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Frank Carzo - Executive Advisory Council Chair

Frank Carzo has an air that’s gently disarming. He speaks quietly and locks your gaze with his while you speak. With this manner and impeccably tailored suit, it’s easy to picture Carzo making deals of the biggest kind in lofty executive suites with walls of exotic wood. This is exactly what Frank Carzo does as CEO of Carzo Associates, L.L.C., one of the premier executive search firms (www.carzoassociates.com).

This is how it happens; a Carzo client needs to fill an important position. Somewhere a senior-level executive is running a major corporation, minding his or her own business. Then the phone call comes; it’s Frank Carzo. Calls from Carzo are always taken because of his reputation as a straight shooter. Suddenly, faxes fly and earnest phone calls last past sunsets. And then, after interviews, assessments, and intense negotiations, that senior-level executive lands at a Carzo client with an even better deal.

“It’s all timing,” Carzo says. “One day I could call and there’s no way I can interest a candidate in an opportunity. He or she is happy. The next day that same executive could be frustrated with the board, the stock price, or could have just returned from an unproductive meeting. Then it’s time to talk.”

Carzo Associates, L.L.C. works with Oracle Corporation, Northrop Grumman, Federal Mogul, Sun Microsystems Inc, Lucent Technologies and other leading corporations. Incredibly, the firm only takes on between 10 and 15 searches a year. “We focus on senior-level executive searches and we guarantee our clients’ satisfaction. We actually turn down work.” This suits Carzo; the auto enthusiast just ordered a Ferrari from the Italian maker.

When he isn’t out on the racetrack or courting top talent, Carzo chairs the Executive Advisory Council here at the College of Business. Like other EAC members, he was drawn to the CoB because he had a child attending JMU. “My daughter came to JMU and I was really impressed by the community that the university has built. This university nourishes young people from different backgrounds academically and socially. In fact, my son is currently attending the university.” Because Carzo is talented at getting high-level executives to achieve high-level results, it was natural that he became involved with the CoB EAC. “I was with Xerox for 20 years. When I left I was VP of Integrated Systems. During my tenure I was responsible for tracking the career progress of the top 200 executives at Xerox. That’s where I learned how to select the right people and build senior management teams that were successful.” Carzo uses this experience to get the most out of the EAC.

Chatting with Dean Reid recently, Carzo shared his vision for the College and discussed ways the EAC might contribute. “One of our goals is to focus the Council’s energy on projects that will have profound results. I want us to select worthy projects, set goals, and then over achieve the goals. The Recruiters’ Chamber is a project we established this year and I’m pleased with the effort the EAC has made so far.”

“Another goal is to make the Council a real resource for the students – we have to work hard on that. Board members and students benefit from and enjoy the interaction with each other in classroom and business settings. This partnership is what sets this university apart from other programs. All of us want to bring our various expertise from the business world and offer our experiences as lessons for the students.”

Dean Reid says, “One of the things we are planning to do is solicit more feedback from recruiters about our graduates and then use that feedback to create a good solid data source about our graduates as they compare to graduates from other schools.” Carzo responds, “Any one who is connected with this university knows that JMU attracts exceptional individuals. Our Business grads are genuinely good people who are academically well prepared and grounded in the real world. We know our students have a good work ethic. Having real evidence to pinpoint what makes our students successful in the work place will keep us moving in the right direction.”

“Our Council’s strength is found in our diversity of experience and background,” Carzo says. “We have seasoned corporate executives from all over the business world and we have young high potential rainmakers.” With that comment, Carzo begins to employ his trademark voice modulation to indicate his seriousness – the tape recorder barely picks him up over the hum of the air coming from vents. “Most of us fell in love with JMU while our children were students. What passes between students and faculty here is rare. I want to preserve that James Madison University legacy.”
The Executive Advisory Council meets twice a year, in November and April. Carzo Associates L.L.C is located in downtown Washington, D.C.