Patrick Ference, Managing Partner 

patPatrick Ference has over 25 years of experience in corporate leadership and senior executive search focusing on assignments largely in the industrial sector. Patrick recruits senior executives within all of the major functions including CEO/President, Finance, Operations and Supply Chain, Sales, Marketing, Engineering/R&D, and Human Resources. His industry experience is indicative of working for diversified manufacturing companies and search assignments spanning product/process manufacturing, power electrical and electronic products, automotive, mining and metals, building products/consumer durable goods, and aerospace/defense.

As Chief HR Officer, Patrick helped to transform major corporations and leadership teams in companies such as Cooper Industries, Brady Corporation, and Alpha Natural Resources. His deep understanding of stakeholder needs in executive recruitment comes from the unique perspectives he gained as a CHRO followed by his tenure as an executive recruiter at a boutique search firm and most recently managing his own search firm Ference Partners.

Patrick’s early career included roles as a Safety Engineer with Alcoa, Safety/HR with Kelsey-Hayes and Cooper Power Systems, then as Manager of Industrial Relations with Dana Corporation. He returned to Cooper Industries – now a part of Eaton – where he spent the majority of his career in Human Resources and in lead roles on major corporate initiatives: Globalization, Lean Operating System, Sourcing/Supply Chain Improvement, IT/Business Systems, and led the corporate HR transformation as well as the redesign of Cooper’s executive talent/OD cycle.

Patrick was awarded his Bachelor’s Degree in Safety Sciences from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He also completed the Cooper Industries Corporate Executive Program at the Rice University Graduate School of Management.

Jason Ward, Managing Partner   

pjwardJason Ward has more than two decades of industrial and international business experience, with a focus on assignments across the industrial and transportation market segments, including heavy manufacturing, processes and converting operations, automotive, electronics, construction, all modes of asset-based transportation and 3PL, Intermodal logistics, import/export, and supply chain. Most recently, Jason led the industrial practice at RSR Partners, where he created and built a multimillion dollar team. Previously, he was a Senior Client Partner at Korn/Ferry International (NYSE:KFY). He recruits executives within all functions, including firm’s CEO’s, presidents, and senior level positions in operations, marketing, sales, finance, regulatory compliance and human resources, within both domestic and international markets. Jason also recruits for clients at the Board of Directors level.

Prior to joining Korn/Ferry in 1999, Jason was the U.S. Commercial Manager for a prominent European-based owner of a fleet of modern double hull super tankers. Jason’s previous international business experience includes operations management for a privately held American/Brazilian import/export shipping joint venture and sales and marketing management in the commercial electronic communications equipment sector.

Jason was awarded his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Connecticut. Prior to this, he served as a Commissioned Engineering Officer in the United States Navy aboard a guided missile cruiser deployed to the Arabian Gulf. He earned his undergraduate degree in Logistics & Marine Transportation from the United States Merchant Marine Academy.

Sarah Stewart, Director 

Sarah Stewart has over 30 years of executive recruiting experience, most recently as a Partner with Boyden, where she conducted board search engagements for companies in a broad range of industries including industrial manufacturing.

Prior to joining Boyden, Sarah served as a Senior Associate, Executive Director and Partner with two New York based executive search firms, Spencer Stuart and Boardroom Consultants. Her search execution work with those firms resulted in more than 300 director placements, about one-third of which were diversity candidates.

In addition to her work for boards of directors, Sarah has managed selected recruiting assignments for CEOs and other operating executives, CFOs, CIOs, and senior human resources, investor relations and corporate communications executives.

Sarah has spoken on governance issues at programs sponsored by Deloitte Board Ready Women, Stern Women’s Alumni Association, International Women’s Forum, the National Association of Corporate Directors, the AESC and the Forté Foundation. She has appeared in PBS’ Nightly Business Report, Investment News, Wall Street Journal, Crain’s New York Business, Directorship, Corporate Board Member, Institutional Investor.com, and Newsday.

A graduate of Colorado College, Sarah also studied at the University of London. From 2003 to 2007, she was a member of the board of the Association of Executive Search Consultants, serving as Chair of the Governance Committee from 2006 to 2007. She currently serves as the Treasurer of the Board of the Three Rivers Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors. She is a member of the Most Committee for the Pittsburgh Chapter of 2002 Women on Boards.

She is based in Industrial Search Partners' Pittsburgh office.

Kate Murphy, Associate 


Kate Murphy brings nearly fifteen years of experience recruiting a wide range of professionals. She has first-hand knowledge of retained, contingent, and high volume staffing within manufacturing and industrial environments.

A graduate of the University of Miami with a degree in Finance, Kate got her start in retained search with Zweig White, a full service consulting firm catering to the engineering and architecture industries.  Prior to joining Industrial Search Partners, Kate served as Senior Staffing Manager, and was quickly promoted to Office Manager of StaffMasters, Ballantyne office.  Kate conceptualized and developed a new division for the company catering exclusively to executive searches; StaffmastersPro in an effort to focus on mid to senior level positions for their existing client base.

Kate is the lead researcher for Industrial Search Partners and has a proven track record of being relentless in her efforts to search for and match client needs with top talent so they can strategically form their perfect organization piece by piece.

Kate is based out of the Industrial Search Partners' Charlotte office.

Nancy O'Malley, Senior Associate  

Nancy O'Malley brings over 20 years of recruiting experience with a background in search firms and corporate within many disciplines and vast industries. Prior to Industrial Search Partners, Nancy ran her own recruiting company for over eight years, working successfully with many different clients who appreciated her clear communication skills, sourcing skills and negotiating abilities.

A graduate of Philadelphia University, Nancy has previously held recruiting positions at ESM Digital, imc2, Teva and Gateway Search Associates.

Nancy is based in Philadelphia.




Janet Brown, VP, Marketing 

Janet Brown leads Industrial Search Partners’ marketing and client relationship management efforts with a mandate to accelerate business development through outreach to all fields of industrial manufacturing and services.

Janet has worked in marketing and communications for over 20 years, most notably at GE (NYSE: GE) businesses including GE Energy, GE Healthcare and GE Industrial. She left GE after ten years to form FirstLight Financial, a commercial finance start-up, with a GE corporate officer. Janet was involved in all aspects of building the business from the ground up, and she led all marketing functions including CRM, sales support and pipeline management.

Most recently, Janet was a Business Communications Director for Cigna Corporation, a global health insurance and management company. Prior to Cigna, she was a Senior Vice President at Edelman, the largest private public relations firm in the world, where she served on both the Pfizer and GE Corporate accounts.

Janet earned a B.S. in Communications at Ithaca College.

Allison H. Keller, Business Manager 


Allison H. Keller is responsible for Industrial Search Partners' day-to-day operations and accounting. Allison is a seasoned professional with more than 30 years of experience in business management, financial management and human resources.

Prior to Industrial Search Partners, Allison served as Firm Administrator, General Manager and Director of Human Resources for prominent law firms specializing in Employment-Based Immigration Law. Represented clients included Fortune 50 and Fortune 100 companies in a diverse array of industries, including, but not limited to, health care, finance, manufacturing, technology and education.

Allison is Certified in Office Management, and a member of the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) and the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM).

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