Club Management Executive Search Firm Engagement

Lordstone Corporation is a management consulting firm serving as trusted advisors & counselors to club ownership boards, investors and C-Level teams on issues of succession planning, management appraisal & assessment and executive search, selection & integration.

Our management consultants and executive recruiters identify talent for senior managerial and executive roles – CEOs and Presidents, CFOs, COOs, VP’s and Club Managers. We serve country clubs, golf clubs, athletic clubs, sportsmen’s clubs, hunting clubs & ranches, private clubs, military clubs and yacht clubs.

The enclosed profile was authored by our firm and was based on our travels to the club and subsequent interviews with the board. The goal is to inform the reader of a unique career opportunity. Any other use of the enclosed information is not permissible, including competitive intelligence analysis or the exploration of mergers, acquisitions or joint ventures. Should you have any questions regarding this statement, please call our offices at (906) 428-9330.


Thank you for your willingness to review the enclosed opportunity profile. The following pages describe an excellent opportunity for an experienced professional to manage an incredibly large, unique, financially stable, and historically significant member-owned sportsman's club comprised of 35,000 acres of pristine wilderness.

By documenting our findings in the enclosed profile, we hope to elicit positive responses from successful candidates or referrals to qualified individuals. We trust the following pages will achieve this goal and would welcome the opportunity to talk with someone you know who meets most or all of the requirements described in this profile. As to how they can expect to be treated:

  • They can be assured of complete confidentiality on our part. Any information shared with us will only be shared with our client and will not be forwarded to other organizations without expressed permission.
  • They will be treated in the manner we would want to be treated if our positions were reversed. This practically translates into doing what we say we are going to do in a timely manner, promptly returning phone calls, and providing frequent and honest feedback to both candidates and clients.
  • They can be assured that they are dealing with informed management consultants. We understand our client’s assignment, the job responsibilities, and the overall objectives of the position. Additionally, we have direct contact with the board who are recruiting for this hire, thereby enabling quick feedback to candidates.

As to our veracity in adhering to the above-mentioned points, we invite all interested parties to check us out by contacting anyone with whom we have previously done business. You’ll find we are unique in that our mission is also our calling: to perform the highest quality executive research work that results in exceptional long-term value for our clients.

Jeffrey R. Ketchum
President & CEO
Lordstone Corporation

The Opportunity

The Hiawatha Sportsman’s Club (HSC), located in Engadine, Michigan, is currently seeking to identify an experienced Manager to lead their expansive club. Set on 35,000 acres (52 square miles) in Michigan's legendary and beautiful Upper Peninsula, HSC represents the largest piece of private property east of the Mississippi. The club is made up of acres upon acres of private forests, 35 miles of streams and rivers, a trail system of over 100 miles, a gorgeous nine hole golf course and pro shop, shooting ranges, several lakes and stocked trout ponds, a marina and five miles of Lake Michigan frontage.

With a rich and storied history dating back to 1927, this position will be directed and supported by a Board of Governors, representing over 1100 members, many of whom have been coming to the club since childhood and who are deeply passionate about the club and its future. As a result, this opportunity would be well suited for a like minded individual who loves the outdoors, can appreciate the deep emotional connection members have to the club and who is ready to serve membership by managing well that which is entrusted to them.

Historically a hunting and fishing club, HSC now caters to an extremely wide variety of indoor/outdoor activities. These activities and interests of members, combined with the physical assets of HSC result in a Managers role that is extremely varied, exciting and non-routine in manner. As such, the ideal candidate will appreciate the excitement and spontaneity of working in such a position, while still effectively managing projects and staff.

The Hiawatha Sportsman’s Club is well financed, unlike many non-profits. The organization has remained debt-free and is financially stable, with ample cash reserves as mandated by club by-laws. This will allow the next Manager to focus on what's important—the club's members, its land, and the nature and wildlife that also calls the club home.

