May 10, 2016 – Executive search firm AGB Search has been selected by the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation to lead the search for its first chief executive officer. The search is being led by AGB Search consultant Dr. Vance T. Peterson.
The T.R. Library CEO will lead the creation, funding, building, and operation of a new presidential library honoring the 26th U.S. president.
The incumbent will report to foundation chairman Dr. Bruce Pitts in collaboration with Clay Jenkinson and will provide leadership to a permanent and contract staff expected ultimately to grow to some 25 to 46 individuals organized into five teams: executive; digital experience; educational enrichment; museum experience; and an outreach team.
It is expected that the CEO will take the lead in fundraising, including managing internal and external relationships to establish a broad network of stakeholders committed to the success of the project. CEO leadership, under direction of the board, also will be devoted to building the Foundation from the ground up as a successful, operating non-profit corporation. Working with staff and outside consultants, the incoming leader will bear responsibility for the library’s planning and construction, which is envisioned to open in 2019 to coincide with the centennial of Theodore Roosevelt’s death.
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Ideal candidate nominees will bring 10 or more years of prior success in executive leadership roles as a college or university president or vice president for advancement, foundation president, or leader of a major cultural, civic, or business organization. He or she will also have demonstrated an ability to manage a staff team, work closely with a board of trustees or equivalent volunteer governing organization, participate comfortably within the legislative arena, and engage a broad range of stakeholders.
The new library and museum will be built near the gateway to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the city of Dickinson, ND. It is expected to become both a center for scholarship and a new visitor magnet of the upper Great Plains.
Dan Bradbury, managing partner with Bradbury Associates / Miller Associates, a search firm that specializes in director and executive level recruiting mandates for libraries, said that finding leaders for venerable systems “is always a challenge because the positions take such a mixed skill set, including leadership, technological vision, political & fundraising abilities — and a tremendous passion for both the historical role of books and libraries and the belief that these institutions can transform lives and build even better communities.” He said this particular post “will be an amazing opportunity for the right person.” About 80 percent of Mr. Bradbury’s search work is for public libraries, though it also conducts searches for state libraries, library networks or consortia, and academic libraries.
Like most other sectors, libraries are anticipating high turnover as aging baby boomers continue their migration into retirement. A recent American Library Association study projected that 28 percent of U.S.-based working librarians are expected to retire by 2020. This particular posting, based in North Dakota, adds an additional layer of difficulty to the search, said recruiters not involved in the assignment.
AGB Search, which focuses exclusively on higher education leadership, conducts executive searches for college and university presidents, chancellors, provosts, vice presidents, deans, university system heads, and CEOs of coordinating boards and related foundations. The firm has recently placed presidents at Sierra Nevada College, Western Connecticut State University and the University of the District of Columbia.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media