Our fundamental commitment is to do the right thing, for our people, our clients and for the global communities in which we work.

Our Clients

What Our Clients Say

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When Tanglewood Legacy Advisors engaged Allen Austin for a retained search I expected just that. What we received was so much more.

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Andrew T. Gardener CFP , President, Tanglewood Legacy Advisors

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[Allen Austin’s] approach is different than the big three or four firms, and they deliver a much more hands-on experience led by senior executives.

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John Dennis , Managing Partner & Founder of WoodRock & Company

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I have had the opportunity to engage with a number of different recruiting firms over my career and have to say that I thought the experience with Allen Austin was exceptional.

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Bob Aylward , Chief Executive Officer & President of Jones & Carter

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Tom was not just a consultant; he was a member of our team. I very much appreciate the impact Tom had a me as a leader, and the impact he had on our performance for Hess.

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Brian Truelove , Retired Senior Vice President of Hess Corporation

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Allen Austin is pound-for-pound the best executive search firm that I dealt with over a 40-year career — no contest.

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Jim Eggleston , Board Member of Silberline Manufacturing Company

Consultant Spotlight

Rob Andrews

Chairman & CEO

Based in Houston, Rob Andrews is Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Allen Austin, a leadership advisory and executive search firm. Rob leads Allen Austin’s global CEO, Consumer Packaged Goods & Durables Practice, and is also a member of the firm’s Leadership Advisory, Private Equity, Industrial and Marketing Officer practices. Building on his earlier career experience as an operating president with major convenience store and…

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Ari Cretu

President

As President of Allen Austin, Ari’s responsibilities include corporate development, forging external partnerships, championing DE&I causes and embedding them within the firm’s growth strategy, client origination, revenue production, and ensuring world-class quality execution across all engagements and service offerings. As a key member of Allen Austin’s leadership team, Ari assists in the strategic direction and tactical plans of the firm. Also remaining under Ari’s purview…

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Ken Wilcox

Senior Partner

Based in Dallas-Fort Worth, Ken serves as Senior Partner and Head of the Consumer Products and Retail Sector. Ken is charged with overseeing the development of client engagements, by leveraging Allen Austin’s formidable portfolio of services, including executive search, leadership advisory and interim executive and coaching assignments. Prior to joining Allen Austin, Ken spent the past 30+ years in increasingly senior roles in corporate America….

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Ara Megerdichian

Partner, Leadership Advisory Practice Leader

Based in Bozeman, Montana, Ara serves as Partner and Practice Leader of Allen Austin’s leadership advisory practice and is a senior member of the firm’s higher education, government, non-profit, private equity, and industrial practices.  He brings 30+ years of strategic leadership and management experience spanning both the private and public sectors in a diverse range of organizations. Prior to Allen Austin, Ara served for twenty…

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Donna Gaines

Founder & Managing Partner, Gaines International

Donna gives a unique sensibility to executive and management recruitment and understands the impact of architecture and design on cultures and societies. Since 1981, Donna has assisted clients in finding key professionals with leadership talent to meet the challenges of modern business. Donna relocated the Gaines headquarters from Atlanta to Chicago following a decade that included the Gulf War, an economic downturn, and overbuilding that…

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Dwane Ruiz

Partner

Based in Houston, Dwane Ruiz is a Partner and a member of the firm’s Industrial, CEO, Board of Directors, and Leadership Advisory practices. Prior to Allen Ausitn, Dwane spent forty+ years as a senior executive in the industrial manufacturing and services sector. Dwane has a proven track record in all aspects of operations, manufacturing, engineering, product development, and business development. Dwane has a reputation of…

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Jackie Gorman

Senior Partner

She has a particular interest in the areas of Higher Education, Government, Workforce Development, and Non-Profit organizations, where she brings over 16 years of executive-level management experience. Jackie is also a specialist in diversity executive searches and can bring to the table the highest caliber of diverse candidates for any organization. Jackie has developed a reputation for superior customer service. Her client list includes major…

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Based in Atlanta, Grant Heath is a senior member of the firm’s Architectural, Engineering and Construction practice. A 30+ year veteran of retained search, Grant has conducted C-Suite and senior-level search engagements for some of the largest and most prestigious architectural, construction, interior design and engineering firms in the world. He is one of those rare consultants who understands and relates to both left and…

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Based in Tampa, Florida, James Wilkson is a Partner within our Executive Search,  Leadership Advisory, and executive coaching practices. He specializes in Medical Management, Environmental Health and Safety, Technology, Software, Manufacturing, Retail, Hospitality, and Financial Service verticals. James is a gifted profiler of executive talent and an accomplished search consultant delivering competitive leadership ranging from start-up and private equity-based companies to Fortune 500 organizations. Drawing…

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Kelly specializes in industrial, oil and gas, power, midstream, and consumer products, and has a unique talent for conducting search engagements across a broad range of industries. Kelly feels building relationships is her biggest asset. Prior to Allen Austin, she worked for one of the largest firms in Houston and successfully completed a large engagement with a rapidly growing midstream company resulting in fifty executive…

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Earle leads searches for the firm’s AEC clients domestically and internationally, and also oversees business development and marketing for the firm’s Atlanta offices. Prior to joining Gaines International, Craft spent almost two decades as the Vice President of Human Resources and Administration for tvsdesign, inc., a premier A&E design firm with offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dubai, and Shanghai. He has significant experience in a wide…

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After a successful twenty-year career at Kraft General Foods, where he held a series of management and executive-level positions, Pat spent five years as Managing Partner of a Connecticut based management consulting firm that specialized in providing added value via client-specific sales and marketing solutions. Prior to joining Allen Austin, Pat was Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing for a Connecticut based, family-owned and…

