NorthWind Partners Recruits CTO for Emergency Communications Network

December 18, 2015 – NorthWind Partners, a boutique search firm focused on recruiting talent for the private equity sector, has placed Michael Ely as chief technology officer of the Emergency Communications Network (ECN).

Managing partner Mark HuYoung, who leads the firm’s private equity practice, along with Patrick Gray — partner and aerospace, defense and industrial sector practice leader — and Hunter Murray, partner and managing director, led the search assignment.

Mr. Ely recently served as vice president of technology at Aspect Software. Before that, he was a director with Aspect Software, where he was technical lead of its unified communications initiatives, coordinating the company’s top architects responsible for developing and researching new technologies, executing corporate product strategies and leading the architecture roadmap across multiple products.

Emergency Communications Network (ECN) provides Software as a Service (SaaS) technology to public safety officials across the U.S. and Canada as a cost-effective, forward-thinking approach to community notification. Its clients use ECN’s technology to deliver voice, text, email, social media and mobile app messages.

NorthWind Partners concentrates on recruiting executives for business & professional services, systems, solutions, and product companies spanning the aviation, aerospace and defense, healthcare, industrial, and technology sectors. Just recently, the firm recruited David E. Kopf as president of Anaren’s Space & Defense Group as well as Deborah Ricci as chief financial officer of Centerra Group.

The tech market remains highly competitive. Newly-named CTOs have been cropping up in a range of recent corporate hirings, from industrial giant GE to data management company NetApp to non-profits like the Museum of Modern Art — they all have named chief technology officers in the last few months.

“Increasingly, our clients are choosing to buy solutions and customers in a desired market rather than build and grow incrementally,” said Mr. Murray. “They need CTOs who can juggle the pre-deal diligence around acquisitions, drive innovation within the existing product set and lead the integration of products and teams following an acquisition. CEOs and Boards are evaluating whether their current CTO can perform those functions and scale.”

Hillary Rodham Clinton recently hired a longtime Google technology executive to serve as CTO to oversee her presidential campaign’s technology development. Aside from keeping close tabs on Mrs. Clinton’s server activities, CTO Stephanie Hannon has been tasked with overseeing a team of engineers and developers to devise web sites, apps and other tools for the former Secretary of State and her staff to engage with supporters and voters.

Ross Freeman, CEO of executive search firm 680 Partners, said the importance of CTOs in today’s business environment cannot be overstated. “As companies shift structures, we will see more senior people in the CIO/CTO organizations taking on significant business decisions,” he said.

This will require executive recruiters to look at a candidate’s leadership and management skills as well as top knowledge of modern technology. “If a company of any size or type does not have someone at the top thinking about how technology impacts their overall business strategy then over time they will no longer be competitive in the market,” he said.

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

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