Introducing GattiHR… Industrial

By Tom Connolly, CEO, GattiHR

One of the best-kept secrets about our firm is that about 5 years ago, we acquired an executive search firm in an entirely different practice area.  Since then, Philadelphia-based Armstrong Franklin has become one of the leaders in recruiting professionals for Manufacturing, Integrated Supply Chain, Engineering and Industrial Automation organizations.   The team there has built deep and trusted relationships with global companies like Schindler, Hunter Douglas and Acushnet.  They’ve built equally important relationships with companies that aren’t household names, like Pemamek, a Finnish company making the largest robots in the world, and tiny Mott Corp., a Connecticut-based engineering firm that builds precision components for the Mars Rover.

When we acquired AF, it was a bolt on.  We were fond of saying the HR practice and the Industrial practice had about as much in common as a fish and a bicycle.  We saw them as separate business areas that would add heft and diversification to our company, with no overlap and no synergies.  Gradually though, we’ve found an accidental brilliance in bringing these two firms together.  Increasingly, machines are embodying what looks like real intelligence, but as we are reminded over and over by the shortcomings of these efforts.  Amazon abandons its algo-driven recruiting effort, and machine-redacted legal documents leak confidential dirty laundry to the media.

Computers do math, period.  That’s why they fail if they have bad data or a bad model. That’s why they call it artificial intelligence.  Likewise, humans thrive on novelty and anecdote.  They get bored. They get tired, and they miss important details.  Increasingly, our clients are deconstructing workflows, decomposing decision processes and redesigning jobs so that machines and humans work together.  They fill each other’s gaps, elevate each other’s game, and in the process eliminate standardization, remove routine, and challenge the humans to bring imagination, engagement, collaboration and problem-solving skills to work every day.  This high-velocity paradigm shift leads to newly designed roles that are much more challenging and interesting, and thus, a shortage of talented people who can do them well.

Bringing our HR and Industrial teams closer together has had real impact on our ability to deliver better outcomes from our clients.  HR leaders who can make real sense of the changing nature of work, and turn that understanding into actionable strategies, are in huge demand.  Fact-based learning is dead.  Skills-based learning is essential, but maddeningly difficult to design and deliver as skills requirements change at ever-increasing speed. That’s why we often include staff from both practices on search projects.  Our Industrial team asks the kinds of questions and have the kinds of discussions with HR leaders that help us understand and evaluate these skills.   Conversely, our HR team digs deep on leadership and personal attributes that are increasingly essential to competitiveness in deeply technical environments – critical thinking, collaborative skills, focus, problem-solving, risk-taking, and synthesizing new solutions and models that blend the strengths of their human and automated colleagues.

The resurgence of manufacturing in the US has been great for Armstrong Franklin.  This is a space that many of our competitors decided wasn’t big enough or interesting enough to pay much attention to, and that’s caught them flat-footed as the competition for talent heats up.  But it’s this integration of humans and machines that’s led us to a “one-firm” decision over the course of 2019, to change the name on the door at Armstrong Franklin.  We’re very pleased to introduce you to GattiHR Industrial, our brand-new practice with a 30-year history of finding great talent solutions across the Supply Chain.

Follow our evolutionary story at and

– Tom