Securing Top Talent is Key to Unlocking Global Potential

Securing Top Talent is Key to Unlocking Global Potential
Client Success Story

The U.S. federal government has set a goal of 100% clean electricity in 2035 and a net-zero carbon economy in 2050. All forms of renewable energy, including wind power, will play an important part in achieving these ambitious targets. To achieve this ambitious goal, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the biggest changes in over a decade to how U.S. power lines are planned and funded. This move could make it easier to add wind and solar power.

Amara NZero is a dynamic company headquartered in Spain driven by an unwavering commitment to deliver the global energy transition. They partner with major industry players to provide tailored solutions that align with the core principles of decarbonization, electrification, and digitalization. By collaborating closely with their clients, Amara NZero aims to add tangible value and address their evolving needs in the journey towards a greener future with the ambitious aim of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

The recent financial backing from a UK-based private equity firm Cinven has propelled Amara NZero’s global expansion efforts. Although they already operate in the US across various renewable energy segments, until recently, they had no wind energy presence there.

Rupert Haffenden, Head of Sector – Renewable Energy & Cleantech and Associate Director at Pacific International, explained: “Amara NZero is on a mission to monetize the favorable US market conditions and step-change its wind business growth while fulfilling its vision for a sustainable future. The right talent, particularly an effective commercial team, is crucial to achieving their objectives and ambitious targets.

“Given Pacific International’s reputation within the renewable energy industry as a premier executive talent partner, our track record of building successful sales and commercial teams, and our effective scaling of Amara’s operations in Europe, the client retained Pacific International Executive Search to build its entire team of Key Account Managers covering the East, Midwest, and West Regions. Projects of that scale are very challenging but at the same time provide an opportunity to build a cohesive team that can grow and develop together over time.

“We were very excited to assist Amara with this project and were looking forward to the opportunity for the London team to collaborate with our Philadelphia colleagues on this renewable energy executive search mandate,” added Rupert.

The Challenge

Ellie LaFountain, Client Partner and the lead Consultant on this project gives some context to the project: “Amara NZero specializes in supplying spare parts and repair components for specific wind turbines and wind farms. They serve as a crucial link in the supply chain, distributing items from their warehouses located in Houston. Essentially, they are a service provider, facilitating the smooth operation of wind energy infrastructure.”

As Rupert mentioned, Pacific worked with Amara before and helped them scale their European reach. When the US emerged as a top priority for them due to the significant untapped potential, Pablo Pérez-Bedmar Fernández, Group Business Development Director at Amara reached out to Pacific, realizing the urgent need to assemble an exceptional team.

Pacific would also work closely with Boaz Soifer, the newly appointed CEO for the US, who only just started his role in November. With limited time for onboarding, it was imperative to rapidly but diligently source quality candidates with proven experience. They entrusted Pacific with this task thanks to our history together and our deep understanding of their company’s culture. Drawing from our expertise in filling various sales roles across the US, they relied on us to expedite the process while ensuring the selection of top-tier candidates.

Ellie explained: “The challenge we initially faced was that Amara NZero’s brand was new to the U.S. market, so the primary task was to educate potential candidates about who they were and explain the narrative behind their mission.

“To tackle this, we needed to effectively communicate and introduce the brand. We produced a video interview with Boaz, the new CEO, where he discussed his reasons for joining the company, what he found exciting about it, and his vision for the company. The main goal was to ensure that people not only recognized the brand but also understood the career opportunity, the company’s growth objectives, and potential challenges.

“Another challenge arose from the fact that we were tasked with putting together a brand-new team for Amara. It was crucial that this team not only aligned with Amara’s core values but also functioned cohesively, despite working remotely and only meeting in person for a monthly team meeting in Houston, at trade fairs, or an occasional visit to the Spanish HQ. Our goal was to establish a strong U.S. presence for the company, which meant the team needed to encapsulate the U.S. business identity.

“Since many of our stakeholders were also relatively new, we worked closely with them to precisely determine what qualities and skills were required for each role. To ensure we found the best fit for both the roles and the company culture, we presented a range of candidates. These candidates varied widely in their experience, how long they had been with their previous organizations, and their industry backgrounds. This approach allowed us to provide a wide array of options and ultimately select candidates who would not only meet the company’s needs but also thrive in the long term,” Ellie added.

A significant aspect of their role involves being comfortable with autonomy and entrepreneurial spirit. Each member is expected to manage their territory as if it were their own business, making decisions and driving growth with minimal oversight because they are considered the experts in their area.

While support is available from Guillermo Beltran, Director General Wind, in Spain, the fact remains that he is not based in the U.S. Therefore, the team members need to demonstrate that they can handle their responsibilities and flourish with limited guidance, leveraging their expertise to establish themselves from the ground up.

The Solution

With insights gained from an intake call with Boaz, Guillermo, and Pablo the Pacific team compiled a targeted list of companies in the wind industry and other complimentary sectors.

The research team then methodically mapped out these organizations to identify their top commercial talent gathering information on renumerations, locations, and career drivers while spreading awareness of Amara’s brand. They also spoke to their referral network to understand the different organizations—how they operate, the structure of their departments, and their strategic approaches.

They specifically looked for candidates who had experience in both large, structured organizations and were also comfortable in a more dynamic, startup environment. This dual focus helped Pacific’s team to engage in numerous valuable discussions within the industry, allowing them to present candidates who were not only skilled but also adaptable to varying business scales and cultures.

