Monte Merz - President & Founder


Monte founded High Country Executive Search in 2002.  After spending eight years working within large national firms in a variety of roles from desk recruiter to Regional Vice President, Monte's experiences revealed to him not only what clients, candidates, and search professionals wanted in "best practices" but also what they didn't want in what seemed to be the industry's "worst practices."  High Country Executive Search has been his effort to refine a low volume, high quality approach to bringing exceptional talent and committed companies together.


Originally from Nebraska, Monte moved to Colorado and began his recruiting career in 1994.  He obtained his undergraduate degree from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa in 1991 where he earned All-American and Academic All-American honors as a collegiate wrestler before moving on to The University of Iowa and earning his MBA in 1993.  Interests include mountain biking, distance running, snowboarding, reading and spending time outdoors with his wife Jenna, daughter Sadie and son Wyatt.



303.282.5209 - Office

Shawn Hamele - Partner


Shawn joined High Country Executive Search in 2008 having come from Korn/Ferry International as a Global Vice President Training, Futurestep.  Prior to Korn/Ferry, he was with Ajilon Professional Staffing for 10 years.  Shawn had 45 recruiters reporting to him in 26 branches and was also part of the national training team.


His focus is retained and high level contingency searches in finance, HR and administrative.  Personally, as a recruiter he has placed over 550 candidates primarily in Denver and Minneapolis metro areas.  Shawn graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in Economics in 1998.


720.221.9612  Office

303.548.2022 Cell

Jim Dahl - Executive Recruiter


Born and raised in the Bay Area, Jim relocated to Colorado to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder where he received a BSBA in Accounting.  After graduation, Jim spent 3 busy seasons as an Auditor with Deloitte and Touche working on a variety of clients within the Oil & Gas, Manufacturing and Financial Services industries.


Having enjoyed the experience of on-campus recruiting while at Deloitte, Jim was drawn to the recruiting industry as an opportunity to capitalize on his strengths in building relationships and identifying talent.  The melding of his experiences in Public Accounting and Direct Source recruiting provide Jim a unique perspective allowing him a particularly consultative approach to offering recruiting and placement solutions for his candidates and clients.   


This is Jim's eleventh year of professional search within the Denver market and he remains as energetic as day one in helping his candidates achieve and fulfill their career objectives.  He enjoys music, film and can be regularly found at all of the CU home football games.


720.221.9613  Office

303.522.7533  Cell


Jerod Smith - Executive Recruiter



Jerod joined High Country Executive Search in 2012 having come from Robert Half International after 3 years as a Sr. Recruiting Manager of Permanent Placement in their technology department.  In Jerod's first year recruiting he was recognized  as the number 3 producer for all permanent placement employees internationally as a rookie. Prior to Robert Half International, Jerod wholesaled Mutual Funds for Transamerica Capital Inc. and  John Hancock Financial Services for 7 years in both the Northwest and Northeast territories. 


Jerod graduated from the  University  of  Oregon  with a BA in Psychology in 2002 and was also a member of their Division I football team.



720.221.9616 Office

503.754.1041 Cell


Brian Melroy- Executive Recruiter



Having joined High Country’s Finance and Accounting Search team in early 2012, Brian found the perfect place to engage his passion and energy for recruiting and combine it with High Country’s boutique style of high quality, low volume recruiting.  Prior to joining High Country, Brian spent just over two years cutting his teeth in the Staffing Industry with a large national firm.


Brian is an alumni of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where he majored in Psychology, was a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, and earned All-American Honors as a standout on the University’s rugby team. He then spent two years in Sydney, Australia playing rugby professionally before spending 4 years working in the Financial Services Industry in Atlanta, GA. 

In his spare time Brian enjoys exploring Colorado with his wife Amanda, snowboarding, camping, and staying current on green energy technology.



720.221.9610 Office

720.878.4772 Cell


Nathan Zimmerman - Executive Recruiter



With a degree in hand and six years of successful sales and marketing experience within Major League Soccer, aviation, and advertising, Nate joined  High Country’s Finance and Accounting Search team.  Looking for a long-term career utilizing his skill set of sales, marketing, and communication, Nate has hurled himself into his career in recruiting with a passion and energy that not only fits High Country’s boutique style of high quality, low volume recruiting, but will also serve his candidates and clients interests for years to come.


Nathan received a double major in Economics and English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2007. In his free time, Nathan plays competitive soccer and enjoys skiing, reading, and cooking.



720.227.0314 Office

469.534.5729 Cell



Derek Pope - Executive Recruiter


Derek joined High Country at the beginning of 2014.  He brings an impressive 14 year resume of successful, permanent placement with him.


High Country had the incredibly good fortune of connecting with Derek just as his wife landed her dream job which required a move from Dallas to Denver. One meeting was all it took for both sides to agree High Country’s focus on high quality, low volume placement that focused on long term relationships was the perfect fit for Derek's vision of the ideal recruiting desk.


Derek is a worldly guy.  Prior to coming to Denver, he spent 7 years placing Finance and Accounting professionals in Dallas.  Before Dallas, Derek placed Real Estate, Marketing, Sales, and Finance professionals in San Diego, and he cut his teeth in recruiting by starting in New York City market in 2000 placing IT professionals.


Originally from Ojai, California, Derek obtained a tennis scholarship from the Indiana Hoosiers, where he earned All Big Ten honors along with Big Ten Freshman of the year in 1995, and ultimately was ranked as high as #7 in the world in under 18 doubles tennis.  He graduated with a Sports Marketing degree and while tennis was a huge part of his life, these days he prefers golf and all winter sports in his off time.



720.227.0315 Office

760.214.4865 Cell

Jace Jackson - Executive Recruiter


 A  second-generation Colorado native, Jace was born and raised in the foothills of Evergreen. He graduated in the spring of 2014 from The University of Denver with a double major in International Business and Management, and a minor in Spanish. Jace played rugby for The University of Denver where he finished his college rugby career as a First-Team selection for the 2014 Collegiate All-American tour, representing The United States on an international level. While not in the office, he now plays rugby for the Glendale Raptors.

Jace’s ability to develop close personal relationships, combined with his competitive nature and his passion for helping others makes him excited for a prosperous recruiting career with the High Country team.

In his free time, Jace loves to explore the outdoors with his fiancée, Taylor— cycling, snowboarding, and mountaineering are a few things he can be found doing on a beautiful Colorado day.                                                                                                     


720.403.2986 Office

303.519.1503 Cell