Client Scenario & Strategy: During a 12-year stint with a leading lumber manufacturer, Darnell Jones advanced from Division Plant Manager to Vice President of Engineering and Environmental Affairs. In 2004 the economic slowdown began to impact the company, prompting organizational restructuring.
Determined to maintain control of his career, Darnell voluntarily separated from the company and accepted a position as Vice President of Engineering and Development with a real estate development company. After the housing bubble burst and the credit market contracted, Darnell decided it was time to return to a manufacturing role.
Existing Resume: Darnell’s original resume was a rather typical example of self-developed resumes, as it did not tell the story of his career, nor did it present him as a strong executive with career-long achievements. His resume failed to communicate his considerable contributions in overcoming challenges and achieving growth objectives.
Branding/Unique Skills: Darnell’s primary strengths were his dual talents in production and engineering leadership as well as successes leading turnaround, start-up, and growth initiatives.
During his interview with Colleen, Darnell related that he had transitioned with the company following its spin-off from a multi-billion dollar petroleum company. As a Manufacturing Manager of what was essentially a start-up, his degree of responsibility as advisor to the principals had actually been at the executive level despite his mid-level management title.
In this role, he worked closely with the owners on the IPO and was key in laying the foundation for the company’s high growth in the late 1990s. As his career progressed, he moved into direct leadership roles mapping out and executing critical startup and expansion initiatives.
Development Strategy: As Darnell was transitioning back to his original career track, Colleen knew it was important to position him as a manufacturing executive while also integrating his most recent “off-track” position in real estate development.
In addition to changes in the manufacturing industry, noting that Darnell was recruited into real estate also helped explain his new direction. Since the RE industry was hit hard during the last half of his tenure, the focus was placed on 1) his success prior to the downturn, and 2) his contribution minimizing the impact.
To capture the essence of Darnell’s manufacturing career, it was important to look at the big picture, namely the company history and his early involvement, in order to demonstrate his overall impact from the very beginning.
To that end, the first bullet point encapsulates Darnell’s role in the company’s turnaround/growth. His successes in helping to stop the bleeding in the early years was a critical element in the company’s long-term success.
As he moved into expanding leadership roles, Darnell’s achievements directing capital projects, opening new markets, and implementing improvement initiatives were instrumental in the company’s phenomenal transformation from negative profit margins to a $500 million organization with 800 personnel.
Results: Darnell’s top priority was to find a leadership role with a growing but stable company. He was determined not to repeat his earlier experience of transitioning to a short-term role and resolved to get his career back on track. Darnell had developed many industry contacts through the years, and that network provided several potential opportunities over a four-month search period. A former supplier introduced him to the CEO of a “green” manufacturing firm, and he subsequently accepted a position as Vice President of Environmental Sustainability.