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Executive Search
Approach to Executive Searches

Our approach to conducting executive searches is a simple one. We want to find the best fit for your organization. This is accomplished by listening to what you are saying and building the entire search process off that foundation. We strive to gather a significant amount of background information so, when the elected body ultimately approves moving forward with the search, we will have fully encapsulated your expectations.

We then extensively advertise the position and make sure the posting gets into the hands of prospective candidates in Minnesota, neighboring states, and nationwide. In some cases, those persons are not active job seekers, but we will find those folks as well through direct outreach efforts. Our company has provided services throughout Minnesota for over 20 years, and our knowledge of prospective candidates is vast. 

After the posting closes, an analysis of candidates will be completed, and each of the top 10 or so candidates will be assigned a video interview and personality index. Prior to selecting finalists to interview, the elected body will view the video interviews, review the personality index report, and review all application materials. Having access to comprehensive information prior to selecting finalists ensures the elected body will choose people to interview that most closely align with the organization.

Once finalists are determined, we complete a comprehensive background study that includes criminal history, civil court history, credit history, motor vehicle records, and other items. In addition, employment and educational credentials are independently verified. We also conduct comprehensive employment reference checking on all finalists prior to final interviews. This approach ensures the elected body has all the all the necessary information to decide on the best organizational fit.

The interview process is customized for each search. Typical interview components include leadership staff interviews, tours, a public community event, the final elected body interview, as well as other components the elected body wishes to include.

This process has consistently led to clients finding the right organizational fit.

Service Team

Gary Weiers

Gary Weiers leads our service team. Since joining DDA, Gary has completed over 50 executive searches, mostly in greater Minnesota. Recently, search services were expanded into Wisconsin as well. Prior to joining DDA, Gary served as the Rice County Administrator for over 10 years which included overall management of the County’s human resource services. Prior to being a County Administrator, he was a department head for four years and a mid-level supervisor for over six years.

Throughout his career, Gary has worked closely with local government elected officials on a daily basis. As a result, he understands the needs and wants of local government leaders and will approach each search process with those considerations in mind. Gary understands this is a very important decision for elected officials, and he will honor and respect their objectives throughout the search. 


Liza Donabauer

Like all DDA HR consultants, Liza has a background in Public Administration at both the city and county level, most recently in Kansas and Minnesota. Liza worked in Wright County providing administrative support to the Commissioners, Coordinator, and Human Resources Department. This path led her into city management for Clearwater, Kansas, and Arlington, Minnesota. During her four years as City Administrator in Arlington, Liza completed a reorganization of the administration department, developed an orientation and capital planning process for two new Councils, conducted compensation studies for several departments, and engaged in a strategic planning session. 

Liza received her MBA with an emphasis in Public Administration from the College of St. Scholastica. 

Mark Casey
Mark recently joined DDA HR as a Management Consultant specializing in executive searches, strategic planning, and organizational consulting in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. In his thirty-three years of public service, Mark has served as the City Manager for the City of St. Anthony Village, City Administrator for the City of Annandale, and Director of Community Education for both the Annandale and Maple Lake school districts. He also worked for the Cities of Faribault, Saint Peter, and Columbia Heights. 

Mark received his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota and a master's degree from St. Cloud State University. He has served on numerous boards and commissions including the League of Minnesota Cities, Metro Cities (President), Metro Area Management Association, and the Allina Hospital Board of Directors (Buffalo, MN), and has been a frequent guest lecturer at the University of Minnesota, Hamline University, and Metro State University.

Pat Melvin

Pat joined DDA HR as a Management Consultant specializing in Executive Search Services. He has a Government and Management Degree from Saint John's University and a Public Administration and Urban Regional Studies master's degree from the University of Minnesota - Mankato which he earned while working for the City of Edina, Minnesota. He grew from being the Special Projects Administrator in Wright County to become the Administrator in McLeod County and has city experience serving as City Administrator in the cities of Arlington and Minnetonka Beach.


While working in county and city government, Pat has been involved in numerous aspects of local government including policy development, budgeting, human resources including recruitment, payroll, benefits, and workplace investigations, capital improvement plans, contract negotiations, grievance settlements, and managed a group self insured health insurance plan. Pat enjoys working with a team of individuals to establish goals, address concerns, and build upon success.

Liz Foster

Since joining DDA in 2015, Liz has been involved in numerous executive searches and other HR related projects. Some of Liz’s duties include community research, creating position profiles, assembling interview materials for our clients, and providing general administrative support to our consultants. Liz is an Assistant Consultant that provides support and assistance throughout our Human Resources Division.

"Gary Weiers has done a fantastic job for us.  He communicated with us throughout the process and kept it moving forward.  Gary fit in with our culture immediately and helped make this very important process fun."


     - Steve Stotko, Mayor City of Winsted


Human Resources, Inc.

a David Drown Associates Company

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