High Country Executive Search
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Cielle Santistevan - Researcher
A 7th Generation Native of Colorado, Cielle brings her deep sense of history and love for all that Colorado has to offer to High Country Executive Search.
When Cielle is not greeting clients and assisting the staffing team at the office, she can be found walking her Scotty, Anslow around Washington Park, spending time with her extended family, and working hard to complete her 4 year degree.