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He began his search career in 1996, in research and research management. He managed research teams at two London-based executive search firms in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Over the last ten years, Stephen has delivered searches across multiple sectors, functions, and geographies. He has executed searches on behalf of some of the world’s biggest companies, including Disney, Sony, Microsoft, IBM, and PWC. He…

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Victoria’s practice areas include all facets of financial services including retail banking, FinTech, payments, and insurance. She partners with clients who are global leaders in solving their senior executive talent and leadership needs. Victoria fills critical leadership roles at the C-Suite level that span general management, digital, data analytics, finance, marketing, and operations. She is also a leading member of the firm’s diversity and inclusion…

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Based in Houston, Edie Bartlett is a Partner, and a member of the firm’s Consumer & Retail, Marketing Officer, Business Development, and Industrial practices.  She has over 20 years’ experience in executive leadership roles with prestigious consumer packaged goods companies Including Warner Brothers, MGM Studio and Starz. Edie’s expertise encompasses all areas of CPG distribution including, sales, marketing, and product distribution across all classes of…

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News & Insights

By Rob Andrews based on personal research Southwest Airlines is a company to which we’ve paid close attention for decades. Herb Kelleher, the airline’s cofounder and first CEO practiced all nine principles we’ve observed in organizations that perform at the very top of their sectors, all of which have built cultures of peak performance. The principles continued under Gary Kelly, now Chairman, and Bob Jordan, current Southwest’s Chief Executive Officer. That said, no organization, regardless of its cultural prowess, is immune from disruption around runaway inflation, talent shortages and global…”

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  By Rob Andrews based on personal research and paraphrased content from Michael Lee Stallard’s Wall Street Journal Article August 24, 2014 Much has been written about Alcoholics Anonymous, including lessons business leaders can learn from the 87-year-old worldwide organization with over 2.5 million members. Many of my 45,000+ blog readers are close friends, clients, and colleagues who know that I am a recovering alcoholic who has lived comfortably in recovery for almost sixteen years. This post is not about my recovery, but the important lessons I’ve learned from the…”

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By Rob Andrews with paraphrased content from Dan Cable’s article in Harvard Business Review July 22, 2022 According to Dan Cable, Professor of Organizational Behavior at London Business School, when leaders reveal their mistakes, trip-ups, and failures, they are seen as more approachable and less arrogant. But showing vulnerability isn’t easy for most leaders because it runs counter to what most of us have been taught. In today’s business environment, what got us here won’t get us there, and that means innovating, trying new things, making mistakes, and learning from…”

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By Rob Andrews with paraphrased content from Elisa Farri’s article in Harvard Business Review July 4th, 2022 The executive retreat, a well-established corporate staple, is making a comeback after more than two years of virtual gatherings. The traditional format is simple: The CEO takes the company’s executive leaders away from the office for a day or two of debate and strategic contemplation. The team returns with a clear idea of what they’re doing and a renewed sense of working as a team with their colleagues. That’s the theory. In practice,…”

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By Rob Andrews with paraphrased content from Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis article in Harvard Business Review July 4th, 2022 This is a challenging time for managers. Alongside their day-to-day roles, many are facing a never-ending cycle of reskilling and recruiting on their teams. The need to reskill isn’t new, with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimating that 1.1 billion jobs are likely to be radically transformed by technology in the next decade. However, managers are now being asked to close the skills gap at the same…”

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By Rob Andrews with paraphrased content from Thomas C. Redman’s article in Harvard Business Review June 30, 2022 Thomas Redman, “the Data Doc” helps organizations of all sizes chart a course to effective data driven futures. According to Redman, “If you look under the hood of most company’s data strategy — if they have one, that is — you’ll find that most data is woefully mismanaged. It’s unclear how data is meant to be used and who is responsible for it.” Businesses must craft better systems and approaches to measure…”

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  By Rob Andrews with paraphrased content from Dawn Klinghoffer and Elizabeth McCune’s article in Harvard Business Review June 24, 2022 One thing is clear: None of us are the same today as we were prior to 2020. As our employees change, we must also change our approach to empower them. At Microsoft, where Dawn Klinghoffer and Elizabeth McCune work on the People Analytics team, that means learning what data can tell them about how employees aspire to live their lives meaningfully. They landed on a new way of measuring…”

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By Rob Andrews with paraphrased content from Hubert Joly’s article in Harvard Business Review – June 10th, 2022 Last week we left off our discussion of company culture’s influence on strategy and purpose with a reflection on the leadership role modeling. Click here to read part one. How to Shape an Effective Culture Changing a company’s culture requires more than role modeling, of course. In Joly’s experience, there are three types of levers companies can use to profoundly shape an effective culture: business levers, management levers, and “human magic” levers….”

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By Rob Andrews with paraphrased content from Hubert Joly’s article in Harvard Business Review – June 10th, 2022 Says Joly, early in his career, strategy was seen as the key to business success. More recently, purpose has become an essential element of doing business — the north star and inspiration meant to orient all company activities. But there is often a large gap between a company’s purpose and what its employees experience, and a simple communication campaign about the great new company purpose won’t do much good on its own….”

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(Houston, TX) – Monday, June 13, 2022 – Allen Austin, a leading management consulting firm based in Houston, is thrilled to announce that Michaella Maniscalo has joined the firm as its newest Officer Manager in the executive search practice. Michaella provides high-level administrative support to the partners while working closely with the entire office to ensure a smooth flow of business between all stakeholders. She is skilled at managing internal and external communications and acts as a liaison between clients, candidates, and associates. In her role as an administrator, Michaella…”

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Why Do You Do That?

Rob Andrews talks about why our team at Allen Austin operates the way it does; how it’s all led by purpose and how we implement it into our Executive Search (executive recruitment) and Leadership Advisory practices.