Ellie commented: “We were very deliberate about engaging with candidates who had a broad range of experiences, encompassing various industries, company sizes, and roles. This approach ensured that we considered individuals who brought a variety of perspectives and skills. We focused on those who demonstrated versatility through their experience across different types of organizations.

“As executive search professionals, we’ve learned a great deal through our conversations with candidates and gained insights into different organizations and their structures. This kind of intelligence is priceless for our clients. We provided them with weekly updates, documenting the candidates and organizations we targeted, understanding their compensation and travel expectations, and more. They remained open-minded and the process moved swiftly, allowing each candidate to interact with multiple stakeholders in the business,” added Ellie.

Amara greatly valued the market insights Pacific shared, which ultimately led to the creation of a third position. This decision was influenced by recognizing available talent not just on the East and West Coasts, but also from candidates and referrals coming from the Midwest and South. The strategy effectively demonstrated the market landscape and the specific needs of candidates in this sector, affirming that it was an opportune moment to open up this new role.

Rupert added: “The flexibility and responsiveness of our client to seize this opportunity also underscores their readiness to secure top talent across the expansive U.S. market, ensuring that no potential candidates were overlooked. This proactive approach has been essential in helping them capture and capitalize on these opportunities.”

The Result

The project required coordinating across multiple time zones: two stakeholders were in Spain, and one was in New Mexico (Mountain Time). However, the investment in the success of this project was evident from both sides: our clients often joined calls as early as 5:00 AM, and Pacific’s team joined calls as late as 8:00 or 9:00 PM their time. It was a concerted effort—truly all hands on deck—highlighting the priority and commitment of everyone involved.

Ellie commented: “Another potential challenge was the preference for face-to-face meetings, which required candidates to be highly flexible and able to travel to Houston with little notice. This need for agility could have been a hurdle, but our candidates rose to the occasion, showing great adaptability and determination to join Amara on the growth journey.”

Rupert added: “Two candidates started their new roles on January 2nd. Their collective excitement about the opportunity turned potential obstacles into a shared, positive start to their careers. This demonstrated that our thorough understanding of the candidates’ personalities and professional styles ensured they were not just ready but eager to embrace these new roles together.”

Annie Boele, Key Account Manager (Wind) West Coast at Amara, commented: “I would highly recommend Pacific International as a renewable energy executive search firm. The team has been professional and among the best recruiters, I have worked with. Their communication, transparency, and support from the beginning of the process until now have been excellent. I think your team’s friendliness, awareness, and supportiveness, and being able to have everyone on the same page on a global scale was just really amazing, the entire process and relationship I have with the team feels both personal and professional and I like this kind of relationship.

“I’m enjoying working with the Amara team – KJ, Fred, and I all work well together and we all are enjoying everything we are doing to help grow Amara. We all communicate well and sort of complement each other with our strengths and work to fill in those gaps for each other quite well,” added Annie.

Fredrick Brooks, Key Account Manager (Wind) Midwest at Amara, added: “I would highly recommend Pacific International. The team made the process of saying yes to Amara easy and helped me to be prepared every step of the way. My role today is going well and I already won the biggest purchase order in Amara’s history, so I think the stars and the energy and everything is aligning very well for Amara, me, and the rest of the team.”

Kristjon “KJ” Luetgers, Key Account Manager (Wind) Eastern Region at Amara NZero, remarked: “Working with Pacific International was an excellent experience. I knew I needed a change, but I wasn’t quite sure what that change would look like or who I wanted to work with. You arrived at the perfect moment with the right opportunity at the right organization, one that holds the right values. This applies not only to the role with Amara but also to the alignment I felt working with Pacific International, which made everything feel more natural.

“The Pacific team did a phenomenal job. Their knowledge and diligence in understanding my experience and what matters to me, along with transparency and support throughout the process, were outstanding. They made the process seamless and the transition much easier. I’m thrilled that my technical skills are being put to good use and excited about how the organization has shaped my role to maximize my skills while also benefiting the organization,” added KJ.

Ongoing Partnership

Rupert explained: ” We received exceptionally positive feedback from our client. Our intake call on November 2nd set the stage, and by January 2nd, just eight weeks later, we had successfully placed two candidates in their new roles. This rapid turnaround in filling the positions was truly remarkable and resulted in securing another search with the client. In February, we had the pleasure of meeting with the client and the two candidates in person in Madrid during the GENERA Energy and Environment International Trade Show.

“That same week, we successfully filled another role—a third Key Account Manager. This surge of activity and successful placements has made the future look incredibly promising, or as Amara NZero would say, ‘very green.'”

“Pacific’s relationship with Amara has since strengthened, and we’ve established connections with other leaders in the U.S., exploring further opportunities to support the company. Additionally, we’re now engaged in recruiting for several new positions in France, excited to continue supporting Amara’s growth not only in the U.S. but globally as they expand,” added Rupert.

Boaz Soifer, Chief Executive Officer – USA at Amara NZero, commented: “The team at Pacific International was a great fit for building out our US Wind business. Ellie and her colleagues were responsive and professional, keeping us updated as the candidate pool was developed and screened and supporting offers and negotiations. They were also flexible – since the business was nascent, our idea for the team evolved during the hiring process, and Pacific stayed in lockstep with us through the changes. Most importantly, they had the right combination of knowing the market and being willing to learn, so they could deliver value on day one and understand our needs more thoroughly as the process progressed. I look forward to working with Pacific International Executive Search again in the future!”

For a confidential chat about how Pacific International can assist you with your Cleantech and Renewable Energy Talent Acquisitions and Diversity challenges, please contact Rupert Haffenden or one of our Executive Search Consultants specialising in your sector.