TCU VC of Public Safety

TCU hires first associate vice chancellor of public safety

September 27, 2017
Fort Worth Business Press

Texas Christian University has hired the school’s first associate vice chancellor of public safety, a new position.

Adrian Andrews, with a background of 28 years in the Secret Service, has been named to the new position. Andrews will oversee emergency management, police, shuttle and transportation, and public safety. During his time in the Secret Service he was involved in the areas of public safety, training, emergency management and law enforcement. He has worked in dozens of emergency situations, including serving as the incident commander for a devastating tornado in Oklahoma in 2005. Since 2015, he has been second in command, assistant special agent in charge, of 90 field agents in Dallas.

He was recruited by Mackenzie Eason & Associates, a Fort Worth executive search firm.

 Andrews was born into a military family in Oklahoma City and grew up in Alaska, Virginia and Michigan. As a child, he had watched as Jimmy Carter was running for president and wondered who the men were standing around to protect him. After learning about the U.S. Secret Service, he decided he wanted to be a part of it. He was a high school football player and received a scholarship to play at Central Missouri State University, where he earned a degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s in Criminal Justice Management.

He moved back to Oklahoma after his graduate degree to work as an intake counselor at the Tulsa Juvenile Court for three years. In 1989, he was hired by the U.S. Secret Service.

From 1996-2001, he was a member of President Bill Clinton’s advance team. He traveled as a non-commissioned officer and No. 1 in the group. He also trained agents going out to lead advances. In addition, he has worked fraud and investigative cases, and counter-assault to handle threats and terrorist attacks.

After three years in Dallas, he returned to the Washington D.C. area to be on Vice President Dick Cheney’s detail for two years. In 2008, he was promoted to Special Agent in Charge in Oklahoma City to run an office of 20 agents.

Mackenzie Eason & Associates, headquartered in Fort Worth, is a client-centered executive search and talent management firm, founded by Darien George.

Search firm brings larger pool of candidates

Library leadership: Search firm brings city larger pool of candidates
Rick Mauch FWBP Correspondent
Sep 8, 2017

Everyone knows the popular saying about the third time and charm, and Fort Worth officials are confident they are an example of the aphorism in hiring the city’s new director of libraries, thanks to an adjustment in their search methods.

“We had been disappointed with the results of two previous library director searches,” Assistant City Manager Fernando Costa said. “We had a highly attractive job to offer, but the number and caliber of our candidates hadn’t been commensurate with that opportunity.”

After the previous searches proved disappointing, city officials turned to the firm of Mackenzie Eason & Associates. The city had previously used it in the search for some assistant positions, and now it was time to work with the firm to find the right department head. The result was the hiring of Manya Shorr. Coming from an assistant director’s position in the Washington, D.C., public library system, she succeeded Gleniece Robinson, who retired after leading the Fort Worth Public Library system since 1999.

“Manya Shorr enjoys the respect and admiration of her peers in the library profession who consider her to be among the country’s most thoughtful and innovative library leaders,” Costa said. “She’s a sound manager, a critical thinker and an excellent communicator who will be able to engage our diverse community in creative and effective ways.

“The library world will be changing rapidly in the years ahead, and we believe that Manya is the right person to lead our library system into that future.”

Shorr was the choice out of 148 candidates in a search that covered 89 days. The list was narrowed to 10 finalists and four were interviewed before Shorr was hired.

Darien George, managing partner with Mackenzie Eason, recalled the first time his firm worked with the city.

“Our first search with the city was assistant director of HR [human resources] over talent acquisition and HRIS [human resources information system]. This was an extremely difficult search and we brought a diverse national set of candidates,” George said. That led the city to hire the firm to find candidates for senior accountant positions that had been open for almost two years.

“We filled those so quickly that we then received a MSA [master services agreement] to handle all their executive search. We’ve also done two assistant director of transportation and public works searches, an assistant director of water search, the library director, and we are currently working on the water director search.”

