Carolina Raptor Center

The CRC board engaged the services of LevRidge Resources (now merged with Armstrong McGuire) to provide interim executive support and Armstrong McGuire to lead their executive transition management (ETM) process. Founded in 1981, CRC provides rehabilitation services to injured raptors and offers programs that explore STEAM concepts through the lens of raptor ecology and conservation.


Interim Management supported the organization by:
  • Providing empathetic, consistent, and steady leadership to the team, helping them grieve the loss of longtime leader Jim Warren
  • Shepherding critical transitions in fiscal management systems
  • ETM process and timeline presented at launch in March was maintained, through hiring in July and onboarding support in August
Armstrong McGuire’s national search brought a strong pool of qualified applicants to CRC, a niche animal and environment nonprofit:
  • 22 candidates were interviewed by Armstrong McGuire
  • 7 candidates were interviewed by the Executive Transition Committee
  • 3 candidates were interviewed by the staff, board, and Executive Transition Committee
  • A rock star executive director, Erin Katzner was hired from Iowa. She knew and had long-admired Jim Warren.
  • Erin brings a bold vision to elevate CRC even further as a global leader in raptor care and environmental education


With the unanticipated departure of its long-term leader, CRC craved compassion, stability and structure to guide its leadership transition. LevRidge Resources understood exactly what CRC needed and turned to certified interim executive David Middleton.

David brought the perfect blend of steady, nurturing leadership to a grieving team, while also proactively suggesting communication strategies and infrastructure adjustments that strengthened the organization in preparation it for the next leader.  

In parallel, CRC’s Executive Transition Committee and Armstrong McGuire senior advisors launched the Executive Transition Management process, starting with an organizational assessment that was used to define the position profile of the next leader. From his vantage point as interim ED, David provided critical input that was integrated with feedback from other stakeholders including staff, board, donors, and community partners. With the position defined, the transition moved to recruitment, interviews and ultimately the hiring of a rising star in raptor leadership, Erin Katzner. The preparation, assessment, recruitment, meetings, interviews, and decisions that happened throughout the process were full of heart, dedication, and collaboration. 

“The Carolina Raptor Center has benefited tremendously from the services of LevRidge and Armstrong McGuire. Our board engaged the services of both firms during a very difficult time for our organization. We faced the retirement and subsequent unexpected passing of our beloved longtime leader, Jim Warren. During this time of grief and uncertainty, David Middleton brought compassion, experience, and a steady hand to our staff. His leadership provided the board the opportunity to focus on our executive search to find Jim’s successor and the next leader of the CRC." - Kristy Crist, Search Committee Chair and Board Chair for the Carolina Raptor Center 

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Specifically, the collaboration between our team and CRC’s interim executive director David Middleton highlighted the positive impact that an interim can have on the challenging transition process. Our advisors consulted with Kathy Ridge of LevRidge Resources early in the assessment process and our teams remained aligned throughout. David provided a skilled and steady presence for the staff and supported communications. He was able to identify areas where the board could proactively address infrastructure needs, prior to the start of the new executive director. 

"Samantha Wright and Katie Weeks from Armstrong McGuire were outstanding partners during the search. They guided us through the process during what was a very chaotic time in the job market. They asked great questions and sought input from numerous stakeholders to help us craft a thoughtful position profile. They sourced a strong pool of candidates and facilitated the interview process very aware of both candidate and search committee experience. All of this effort resulted in the hiring of our new Executive Director, Erin Katzner. Erin brings incredible passion and experience to this role, and under her leadership, I know we will SOAR!”
Kristy Crist
Search Committee Chair and Board Chair for the Carolina Raptor Center 

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When executive transition knocks on your organizational door, an interim leader and an intentional transition process will help your organization smoothly navigate a leadership change.

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