January 7, 2020 – Plano, TX-based executive search firm Top Gun Ventures (TGV) has appointed Wallace Pond as partner and head of the firm’s new executive search practice for education. With this addition, the firm is expanding its search model into education, serving national and international clients out of its Denver, CO, office.
“Top Gun Ventures has always been, and always will be, about recruiting game-changing leaders into our client organizations,” said Don Tuttle, co-founding managing partner. “Based on the current challenges facing higher education and the critical need for dynamic, game changers in post-secondary education, the firm concluded that it was time to bring our very unique approach to executive search to education. Such an effort requires truly distinctive experience and insightful leadership within the firm as well, and we’ve found such a person in Dr. Wallace Pond, whose 30 plus years of experience across every sector of post-secondary and K-12 education, positions TGV to achieve exceptional results for its education clients.”
“Although much of higher education is facing genuine crisis, there has never been more opportunity for innovative and entrepreneurial leaders and institutions than there is now,” said Peter Donovan, co-founding managing partner. “As a thought leader and game changer himself in higher education, Wallace will help clients identify the strategic, new paradigm leaders they need to shift course and meet the contemporary needs of post-secondary institutions and their diverse constituents.”
Dr. Pond has been a mission-driven educator and leader for over 30 years. For the last 20 years, he has been a senior leader in higher education, holding both campus and system level positions overseeing single and large, multi-campus and online institutions of higher education in the U.S. and internationally. He has served as chancellor, president, COO, CEO and chief academic officer, bringing value as a strategic-servant leader. He has held top leadership positions at American Career College, Colorado Technical University, Laureate Education, among others.
Dr. Wallace began his career as a high school teacher and adjunct professor, and spent six years in the elementary and secondary classroom working primarily with at-risk youth. He was also an administrator in the public K-12 and community college systems, and spent another six years as a full-time professor and administrator in the private, not-for-profit higher education sector, working in both on campus and online education. Dr. Wallace also has over 15 years of executive, private sector experience, creating a unique and powerful combination of mission-driven and business focused leadership.
“We are delighted to have someone of Wallace’s background and expertise lead our incredibly important executive search practice for education,” said Mr. Tuttle. “Not only can he play a role in serving clients with their critical leadership needs, he has the experience, insights, and skills to help higher education address its unprecedented systemic challenges.”
Facing Greater Challenges
“Higher education is currently facing greater challenges than at any time since WWII, entering its eighth year of contraction across all sectors, with a substantial number of institutions downsizing, merging, and even closing,” said Dr. Pond. “Part of the solution to surviving and thriving in the current environment is truly unique and dynamic leaders, who are up to the task of operating under hyper-change, complex, and turbulent conditions. In fact, it is the non-traditional search model employed by TGV that brought me to Top Gun as the new education practice head. Only partners, who are each industry experts themselves, handle searches from beginning to end. It is a true concierge model and the results are guaranteed.”
“Executive search in higher education today is not simply about filling leadership vacancies,” Dr. Pond said. “It is about effectively addressing an existential crisis, and that is why I am now in the retained executive search field—leveraging over 30 years of experience to get educational institutions the kinds of leaders they need to not just survive but to thrive and build sustainable futures for all stakeholders.”
Top Gun, established 17 years ago, also has offices in Austin, Boston, Dallas, New York, Palo Alto, Seattle and St. Louis, and reaches throughout the Americas, Asia and Europe. The firm places CEOs and other senior executives with corporate, non-profit, venture capital and private equity clients.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media