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Finding an Ecological Restoration Expert to fill Critical Board Position

Client engages Apex Leaders to recruit a board member

L2 Capital, a family office with decades of experience investing in and growing lower middle market companies, came to us to find a board member for their recently acquired portfolio company, Ecotone, Inc.

Uncovering board search goals and candidate requirements

To gain a comprehensive understanding of the goals, company, current board members, and expertise needs, our team met with Ecotone’s CEO and L2’s management team. We learned that Ecotone is an end-to-end solution for ecological restoration services to state and local governments, private corporations, public/private partnerships, and nonprofit organizations, primarily in the Mid-Atlantic region. And identified the goal of placing a board member that could:

  • Identify and develop new business opportunities.
  • Build and execute geographic expansion plans.
  • Develop strategies for new services within the ecological restoration services space.

To advance Ecotone, the ideal candidate must have extensive experience in governmental environmental policy, a solid ecological background, prior experience in geographic and service expansion, knowledge of the various funding environments, and the development of strategic plans for raising capital and accessing funding.

Recruiting and interviewing an ecological restoration expert

With the criteria as the guide, our team got to work on conducting project-specific research and mapping all relevant talent. From there, they custom recruited and rigorously vetted several potential candidates. The vetting process not only dives into the candidate’s experience and accomplishments but also digs into their communication, collaboration, and leadership styles to give the leadership teams insight into the candidate’s personality.

Results of board member search

Out of discovery, three strong candidates emerged, which L2 and Ecotone then interviewed.

Board member placement success

The CEO and L2 selected Cathy Stepp because she has the precise experience and expertise to help Ecotone achieve its growth and expansion goals.

Former President Donald Trump appointed Cathy to serve as Regional Administrator for the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) largest region, the Great Lakes states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

As Regional Administrator Cathy was responsible for overseeing environmental protection activities and implementing federal and state environmental laws. This position included serving as director of the Great Lakes National Program, which awarded over $300 million in grants to states, tribes, and non-governmental organizations for projects aimed at remediation of legacy contamination of the Great Lakes.

Before Cathy’s role with the EPA, she served as Cabinet Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WI DNR), one of the largest agencies in the state government, employing over 3,000 people with a budget of over $500 million per year. Cathy is also a former State Senator for the State of Wisconsin.

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