February 4, 2022 – ON Partners recently assisted in the recruitment of Kelly Lavin and Paul Moore, the latest executive team appointments for fast-growing Niche, a company that developed a platform of rankings on schools, colleges, and places to live.
Ms. Lavin becomes the Pittsburgh, PA-based company’s first people officer. Mr. Moore is the new vice president of engineering. Leading the assignment for the search firm were partners Jake Espenlaub and Danny Bolger along with consultant Alex Peters.
The appointments follow a hiring spree by the company in 2021 that increased its employee count by more than half. “I’m thrilled to have Kelly and Paul at the helm of two very robust teams,” said Luke Skurman, Niche’s chief executive officer and founder. “Kelly has been a successful executive at several growth-stage companies, so she will bring key expertise to our people team and the business as a whole. Paul’s deep understanding of marketplaces as well as his experience scaling engineering teams will help strengthen and grow our engineering function. I’m excited to work with each of them to push the company forward.”
Ms. Lavin is charged with crafting Niche’s future strategies and processes relating to talent acquisition and retention as well as leadership development and performance management, among other tasks, said ON Partners. She joins the company with over two decades of experience working in people-focused jobs, most recently coming from a similar post at global talent acquisition software company Jobvite in Indianapolis, IN.
Mr. Moore will lead feature and functionality developments for the platform as well as overseeing the company’s development processes and ensuring Niche’s engineering function is adhering to best practices relating to sustainability and scalability. He spent the past decade at Chevy Chase, MD-based The Knot Worldwide, formerly WeddingWire, where he led engineering that grew from a four-person team to over 50 during his tenure.
In 2021, Niche grew its full-time employee count from 156 workers to 241 workers. It is on pace to have 330 full-time employees on its payroll by the end of 2022.
Founded in 2002 and initially named CollegeProwler by then-Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business students Mr. Skurman and Joey Rahimi, Niche has since evolved from its original form of publishing print guidebooks on U.S. colleges to one that posts online rankings of K-12 schools, colleges, cities, neighborhoods and companies throughout the nation. In April 2020, it raised $35 million in Series C funding led by Radian Capital and with participation from Salesforce Ventures, as well as the company’s existing investors; Allen & Co. LLC and Tim Armstrong.
With a primary focus on technology, consumer, industrial and the life science sectors, ON Partners recruits C-level and board talent for public and private companies, as well as venture capital and private equity firms. Founded in 2006, the firm’s consultants work from offices in Atlanta; Boston; Chicago; Cleveland; Dallas; Menlo Park, CA; Minneapolis; San Francisco; and New York. ON Partners was named one of the fastest growing search firms this year by Hunt Scanlon Media. The firm is now ranked as one of the 20 largest search firms in the nation.
ON Partners Recruits CEO for Sentera
ON Partners recently assisted in the recruitment of Brian Wenngatz as the new CEO of Sentera, a global provider of digital insights to agriculture products manufacturers and distributors, and enterprise food companies. ON Partners consultants Jeff Hocking and Tindall Hein led the assignment. “After an exhaustive search process, the board, the team and I couldn’t be happier to welcome Brian as CEO of the company,” said Eric Taipale, Sentera’s CEO since the company’s founding. “As the Sentera platform continues to expand in user adoption and actionable data collected, we’ve found the perfect leader to further develop customer value, go-to-market and product strategies, and position the organization for scale as the company accelerates its already rapid growth.”
Mr. Espenlaub serves the software, e-commerce, consumer, digital and retail industries. Organizations he serves include public, private equity, and growth equity organizations with a focus on digital transformation. The functions he serves include go-to-market, product, technology, digital and customer experience. Previously, he ran technology the practice at the Benefits Advisory Group.
Mr. Bolger partners with established organizations to modernize and transform their technology infrastructure and collaborates with growth companies across multiple functions to build executive leadership teams. For larger, established organizations, such as Fiserv, Allscripts and Digital Realty, he has proven success in placing CTO, CIO, and senior-level executives. With growth companies, Mr. Bolger has proven success in placing executive leaders across a range of functions including sales, marketing, technology, finance, and engineering. He previously served as talent acquisition manager at PepsiCo.
Mr. Peters is responsible for research and recruitment of candidates across multiple industries and functions, for both public and private companies. He is a graduate of Samford University where he was a double major in economics and international relations and was a D1 student athlete on the basketball team. He joined ON after completing internships with American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) and Sloan Valve.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media