Perhaps unexpected with the healthcare crisis, our Technology + Life Science Practice doubled in 2020, and we are on track to repeat this performance in 2021. By the end of May, my team had closed the first five months of 2021 at a revenue higher than all of 2020. In response, we’ve recently added two key members to the Technology+ Life Sciences practice: Jessica Combs, my trusted Senior Recruiting Partner who is one of our most seasoned recruiters, and Susan Reid, my Director of Business Development, to help keep our strength and momentum with our clients.

Thanks to our Lean Six Sigma process, our speed is improving in conjunction with our increased active searches. Our time to fill at the end of 2019 was just 79 days on average – fast by retained search standards. In 2020, our average time to fill was less than 59 days. In large part, this is due to our clients working faster through the usual delays in the interview process, but it also reflects the streamlined hiring process we’ve developed to lock the best candidates into new roles at a faster rate. Our practice also went global again this year with roles in Singapore, Copenhagen, and Paris in addition to Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco, Menlo Park, Coeur d’Alene, and all over Orange County.

Why is business so hot right now? A few things we are seeing:


Many of our CEO and board contacts had identified needs for their businesses that have been on hold through the uncertainty of the past 18 With optimism rising, it’s time to fill those roles.


The pandemic forced us all to be more innovative. Creativity and imagination are highly sought-after skills in senior leaders to serve the changing needs of customers.


After a long time with little to no spending — on everything from consumer goods to vacation travel — a lot of that money is being added to the coffers of private equity and venture capital firms with the expectation of new investments. Since it’s now easier to raise money, companies are spending to expand their talent pool and accommodate new initiatives. 


As the requirements to be present in the office wane, senior leaders have had an early taste of what retirement might look like. While some are choosing better work-life balance, or are simply working differently, many decided to move on to a new situation or dream gig, leaving vacancies in key roles.

Our interim leaders business has never been more active. We parachute in senior executives to help companies deal with short-term challenges, like M+A deals, ERP implementations, operational challenges, and more. As businesses continue to adapt to the new environment, experienced leaders are in high demand for these short-term assignments all over the U.S. and Canada.

We have been lucky to work in technology and life sciences during the pandemic and watch our clients adapt throughout this time. Some focused on short-term opportunity, while others made complete pivots. Nevertheless, we are pleased to have been able to partner with some fantastic clients over the past 18 months.

Jake Vander Zanden
Managing Director
o: 949.541.5000

Jake serves as a Managing Director and leader of McDermott + Bull’s Technology Life Sciences Practice. He spent over 25 years as a turnaround and growth leader completing business transformations as a senior executive at companies like Allergan, Medtronic, and more. He has lived and worked throughout Asia, Africa, and Europe, and managed businesses in all the major regions of the world. Jake’s success has come from his ability to quickly and continuously develop high performing teams and guide their achievement of company changing initiatives, regardless of country, language, culture, or product group. Jake is an active member of the Life Sciences community and serves on the Leadership Board of DeviceAlliance™, as a Growth Services Advisor for OCTANe, and judge for the annual OCTANe High Technology Awards Program.