by Joe Metts
Marketing Associate at Charles Aris Inc.
As an organization that thrives thanks to the strength of its people, Charles Aris Inc. is proud to highlight its outstanding team members. In our new Spotlight series, we look into the lives, experiences and expertise of Charles Aris all-stars in an effort to share more about who we are individually and collectively.
How does a professional jet skier transform into a leading executive recruiter? How does a person with zero interest in team sports become one of the best teammates in an organization? And how, exactly, does someone with no medical background earn the moniker “The Doctor”?
These are all fair questions – ones which make little to no sense at face value but, when combined, aptly describe a unique member of the Charles Aris family, Ryan Krumroy.
A 10-year veteran of the organization, Ryan has more than solidified his place as an organizational all-star. Serving as the go-to senior associate recruiter for the firm’s Private Equity Portfolio practice, he pursues his professional passion for finding senior leaders for portfolio businesses in highly diversified industry segments.
In the beginning
Ryan arrived at Charles Aris Inc. as a budding associate recruiter in May 2006. It wasn’t until the fall of 2008, however, that he had the opportunity to work alongside practice leader Jim Etling, a former CFO who has led the firm’s Private Equity Portfolio and Finance & Accounting practices since 2007.
“When I started in 2006, no one really had specific industries they recruited for,” Ryan said. “I was taking on client searches looking for everyone from operational leaders to finance executives, plant managers, really everything all over the map. In 2008, I worked with Jim on a search for [Charles Aris CEO] Chad Oakley, and had a great experience. Fast-forward a few years: Jim gives me the opportunity to serve as his right-hand man.”
With the big picture ever in mind, Ryan was willing to enter the volatile space of private equity and diligently work toward becoming a cornerstone of Jim’s Private Equity Portfolio recruiting practice.
“I enjoyed C-suite searches, and Jim and I complemented each other’s styles so well that I thought it would be a great fit,” Ryan said.
That’s a sentiment Jim echoes wholeheartedly.
“What we do is match the best talent with the right role,” said Jim, who is now a senior vice president at the firm. “Understanding what that means and how to implement it is one of Ryan’s major strengths.”
A master of meaningful conversations
Ryan has since developed an executive recruiting approach driven by his dedicated attention to candidate identification and engagement; his ability to provide accurate market insights to clients and candidates alike; and his knack for effectively positioning a search within a targeted marketplace.
This approach has enabled Ryan to become an invaluable asset for client organizations, according to Jim.
“Ryan is truly one of the best at what he does in the entire industry,” Jim said. “He has an uncanny ability to identify, grasp and internalize the critical points about a client opportunity, then translate that into meaningful conversations with candidates about those critical points.”
As a senior associate recruiter known for taking on fewer search projects at a time so that he can play to his strength of intense focus on each, Ryan understands that lower volume comes with higher pressure to fulfill those select searches.
“You have a lot of eggs in the same basket,” Ryan said. “In private equity portfolio companies, you’re dealing with atypical situations more often than not, so an ability to plan your search strategy and budget your time well individually becomes very important.”
It helps to know that going in as an executive recruiter, of course, but navigating such unusual circumstances while seeking to attract A-players is another thing entirely. It is this precise skill that has earned Ryan the nickname “The Doctor” among Charles Aris colleagues – an ode to his ability to help optimize P.E. investment strategies by placing top talent in mission-critical roles.
A knack for constant contact
While not technically deemed a sales function, executive search hinges on a recruiter’s ability to effectively communicate a client’s opportunity to potential candidates for the role. As it turns out, this is a skill Ryan honed from a young age.
Effective communication just seemed to come naturally, as Ryan served as his youth swim team’s best fund-raiser; handled a role as a telemarketer; spent a summer selling motorcycles; secured corporate sponsorships to compete on Jet Skiing’s Budweiser Pro Tour; and worked eight years with Enterprise Rent-A-Car before landing on the team at Charles Aris.
“I’ve never had any problem picking up the phone and calling someone,” Ryan said. “I enjoy speaking to people and like trying to accomplish something while doing it. I have a very strong competitive nature and don’t lose sleep over a spirited conversation.”
How did this ability evolve?
“I don’t find myself getting offended over disagreements,” he explained. “My dad is a strong personality who did a lot of sales and public speaking while I was growing up. That gave me a foundation and appreciation for the art of persuasion. I enjoy this role because it motivates you to perform and lets me talk with people all over the country every day.”
