What Drives You?

I’ve had the good fortune of a pretty good run in engineering in the greater Detroit automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) environment and tier supply base. Throughout that time, I’ve had the advantage of being part of emerging technological advances in the implementation and refinement of new tools such as CAD, the integration of ERP, digital bucks, and such adaptations as simultaneous and reverse engineering. We now have active safety features, autonomous driving capabilities, coupled with Internet of Things and cloud-based solutions.

We’ve also had the glorious opportunity to participate in the growth of advancements in materials, safety and technology in the application of products used in automobiles, going from essentially nonexistent, to the point at which, for instance, we can expect to walk away from 40 mph crash events.

Remarkable.

All of these advancements, and others, have made my trek from newbie to senior management a rewarding exercise in adaptation, growth and open-mindedness. Yet, I’ve chosen to leave the engineering and management experience in pursuit of new challenges. Why? Some will say I’m a lunatic — and they may not be wrong — but my decision to step into the staffing environment comes not as an impetuous act on my part, but one borne of a deep-seated desire to fundamentally make a difference in people’s lives. The staffing industry singularly offers this opportunity far more meaningfully than other endeavors — unless, of course, you want to include the medical profession where they truly save lives, and affords the side benefit of building relationships either way the wind blows.

As the director of engineering activities at various engineering services firms here in metro Detroit, I was responsible for hiring qualified candidates for key engineering positions. Working directly with the personnel that I chose to hire enabled me to see the difference in people’s lives for whom I had direct responsibility. And, if you’re a manager worth his or her salt, you’ll have more than an understanding of what work they are doing — you’ll know the names of these people’s spouses, sometimes the activities their children are involved in, their hobbies, interests and goals.

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The observation of this impact planted a seed in me, and although I had opportunities for growth and creativity in the engineering world, I wanted more of this success in my life. I walked away from an engineering position at an OEM and took a VP role at a staffing firm whose key compelling argument in recruiting me was offering the ability to not just experience first hand the aforementioned influence, but upped the ante by establishing just how profound and direct my efforts would be on the employees of the organization. I leapt at the opportunity.

The candidates for whom I’ve successfully found employment is indeed rewarding, but the net impact of this success is not recognized in the simple business transaction listed on a balance sheet, or even the gratitude of the consultant and client for whom brokering the relationship was successfully conducted … the real value for me, is meaningful long-term relationships. This breeds success.

I arise each day motivated by the opportunity to make a real and meaningful difference in peoples’ lives leading to long-term relationships. The icing on the cake is the ability to follow and indirectly impact new technologies, advancements, and capabilities that affect not just the automotive industry, but along the lines of all our clients — automotive and otherwise.

What drives you?

MORE: It’s not what you know: How recruiters can embrace the new relationship economy

Dan Stewart

Dan Stewart
Dan Stewart is senior vice president at Excyl, a staffing firm based in Troy, Mich.

Dan Stewart
Dan Stewart is senior vice president at Excyl, a staffing firm based in Troy, Mich.

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