Firm Emerges As Frontrunner To Conduct MDC Presidential Search

AGB Search, a prominent academic headhunting firm that conducted Broward College’s presidential search in 2018, has emerged as the frontrunner to lead Miami Dade College’s quest for a new president.  

Board of Trustees Vice-Chair Carlos Migoya and trustee Michael Bileca heard pitches from three firms at a board workshop yesterday: AGB Search, Carter Baldwin and Spelman Johnson—the only non-academic firm.    

“They get what we’re trying to do,” Migoya said in assessing AGB’s presentation. “They did their homework. They’re plugged-in.”

Bileca echoed that sentiment: “One firm that stood out the most is AGB.”  

Migoya and Bileca were charged by BOT chairman Bernie Navarro to hear the pitches. They will present their recommendation for AGB Search at the next Board meeting on Oct. 7. The group will then vote.  

AGB Search has facilitated eight presidential searches at Florida institutions. In 2018, they assisted Broward College in the selection of Gregory Adam Haile; they are currently conducting Barry University’s search. 

A running theme throughout Tuesday’s meeting was whether the firms were willing to look at candidates outside of academia. 

“We want to look at traditional and non-traditional candidates,” Migoya said. 

Each firm stressed that casting a wide net with candidates from varied career paths and educational backgrounds was integral. 

“There are military, business and healthcare professionals that are currently college presidents,” said Spelman Johnson search associate Quincy Martin during his presentation. 

The majority of AGB Search’s hires have an academic background, however, their portfolio also extends to candidates outside of the field, such as former college baseball player and business tycoon Tim Cost at Jacksonville University in 2018. 

“We know the idea of a successful candidate is evolving,” said Melissa Trotta, associate managing principal at AGB Search. 

AGB Search estimates their search will last six months and includes a year of transitional support for the new president. Their cost is calculated based on a third of the incoming president’s annual salary, plus an additional  $10,000 in consultation and lodging expenses and $6,000 in advertising fees. 

In their search with Broward College, AGB Search charged $123,919—a $90,000 contracted amount with the remaining $33,919 going to consultation, travel, lodging and recreational expenses, according to invoices The Reporter obtained from Broward College. 

Carter Baldwin is requesting a $130,000 flat fee, and Spelman Johnson estimated they will charge a third of the president’s salary—with consultation, travel and lodging fees not included. 

The College has already shelled out more than $167,000 to the Diversified Search, who assisted them for around five months in their previous presidential search. 

But the College is adamant they will not cut corners to find the best replacement for Eduardo J. Padrón, who retired at the end of August.    

“It is not an issue of price,” said Interim College President Rolando Montoya. “Cost is not important.”