The need for speed
After spending the first years of his life in Michigan, Ryan moved with his family to Greensboro, North Carolina at the age of 5. He quickly became a thrill seeker, taking to martial arts, skateboarding and remote-control car racing in his youth.
While attending Grimsley High School, Ryan discovered a passion for Jet Skiing.
“I really enjoyed racing stuff,” he said. “I swam for a few years, raced RC cars, loved to skateboard. So when Jet Skis came onto the scene, there were commercials and ESPN spots, and it was a big deal to me.”
He soon acquired his first machine and began his racing career by competing in a variety of regional competitions, eventually qualifying for the world finals as a novice professional on the sport’s Budweiser Pro Tour. The circuit offered him the opportunity to see 45 of the United States while presenting him with the challenge of financing his racing career.
The natural salesperson acquired 15 corporate sponsors independently.
“With these sponsorships came the need to get these sponsors some kind of return, whether it was a TV spot, race footage, some form of company visibility,” Ryan said. “It was important to hold up my end of the deal.”
It all comes together
Along the same timeline as his professional racing career, Ryan began a new chapter of his life at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. As a third-year student, the sociology major met Tracey, the love of his life, in an InterVarsity Christian Fellowship meeting. The couple became engaged two years later and married in February 2000.
Following his graduation from UNC Greensboro, Ryan accepted an offer to enter the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Management Training Program. He and Tracey chose to leave their Winston-Salem, North Carolina home and relocate to Albany, New York, where Ryan continued to advance through the organization’s trainee system.
“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit; I like to have a decent amount of control over projects,” he said. “With Enterprise, it taught me how to manage an office, manage employees and customers, and it teaches you how to de-escalate conflict. It requires you to develop a sales ability and become adaptable in constantly varying environments.”
After returning to North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad region in 2006, Ryan began to apply those skills as a member of the Charles Aris executive recruiting team. Since emerging as one of the firm’s strongest recruiters, he has served as a mentor for a variety of up-and-coming associate recruiters.
“Ryan is a dynamic individual,” said Jacob Watkins, whom Ryan has mentored in his role as an associate recruiter. “He brings a natural sense of energy and joy to the workplace.”
For his part, Ryan enjoys engaging with Charles Aris newcomers and sharing best practices with them.
“When we were a smaller firm, it was easy to get visibility and learn people’s styles,” he said. “As we grew [from 15 to 50 team members], we lost that level of proximity, so the mentor program became very important to give people someone to share ideas with and understand objectives.”
With a sincere desire to develop meaningful connections in the workplace and beyond, Ryan continues to believe in the mentor program’s mission.
“It allows you to build relationships and find out where a person can make contributions,” he said. “It’s a great way to accelerate someone’s probability of success within the company.”
Watkins sees that approach in Ryan – and sees the resulting progress in his own professional development.
“To have Ryan as a mentor has been an invaluable component of my success at the firm,” Jacob said. “He has provided me with counsel and guidance, fostering my development professionally and personally.”
First things first
It’s difficult for some colleagues to believe that Ryan, the consummate teammate, has participated in but never really taken to team sports.
“I love small-team orientation where I can play a larger role in the outcome of something; in large teams, everyone does the same thing,” he said. “I like the art of personalization, getting to the truth. I think that’s why Charles Aris has been such a great fit.”
In the office, Ryan Krumroy is a workplace warrior. He performs his recruiting duties as a focused producer, able to effectively recognize and place top talent in mission-critical roles for client organizations. Beyond the firm, he is even more of what veteran colleagues, friends and family already know: one of the most down-to-earth, genuine people you’ll ever encounter.
A decade with the firm and three children later, Ryan the productive senior associate recruiter and Ryan the lovable family man are still going strong.
“I love my kids,” he said. “My family is the reason I do this and the reason that some days end up being a lot longer than others.”
Whether expertly connecting clients to candidates, spending a day with family in the great outdoors, working in an exercise routine or taking the weekly trip to a local farmer’s market, Ryan Krumroy is a walking, talking illustration of a genuine professional dedicated to his craft and the good life for those around him.
“If I had to give people one good piece of advice, it would be: Work hard, play fair, try your best, and keep a good spirit about yourself.”
Sage advice from The Doctor.