If you are an experienced Manager and are passionate about the outdoors, there are many reasons that may drive you to explore this opportunity:

  • This is an incredibly unique opportunity for someone who is passionate about the outdoors and would like to combine this passion with their excellence as a business manager. If you feel constrained by working in the confines of an office all day, this position will allow you to experience natural beauty and fresh air on a daily basis.
  • This is a hospitality role in which the primary focus is helping to ensure that members have the times of their lives. This would be a refreshing change for someone whose current focus is merely on the top or bottom line, within a corporate setting.
  • Perhaps you feel oppressed by living in a large city without the breathing room necessary for the type of life you desire. This position may appeal to you if you would find value in living in a beautiful landscape, being able to get back to nature, and having the opportunity to raise your family away from the distractions of large urban areas.
  • With 35,000 acres of forests, roads, buildings, dams, rivers, lakes, and ponds, the Manager will be a steward of nature. This might appeal to you if you would rather be managing the natural resources and assets of the club, rather than managing a product line or service offering in a corporate setting.
The Organization


Dr. William E. McNamara founded the Hiawatha Sportsman's Club in 1927. He was a frequent traveler to the Upper Peninsula from his home in Lansing for hunting and fishing; he also spent time in the U.P. practicing medicine in the mining camps. It was on one of these trips that he first noticed the land that he and his associates eventually turned into the club. The land that is now HSC was first inhabited primarily by Ojibwa Native Americans, and after that, English and French fur traders. The land was then clear cut by the logging industry, which decreased the land value, thus allowing Dr. McNamara's group to purchase it. McNamara, always the conservationist, almost immediately planted 80,000 seedlings, mostly red and white pine. Many of the narrow gauge railroad track beds used by the loggers are now trails used by HSC members. HSC remains the largest private club in Michigan, and three of its buildings are listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

HSC has historically been a family and friends club, with a general consensus among members that they didn't want a ton of people to know they existed. However, with the continuing decline of manufacturing in Michigan over the last decade, the great recession of 2008 and the the aging of club members, membership decreased. Although membership numbers have now stabilized, HSC has come to understand the necessity for a certain degree of publicity and outreach in order to maintain adequate club membership numbers, finances and property values, while still maintaining a maximum of 1,757 memberships in order to prevent overcrowding.

HSC has traditionally been known for its hunting and fishing. The club is home to deer, bear, grouse, and waterfowl, with less than 200 deer hunters on the entire 35,000 acres, and as few as ten hunters active during archery and muzzleloader seasons. The club spends $25K per year stocking the waterways with fish, and it also manages 918 of its 35,000 acres as a QGMU Quality Game Management Unit for an even more natural hunting experience. However, over the years, HSC has developed from being primarily focused on hunting and fishing to accommodating all aspects of the outdoor lifestyle. There are clubs within the club that cover things including shooting, golf, bird watching, woodworking, kayaking, art and more. The club is no longer just a hunting club, and for many members is about spending time in the woods taking a walk or hike, riding an ATV or going for scenic drives.


Each of the 1,100+ members of HSC are landowners, with property being divided into three tiers: waterfront buildable, buildable, and non-buildable. Many of these members come from the large urban centers of Lower Michigan, with many members coming from Detroit, Lansing, and Grand Rapids. Approximately 750 members own third tier property, which starts at as little as $600. These members stay at one of the club's 42 cabins when visiting. Approximately 100 members own residences at the club. Each member is considered equal when it comes to voting rights and members pay annual dues of $670, with additional dues assessed to owners of more than one lot. A Board of Governors runs the club according to its longstanding by-laws, with a total of 27 committees heading everything from fish and game to accounting.


The club is financially very secure with an annual budget of between $1.3-$1.4M depending on the given year, no debt, and considerable mandated cash reserves of at least $600K. Income is derived from $800K in annual membership fees and $300K in timber sales, with supplemental income coming from cabin and boat rentals.


The club is currently in a cultural transitional period, with some members wanting things to remain as they once were and other members trying to determine how best to develop as an organization while still being in line with the club's heritage. Examples of how the club has moved forward in recent years include moving from paper to digital record keeping and the adoption of procurement procedures and stricter budget controls. Despite some disagreement on what the club's future should be, its membership tends to be big on conservative, family-oriented values. Most are big believers in the constitution and in second amendment rights, and they are proud to have worked hard and helped build the club into what it is today. Members want the club to remain intact for future generations.

