Recruiting Challenges: Keeping This Client’s HR Team Shipshape

“Our collective success is due to how well Jim is able to handle so many kinds of people. He puts everyone at ease and is clearly there to help.”

Michael Giantomaso, VP of Human Resources at Philly Shipyard, recognizes the extraordinary value that Jim Geier brings to the table. “He knows his business. He’s credible and has a good work ethic.”

Take a look at how the Shipyard leverages Jim’s Executive Recruiting process and Coaching expertise.


Since delivering its first vessel in 2003, Philly Shipyard has become one of the leading U.S. commercial shipyards, constructing and delivering more than 50% of all Jones Act ocean-going merchant ships—including containerships, product tankers, and large crude oil tankers. To meet such formidable demands, Philly Shipyard employs over 1,100 people, many of whom hold specialized positions.

Finding qualified candidates to fill these roles can be challenging. Michael explains, “Finding the skills we need in the Philadelphia region has been challenging—we even brought in shipbuilders from Europe to train local workers. Even more important is retaining and promoting our best employees.” That’s why, for the last 15 years, Michael has relied on the expertise of Jim Geier, President of HCC Partners, to keep his ship afloat.

Jim has been integral to Philly Shipyard’s recruiting efforts. They were replacing their paint manager—a search Jim expanded globally to fill. He worked closely with the direct supervisor and other managers to make sure he could find not only qualified, but also ‘best fit’ candidates. Most recently, Jim recruited an excellent replacement for the company’s training manager. Reflecting on the process, Michael explains, “Jim makes sure he gives you enough people to select from and is also honest if you need to go in a slightly different direction.” Jim has also filled several positions for their Health, Safety, and Environmental department, including the Director.

“Jim understands our culture extremely well; he truly knows who would be the best fit. He also does much of our reference checking. I have complete confidence that I could make any job offer based on Jim’s opinion.”

Jim’s people expertise has been applied across the company. The majority of Philly Shipyard’s management team is drawn from its worker population. The transition to management is critical, as former ‘workers’ learn the people aspect of their new roles. As Michael explains, “To move this process along, we needed an outside coach. Jim became the mentor for our VP of Production, observing him in meetings and providing frequent feedback to both him and his boss. This VP is responsible for 600 employees, so he had to develop and nurture relationship with all of the department. The resulting success, in large part, is because of Jim.”

Jim has become an integral part of the business throughout the last decade and a half. “I consider Jim to be an extension of our HR department. We can pull Jim into many areas of need – recruiting, development plans, and coaching – pretty much anything that our HR department needs. If a difficult position needs to be filled, we know Jim can handle it.”

About HCC Partners Executive Search Practice

HCC Partners offers full-service retained search for C-level and other key positions in your organization. We apply a systematic approach—including discovery, candidate identification, and on-boarding—assuring the best possible outcome for both the company and the new employee. Once your ideal candidate is hired, we stay with them during the first 90 days by providing one-to-one coaching sessions, goals and objectives planning assistance, and a leadership skills assessment.


To learn more about how HCC Partners can help support your team,  contact Jim Geier, Founder at 215.244.8110 or jim.geier@hccpartners.com.

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