Meet DeWinter Group | An Interview with the Partners

by: Don Seeley, Head of Search at The DeWinter Group

I recently sat down with the two founding partners of The DeWinter Group for an informal conversation discussing accounting recruiting, their proudest achievements, and the appearance of a certain canine rap legend. Founded in 2000, the DeWinter Group started with four employees and now has 46 team members (in  two offices), four service lines, and numerous market recognition. See below for an abridged transcript of the discussion.


What’s the biggest reason a candidate or client should work with DeWinter?



DD: The best reason to work with The DeWinter Group is our network. We work non-stop to build relationships with the best, the brightest, the most exciting companies and people in the valley.

MT: I think the number one reason to work with our firm is our integrity. Those ethics translate into great client service, because we truly have the individual’s best interest at heart.

Derek DeWinter, Partner (DD)

How do you guys keep track of everyone you’ve ever met?!?

MT: While our goal is build long-term relationships with everyone we meet, the truth is that’s impossible given the hours in a day. But what we can do is treat people with respect and dignity no matter how our paths cross.

DD: I start forgetting my kid’s birthdays! No

seriously, we endeavor to help everyone that we meet when the timing is right.


What’s the most stressful piece of being a Partner? The most fulfilling?

Mike Tomasello, Partner (MT)

I think the most stressful part of running the firm is balancing internal team happiness/growth opportunities with the desire to serve as many clients as possible in the market. It’s a fine balance, and we don’t want to lose touch of where we were seventeen years ago…four of us in a room with beanbags for furniture!


Mike Tomasello, Partner (MT)

MT: What keeps me up at night is our reputation in the market. How do we maintain that quality and excellence as we continue to grow? How do we hire and train the right people to provide our clients with the best service? That is what we are constantly focused on.


How would our clients describe working with us?

MT: I’ve known many of our clients since they were candidates, just exiting public accounting or grad school, and I believe we’ve been able to consistently bring them accurate and up to date market information. This is valuable when they plan their careers, and they trust us to bring that same attention to detail to the searches we perform for their companies.

DD: I think our long-term clients, the ones we’ve built strong relationships with, would look at us as more than just a service provider. They know we will be honest and bring real solutions to the table. They know that we bust our tails to find the right people for their organizations.


What is YOUR idea of the perfect job?

MT: Well, as anyone who’s ever seen me drive this will be no surprise, but I’m going with a test pilot. Keeping cool under pressure is also a hallmark of a great recruiter; of course when something blows up for us it’s only figuratively.

DD: Oh it’s an astronaut for sure. Unless I had to go on space walks.


Who gave you your biggest professional break?

DD: I was taught by one of the best – Montie Parker (formerly of Parker & Lynch). He taught me how to do this job the right way, with ethics and integrity. He also believed in me, which was a lot harder twenty years ago when I was a horrible auditor at Coopers who wore fish ties.

MT: My biggest champion was my former KPMG partner, John Van Dueren. Even though my grades weren’t there he took a chance and interviewed me and sponsored my hire. I owe my professional career to the start he gave me.

What are you proudest of?

DD: I am proudest of my family, but in a professional context I am proudest of the name and reputation we have in the valley. It’s truly been a labor of love, complete with missteps and stumbles. But at the end of the day to have people know they can count on something we’ve built is a humbling feeling.

MT: You stole the family card! I think I am proudest of the team we’ve built.  We work in the hiring business, so I know how important the right fits are to the growth of any organization. I think we’ve hired the right people and given them the right opportunities at the right time. We’ve been rewarded with an amazing amount of loyalty – we’re very lucky.


Fast-forward five years – what will be the biggest change in recruiting?

MT: Look, I started recruiting when we were still faxing resumes (or sending via bike messenger/courier!) and the whole team had to share the one internet hookup in the office! But no matter the advancements (job boards, LinkedIn, whatever is next) we provide value through our personal relationships. It’s only after you meet someone that you are truly able to assess fit and presentation – those vetting skills will never go out of style.

DD: I think technology will continue to disrupt the recruiting world. As jobs are more and more geographically dispersed we will have more and more opportunities to source, interview, and place remote individuals.


Batman vs Superman vs Spiderman…go.

DD: Snoop Dogg for the win.

MT: I don’t think I can compete with that one!