The Future

As the Board becomes increasingly more progressive, it puts greater emphasis on keeping track of and maintaining its physical assets and on putting the right policies and procedures in place to ensure that the club's substantial investments continue to grow. Four years ago the club formed a marketing committee with the goal of increasing membership, recognizing that the organization is a multi-dimensional club that can appeal to a larger group beyond simply hunters and anglers. The new Manager will need to understand the Board's challenge in discerning the future identity of the club.

The Position


Working under the direction of the Board of Governors of HSC, this servant leader will be tasked with the administration of the business, management of staff and the proactive stewardship of all physical assets and natural resources that encompass the club. They will be a unifying conduit through which the diversified interests of the membership and Board are fused together, in accordance with the club’s by-laws, to insure maximum enjoyment for all.


During the last few years, the actions of previous managers and Board members have led to some distrust and turmoil within the organization. The new Manager will help to reestablish trust within the organization and will address its shortcomings. The Manager will serve and represent the club's membership, with the objective of enabling them to have the best times of their lives. He or she will build positive relationships and rapport with the club's members, and will manage all club employees. With so many members, committees, and club activities going on, this will be a challenging role. New things happen every day that will demand the Manager's attention.

As a steward of the club's 35,000 acres, this person will need to realize that nature is the club's most important asset. The club has historically prided itself on doing things better than Michigan's DNR, for instance putting in deer antler restrictions before the agency and having a lower trout restriction than the rest of the state; the Manager will continue to assist the club in this effort to bring back the deer population and achieve other ecological goals.


The Manager will lead a full-time, year-round staff consisting of 6 individuals and a seasonal staff of approximately 14 employees during the busy and challenging summer months. Most of these seasonal employees are high school seniors and college students. Staff development and team building has lacked in recent years, and the new Manager will work to alleviate this. The Manager will provide positive leadership to all club staff and work to encourage camaraderie and collaboration among staff members. They will support their employee’s development through the training of skills and providing constructive feedback on their performance on a regular basis. They will Inform and counsel all employees regarding procedures, policies, and all aspects of internal controls and will ensure employees adhere to all. Likewise, they will ensure compliance by the club and its employees with all state and federal laws, rules, etc.

The Manager will have a high degree of social contact with membership, insuring they are being receptive to their needs, while keeping them well-informed about the status of the club’s initiatives. The Manager will provide input to the various committees of the club that would enhance member satisfaction and enjoyment of club activities and resources. They will then help develop recommendations for Board consideration, while also alerting the Board to emerging critical issues or emergencies.

The Manager will be responsible for meeting and achieving all goals, objectives and deadlines for all projects approved by the Board and will serve as project manager for major projects. They will craft and develop plans to meet the Board’s top priorities as agreed. The Manager will assist the Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair with the development of annual budgets and 5-year financial outlook recommendations. The Manager will monitor budget and project expenditures to ensure compliance with approved funds.

The Manager will oversee or directly engage in purchases of items required to operate the club. They will be responsible for the timely maintenance, upkeep or replacement of the club’s physical assets (buildings, docks, boats, roads, fences, signage, etc.)

Accountabilities of the Position

Upon joining the organization and assessing the situation, the new Manager and President of the Board will review the overall accountabilities and establish a prioritized plan that is jointly agreed upon.

Within the first30 days, the new Manager will review, understand and internalize the by-laws of the club, by which both they and membership are to adhere. They will become acclimated to the club, with observations discussed at appropriate times with the staff and the President of the Board.

Within the first 30 days the new Manager will have met with each of their staff, one-on-one, to assess their competencies, interests and personal/professional goals, routines and workflow. Within 60 days of post season (after Labor Day), the new Manager will have completed a talent management plan which will include regularly scheduled training and development times with their staff to insure their competencies are increasing and supervisory bench strength is being built within HSC.

By the end of the 4th quarter 2016, the new Manager should identify and record within MS Excel or some other software, all ongoing and upcoming projects within the club, with associated timelines. This is to be reviewed with the President of the Board during their first quarterly review.

