Unprecedented four years of awards attributed to “doing things right”


 By Alice Adams


Gladney Darroh's path from working his way through night school by helping inner city youth and tough ex-convicts find employment has been one of hard work and many hours on the job.  But the experience from those early years of social work to the present has been a dedicated effort to doing the right thing.

Recently, Darroh was named top technical professional recruiter in Houston by the Houston Area Association of Personnel Consultants, the largest city association of its kind in the country.  The award is given to those who successfully place qualified candidates into professional positions.  Winners are chosen based on the top dollar amounts in total commissions generated by placements throughout the year.

The technical professional category includes every area of technical-professional recruiting, from information technology to accounting, finance, engineering, geoscience and healthcare, among others.

For the fourth year in a row – unprecedented in this category in HAAPC history -- Darroh has won the top award for his work as senior partner in Piper-Morgan Associates/AEI, a Houston firm focused on placing permanent and contract professionals in the upstream and downstream energy industries and specializing in engineers, geoscientists, HS&E, human resources, accounting and finance.

And while the accomplishment brings pride in achievement, Darroh believes being first in his field comes from doing things right, for both the candidate and the client.  “It is nice to be recognized by your peers,” he admits modestly, “ but what I’m proudest of is having a business known for its integrity and its professionalism.  We have been successful because our client companies and our candidates, alike, understand that we work in their best interests.”

Darroh said the focus of every effort at Piper-Morgan is finding the right candidate and finding the right job.  “When we achieve both of these, the trust and the material consideration naturally follow, but our first and foremost emphasis is achieving the right result,” he explained.  “When we find the right candidate for a company and we find the right job for a candidate, that provides an opportunity to build a lasting relationship.”

And many of those relationships have continued for the 24 years Piper-Morgan has been in business.  About 75 percent of those relationships account for the firm’s business in Houston.  The remaining 25 percent stretch from Alaska to Equatorial Guinea and around the world.

The second element of Piper-Morgan’s long-standing success lies in its work in the area of diversity in its recruiting and placement.  “Hiring a diverse workforce is about being competitive across the board,” Darroh said.  “And I am proud of the role we’ve played over the last 24 years in helping client companies understand that diversity is not about lawsuit avoidance but about giving that company a competitive edge.”

Aside from his first place HAAPC awards over the last four years, Darroh has also been named top recruiter in the technical professional category in the state for the past three years.  State awards for the year 2000 will be presented at the annual convention of the Texas Association of Personnel Consultants in Dallas on April 28th.

Calling the past year’s market “very solid,” particularly in categories such as oil and gas, Darroh said the local market began to show marked improvement at the beginning of the third quarter.  “In the Houston market, I attribute last year’s growth to the continuing consolidations among energy companies and the sustained upturn in energy-commodity prices,” the award-winning recruiter pointed out.  “And the third factor would be the success of Houston’s broadening of its economic base outside oil and gas while maintaining a reasonably priced real estate market, good schools, attractive arts offerings and cultural diversity.”

And Darroh also attributes the success of Piper-Morgan to its outreach into the community.  “My brothers, who are partners in the firm, have been active in various community organizations for many years,” he said.  “Will Darroh has served on the board of the Boys and Girls Club for close to two decades and is active in Career Assistance Ministries, while Dick Darroh supports the lamb auction, Houston Food Bank and is an Elder in his church. Gladney’s favorite charity is The Boys and Girls Harbor. His daughter Ashley is going on a month long mission trip to Botswana this summer and his son Steven plays the drums for his youth group.

He said success in business is usually attributed to hard work on the job, but in the case of Piper-Morgan, part of their success is found in the firm’s commitment to Houston and giving back to the community through participation and support.  “It’s about doing the right thing for every client company and candidate,” Darroh emphasized.  “It’s about honesty in our commitment and integrity in doing business, day in and day out.”

The path has come full circle. “I developed a real knack for making tough job placements doing social work,” Darroh says, “ and I discovered how to apply that “knack” in the private sector. It has enabled me to make a living and link my interests in social progress in a very meaningful way. I feel tremendously grateful.”