Greater Lafayette Commerce has hired a North Carolina search firm to help find its next chief executive officer. Joseph Seaman is planning to retire from the position at the end of the year. May 19, 2014

News Release

LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Greater Lafayette Commerce search committee formed in March to identify, interview and recommend candidates to replace Joseph Seaman, who is retiring as president and chief executive officer at year end, has retained a professional search firm to assist with the task.

“We searched nationally for a firm that would best serve our needs and chose Jorgenson Consulting, a national executive search firm that works exclusively with community and economic development organizations,” said Gary Lehman, Greater Lafayette Commerce board vice chair and search committee chair. “We like the firm's focus, expertise, excellent reputation and successes in finding outstanding candidates.”

The committee hosted Todd Jorgenson, managing director and principal from Jorgenson Consulting's Greensboro, N.C., office, for a two-day visit in the community on May 14 and 15.

“He met with our committee and key stakeholders and toured our community so he could learn about Greater Lafayette and what we seek in a new leader for Greater Lafayette Commerce,” Lehman said.

Because Jorgenson grew up in the Midwest, outside Chicago, he has a sense of the place, and during his visit learned about the uniqueness of the community.

Jorgenson said he was most impressed by the volunteer leadership active in Greater Lafayette Commerce. “That's important to candidates. They want to see volunteer leaders who are engaged in the community and economic development efforts.”

He also cited as positives Purdue University, its involvement in economic development, Greater Lafayette Commerce's organizational structure, and the community's commitment to encouraging entrepreneurs and startups.

“Your community is a wonderful, beautiful place with a high quality of life that has been able to attract domestic and international investments,” he said. “You have an amazing foundation and so much going on.”

He also found the cooperative spirit a plus. “You have two cities and a county that get along and work exceptionally well together. There’s a collaborative environment of elected officials, regardless of political party, who work together for the benefit of your citizens.”

The next step in the search process is to finalize a job profile and search strategy, then launch the search early this summer.

“We will proactively recruit professionals and executives for this opportunity, then present candidates to the search committee,” Jorgenson said.

Lehman, who is chairman of the board of Oerlikon Fairfield and president of Oerlikon USA Holdings Inc., is leading the 13-member search committee that began meeting in early March.

“We are conducting our search with care and diligence, and we have time to do that well because Joe Seaman gave us an extended timeline to find a replacement,” Lehman said.

Members of the search committee from the business community include: JoAnn Brouillette, managing partner and president of Demeter LP; Lisa Decker, vice president of marketing and business development, Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health; Al Gatmaitan, chief executive officer of Indiana University Health Arnett; Gary Henriott, chairman, Henriott Group; Jan Mills, director of economic development, Purdue Research Foundation; and Tim Powers, president of School Datebooks.

Government representatives serving on the site selection committee are: Tom Murtaugh, Tippecanoe County Commissioner; Lafayette mayor Tony Roswarski and economic development director Dennis Carson; West Lafayette mayor John Dennis and director of development Chandler Poole. They are joined by Luis Lewin, vice president for human resources at Purdue University.

About Greater Lafayette Commerce

Headquartered at 337 Columbia St. in Lafayette, Greater Lafayette Commerce (www.greaterlafayettecommerce.com), whose roots go back more than 85 years, is a nonprofit membership organization supported by local businesses, industries and governments. Its mission is to advance economic and community prosperity for a superior quality of life.

Source: Greater Lafayette Commerce

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