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Brian Cork delivers execs with checks


Brian Cork isn't your ordinary executive recruiter and the company he founded in his own name, brian cork Human Capital, is much more than your traditional executive search firm.  Brian's career began in the venture capital business.  That experience taught him how to spot successful companies and the people who run them. It was only by chance and a painful lesson that he parlayed that experience into creating an executive search firm that can be truly called a human capital firm. 

brian cork Human Capital is all about making companies and the people who run them successful. The firm offers three core services (1) executive search and recruiting, (2) executive and business coaching, and (3) business accelerator.  The combination of theses three services creates customers for life and assures a consistent revenue stream. Many of Brian Cork's clients are start up, early stage, or growth companies looking for leaders who can take the company to the next level. Unlike most executive search firms who also do a fine job recruiting talent, Brian brings executives to the table who are also investors. Executive investors are much more committed to the company's success because their capital is also on the line. But it's not just buying into the company that's important here, these companies usually need capital and leadership to go to the next stage. It's venture capital with an active interest. Once the executive team is in place, coaching and additional talent acquisition add to the success formula.

On the coaching side of the business, Brian's experience in venture capital investing is the foundation of his methodology.  He helps executives by coaching them on his key elements of business success - product, timing, management, cash, and plan.  "All of these elements must come together in the first 18 months for a business to be successful. If any one of the elements are missing the business may not fail but it can't be successful. It may last for years struggling along."

Brian started out in the financial services industry. As president of the venture capital company, Brian hired talent and analyzed deals. He developed relationships with angel investors and helped launch numerous companies.  Along the way he found himself recruiting talent out of his network for the start up companies his firm was funding. Everything was going great until one day two of his partners brought down the house with some illegal activities. Brian lost his securities license and needed to find a new business. With a solid reputation among his clients and investors, Brian was approached and asked to help one of them find a CFO, for a fee.  From there brian cork Human Capital was born. Brian earned fees placing talent and when that talent had capital to invest that was a deal sweetener. In addition to learning the CEO must be aware of what everyone is doing, Brian adopted his mantra "The promise is in the punishment and the punishment is in the promise."

brian cork Human Capital has received numerous awards and recognitions and is considered one of the companies to watch.  Brian's secret to success is what he calls "the Magic Twelve". He limits the number of his direct reports to twelve people, has a maximum of twelve executives in coaching, the "servant's heart" culture at his firm is called the "Culture of Twelve".  For Brian, the magic of the number twelve is that it is big enough to leverage the talent of others but small enough to be aware of what is happening in the business.

Brian is a competitive person in his personal and professional life. When he's not running the business he can be found coaching youth soccer and training for "extreme racing" which includes cycling forty miles, running five to six miles, and 400-600 push ups each day. His father was a military officer which resulted in a lot of relocations. Brian recalls being in three different high schools in four years. "That experience taught me to make friends real fast." He earned a degree in political science and English at Radford University and went on to get his MBA at Northrup University.

Although he describes his job as "being the coolest job in the world... hanging out with my friends, and helping them make better decisions" he is an entrepreneur for life and plans to give the business to his employees by 2015 by which time he will have a new venture underway.

Learn more about Brian Cork Human Capital at

Reporting and photography by Sam Dobrow.  Sam Dobrow is a freelance reporter and photographer. Learn more about Sam Dobrow at