Industrial Search Partners Acquires Ference Partners

April 7, 2016 – Industrial Search Partners (ISP) has acquired Ference Partners, a Virginia / metro Washington, D.C.-based recruiting firm founded by Patrick Ference. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Mr. Ference brings over 25 years of corporate leadership and senior executive search expertise focusing on assignments largely in the industrial sector to Industrial Search Partners, where he becomes a managing partner.

“Partnering with Pat will bring a valuable perspective to ISP,” said Jason Ward, Industrial Search founder and managing partner. “As an experienced CHRO, and most recently a successful executive recruiter, Pat brings unique insight and know-how.”

Mr. Ference said the merging of the two search businesses “will enhance ISP’s presence in multiple markets, and broaden the scope of our service and functional specialization in the industrial sector.”

For the past 25 years, Mr. Ference has partnered with CEOs, executive management, and boards as a talent acquisition and leadership solutions advisor. As a former CHRO and chief talent officer, he has assembled and upgraded dozens of leadership teams in over 25 countries through internal selection and external recruiting initiatives.

Prior to entering executive search, Mr. Ference was CHRO for Brady Corporation, and Alpha Natural Resources. In addition to diversified global manufacturing experience, he brings industry specific experience to ISP, including power electrical and electronic products, power / industrial automation, automotive, mining & metals, building products, consumer durable goods, and aerospace / defense.


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Industrial Search Partners specializes in targeted talent acquisition dedicated to industrial manufacturing and services, transportation, supply chain & logistics, aerospace, automotive, and the oil & energy sectors.

“After the excess inventory drawdown over the early part of Q1, business has improved for our manufacturing and logistics clients,” said Mr. Ward. “Board members at our client companies have looked to make talent changes in both commercial and operational roles. This is, in part, due to the headwinds these sectors will encounter in the near and medium term. Interestingly, we’ve seen an increase in demand for CIO and tactical sales positions. Less so for in-house strategic corporate development / M&A.”

Mr. Ference said companies that have made the tough calls over the past two to three years are now looking for leaders with a growth mindset. “But several others still have operational improvement, restructuring and supply chain optimization work to do,” he added. Thus, the talent demands in these two situations are very different.

“From an executive recruiting perspective, I am seeing in-house corporate recruiting teams reaching their maximum effectiveness,” he said. “Therefore, these teams are able to identify their specialized gaps and are now working with boutique firms who can offer a more tailored solution.”

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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