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An Interview With Tom O’Connor ’72

Tom O’Connor ’72 majored in biology and was an active member of his fraternity, Alpha Chi Rho, while attending the College of Steubenville. Today the president of the Pittsburgh head-hunting firm, O’Connor, O’Connor, and Lordi, Ltd., Tom recently talked to The Baronette about his work and college days.

Q. So, who is the other O’Connor? Your father or your son?

A.  Neither.  When I was just starting the business (with classmate George Lordi, who was with me the first 7 years) a friend who was in advertising said I looked way too young to be accepted in this kind of business, so the suggestion of another, older O’Connor in our name would give the firm an air of having been around a long time. 

Q. How do your hunt your heads?

Corporations retain us to find their executive talent. Through our contacts around the world, we find the best people—most of these aren’t even looking for jobs—and try to interest them in looking into the new position. We do the interviews, check references, and then narrow the list down to the top three candidates, which we present to the company. We guarantee the choice they hire for one year, otherwise we’ll do the whole process again for no charge. Out of 760 placements, there have only been nine failures.

Q. Can you share anything you’ve observed about the corporate scene since the economic downturn?

A. Companies everywhere have trimmed all the fat, and even cut into some of the muscle, to run as lean as possible and protect their bottom lines. The demand is for top notch sales and marketing people to guide revenue growth. 

Q. Now let’s talk Steubenville memories… 

A.  My memories: wonderful friendships that have lingered and grown over the years… and the crazy parties! I was social chairman, so I must take some of the credit, or the discredit, for that! I won’t forget Greek Week and our intramural football team that won every year.

Originally published in the Spring 2009 Baronette newsletter. Since then, Tom has stepped back from “day-to-day activities of running the firm. He now participates on special assignments and concentrates his time on Financial Officer searches for the firm.”