With the library director, a position as a department head, he said some adjustments in the recruiting process were needed. These included

moving the city from a passive approach to actively recruiting candidates, revamping its interviewing and hiring techniques, using new technology in an applicant tracking system, and using assessments on all final candidates.

They also developed a new interview process that featured a one-panel interview, evaluated candidates on an equal playing field to reduce bias, added other interviewing techniques to see a candidate’s potential in the actual job, developed interview questions based on a candidate’s assessments and potential weaknesses, and developed both behavioral and situational questions.

“Mackenzie Eason’s approach was proactive, thorough and thoughtful,” Costa said. “They reached out to prospects who were successful and happy in their jobs, and who weren’t necessarily interested in moving, and persuaded them to consider the possibility of coming to Fort Worth. They conducted detailed interviews and extensive background research for each of the top candidates, and they thoughtfully considered how each candidate’s qualifications might meet our needs.

“Furthermore, knowing that Fort Worth has a distinct culture, they carefully considered how each candidate might fit into our community.”

George said the new approach was “incredibly innovative,” especially for a city government.

“When we first started working with the city, they used the same hiring process that all other municipalities utilize, as well as most private sector companies outside of Fortune 500. The change in hiring process was moving from a passive approach to an active engagement approach,” he said. “Instead of just sending out emails and newsletters and posting positions, we research the top candidates across the nation in both private sector and government, then actively reach out to each and every one of them to pitch the city and the community.

“This new approach has resulted in a much higher level of talent, diversity and new ideas and candidates from the private sector.”

George said businesses can easily apply the same approach when looking for candidates. He said all it takes is an understanding of the implementation of the techniques, which are simple.

“We base all our consulting off our scientifically proven techniques and best practices. We suggest [that] organizations look at implementing these techniques as we’ve seen the talent pool and the perception of the city of Fort Worth increase significantly,” he said.

George said the candidates who weren’t chosen for the library directorship were so impressed with the hiring and interviewing process that they’ve continued to express interest in relocating and working with the city.

“The city of Fort Worth has now positioned itself as an innovative municipality compared to both government and private sector organizations,” he said.

Meanwhile, Costa stressed that the city is happy with both the process and the end result, finding the right candidate, whom he hopes will be around for a long time.

“Fort Worth has been fortunate to have had Dr. Gleniece Robinson as our library director for the past 19 years, and we’re fortunate to have found a successor whom Dr. Robinson enthusiastically endorses,” he said. Shorr was to begin work in Fort Worth in early September.

2017’s New Rules: Hiring the Right people

Hiring the right person

Fort Worth Business Press

August 25, 2017

By: Darien George


Darien George has been in the executive search business since 2001 and leads Mackenzie Eason’s Talent Consulting and Executive Search divisions. He recently took some time out to talk about how companies and organizations should approach hiring employees.

You often say, “Corporate HR people usually are not ‘talent acquisition’ people, but they could be.” Are you suggesting this is a training issue?

Yes, but more importantly it’s a mindset and skill-set issue. In companies outside of Fortune 500, HR tends to be very tactical, which makes sense because the departments are mostly focused on benefits, compensation and HR policy. HR at this level has learned to be tactical and that’s what most companies are willing to pay for.

What we see in many organizations is that their “talent acquisition department” or “recruitment department” is actually just posting a position and waiting for resumes to come in, the “post-and-pray” model. That, by itself, is not recruitment or talent acquisition.

Recruitment involves the process of actively developing a pipeline of top-level talent, attracting them to the organization, then selecting the appropriate candidate. Most organizations are only focused on selecting the right candidate. In reality, they are leaving more than two-thirds of the potential marketplace out of their pipeline by only looking at candidates who are actively looking.

Research shows that the majority of candidates who are actively looking are looking to leave their employer because they are unhappy. And subsequent research shows that the majority of people who are unhappy in their current position will be just as unhappy with their new employer.

We work with the executive team to provide a strategic viewpoint for talent acquisition and talent management, and provide the processes and training to HR so it can easily follow up.

LinkedIn quickly became a huge recruiting opportunity. You’ve said it’s a start, but not the be-all and end-all. What are the highlights and lowlights of recruiting on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn has become social media for business. It’s a great way to connect with people and subsequently has become a great way to recruit people.

The problem with LinkedIn is that most people who use it for recruitment use the “post-and-pray” model. This is no different than Monster, CareerBuilder or Indeed; you are still limiting your potential talent to less than one-third of the market. And most of that online talent isn’t top-tier.

In the talent acquisition/recruitment industry, top talent has to be recruited away because it usually is compensated well and is happy at its current organization. What LinkedIn has done well is build itself as a great connector and you can use it to do quite a bit of research and initial outreach to top-tier talent. LinkedIn puts you within reach of anyone in any industry within a few small connections.

Your bias aside, how do you answer companies that say they can’t afford an executive recruiter?

I say you can’t afford not to hire an executive recruiter. One thing in business that never will change is that great talent that is the right fit for a company drives innovation and profit. In my 17 years of recruitment experience, I’ve never once heard an organization or a CEO tell me that hiring low- or mid-level talent is what made it profitable or better than its competitors.

If you look at the cost of hiring the wrong person, then the cost of finding someone right the first time is extremely inexpensive. A good executive search firm will guarantee a placement for at least a year or it will re-do the search. You’re typically going to find higher level talent through an executive search firm than you would on your own.

That doesn’t mean that you need to use an executive search firm for every search; there are many models that you can implement in-house to develop a talent acquisition program, as well as developing people internally to move into senior level positions. We are a proponent of having a good balance of developing your people internally and occasionally bringing in senior leadership. Research shows that it should be a 70/30 split. Promoting 70 percent of people internally provides an institutional knowledge, culture and stability. Bringing in 30 percent of your senior leadership from the outside provides new ideas, keeps group thinking from taking place and provides innovation.

Recruiters talk about the cost of a hiring mistake. What are the factors that determine those costs?

 There are mountains of research and articles from Harvard Business Review that discuss the cost of hiring the wrong person or hiring a person who leaves within the first year. These estimates range from double the person’s salary to as much as 10 times the person’s salary.

The factors that go into this are time and investment into the candidate that’s just lost, the cost of benefits, the cost of producing the search again, the cost in lower morale and often a disruption in the culture. Many of these costs are hard to quantify, but anyone who has run a business understands that the intangibles are often more costly than the actual dollar amount lost.

I’ve heard countless stories in senior level positions where the wrong person was hired and it caused a major disruption after that person only being there three to six months. I think the biggest issue that organizations don’t keep in mind is not whether someone has a past track record of being a great talent, but are they going to be a great fit with the organization’s culture, core values and vision.

One mistake an organization makes in recruitment is the actual interview process; many organizations follow a process that scientifically has been shown to have zero reflection on whether a candidate will be the right hire. Most hiring managers tend to hire based on gut feeling, though research shows you have zero chance of finding the right hire that way.

Another common problem organizations have is not having a talent philosophy, which guides an organization’s hiring, management of its people and strategy on talent. I always refer to it as the Lighthouse or your North Star. Without it, it’s really easy to get lost.

What do you see as an ideal recruiting process for a company and how big does a company have to be before a process is needed?

I would say that a recruitment process is needed for a company that is as small as four to five people. Every hire is that much more important for a small company than a company the size of IBM. One bad hire could sink a small company; IBM easily can absorb those costs.

The recruitment process doesn’t have to be onerous; the best ones are simple. As long as a company understands the research and science behind what makes a recruitment process successful, then you can easily craft a simple recruitment process. The first step is to develop your organization’s talent philosophy. Then, identify how you’re going to find and develop a pipeline of candidates, develop an interview process, and finally, select the best candidate based on the traits that you’ve previously defined.

Darien George is the managing partner of Mackenzie Eason, has been in the executive search business since 2001 and leads Mackenzie Eason’s Talent Consulting and Executive Search divisions. His focus for every engage¬ment is to understand a company’s culture, core values, vision and long-term goals, and provide it with solutions that are a synergistic match with the organization. He can be reached by e-mail at