Within the preseason, during season and post season, the new Manager should intentionally get to know as many members as possible, introducing themselves and learning what is important to these members. The Manager should attend 2+ social events per week, during season to insure they are interacting and bonding with as many members as possible. All feedback should be documented in a log, preferably daily and reviewed weekly. Those items deserved of discussion with a committee or the Board of Governors should be noted. During the first 6 months of employment, these records will be reviewed by the President of the Board and the new Manager to insure a successful integration into HSC.

During the first 120 days, the new Manager will have researched and itemized all major physical assets and natural resources of the club. Within 180 days, they will have assembled this into a software program, with noted times for recommended maintenance and oversight to insure that all club assets and natural resources have proactive oversight, regularly scheduled maintenance and that any unknowns become known.

During the first 180 days, the Manager will have assessed the current business practices of the organization, insuring all are documented, if not already done so. They will have identified needed business practices and controls and will document and convey to the President of the Board such practices.

Qualifications Required

"Must Haves" for this role include:

  • The right candidate will have demonstrated a deep appreciation for the outdoors and stewardship of the environment. This will enable them to have a shared bond with the club members.
  • The leader must have prior experience in successfully managing or supervising a business, organization or association or a part thereof, in a customer facing role.
  • The leader will have proactively managed the entity, with proper oversight of staff. They will have trained, developed and mentored staff members to insure their team was performing at their peak potential, while preparing them for future promotions and greater responsibilities.
  • They will be highly organized and will have successfully managed complex projects with competing budgets, deadlines and resources. They will have experience in setting budgets, developing/implementing/maintaining business processes and controls and will have put together short, medium and long term plans.
  • They will have previously worked through differences of opinions and conflict with others in a diplomatic, relationally centric manner. They have demonstrated their ability to listen to all points of view and then to lead others to reach consensus around critical issues in a bureaucratic/politically charged environment.

A successful candidate will have career experience managing a multifaceted business, working with financial controls, and successfully prioritizing and resolving conflicts. He or she will have experience ideally supervising 15-20 individuals. This person should have experience managing projects to completion on-time and within budget, an ability to help the club rom a marketing standpoint. The candidate should be computer literate with the ability to embrace technology. A college education is important, especially with courses in finance and accounting.

The Manager should have the political savvy necessary to deal with the contradictory viewpoints of the Board and of the members. The Manager must also understand and be sensitive to the amount of volunteerism that allows the club to run.

Ideal candidates will have a familiarity with basic maintenance requirements for grounds, buildings, and equipment. The ideal candidate would be in the mid to late stages of a career and would find value in devoting five to ten years to the club, rather than leaving quickly to move up a corporate ladder elsewhere.

Personality & Character

The Board of Governors places as much emphasis on the future Manager's personality as it does qualifications. Board members have stressed that of the utmost importance are the Manager's honesty, integrity, ethics, and character, as well as a strong work ethic. They should have a strong sense of compassion and understanding, and must be affable and able to develop strong relationships with everyone from the most casual of third tier members to very involved and opinionated Board members.

A good candidate will posses some “thick skin”, able to deal with incoming criticism, yet able to be stern without being rude. He or she will be able to bring together opposing viewpoints without being afraid to express opinions. They will have the type of personality that inspires confidence and respect from employees and members, and must be willing to do what's right despite the political ramifications.

The Manager should be proactive and hands-on with the Board, committees, and members, staying on top of things and providing direction, insight, and advice, rather than simply reading committee meeting reports and minutes. He or she can't be afraid to roll up their sleeves and get dirty. This person must be a passionate lover of the outdoors, must live a lifestyle of hobbies and interests that match those of the club, and must have the ability to relate to members with widely varied sports and nature interests.

Other Attributes and Skills that would be Helpful:

  • Hospitality industry experience
  • Maintenance experience
  • Knowledge of forestry and natural resources
  • Knowledge of golf course management
  • Hands-on leadership style
  • Knowledge of finance and accounting principles
  • Vision and follow-thru
  • Analytical and thoughtful
  • The ability to multi-task
  • Conflict resolution skills
The Location

Hiawatha Sportsman's Club is located in Engadine, in Michigan's gorgeous Upper Peninsula. The U.P. is known for its rugged scenic beauty, its pristine wilderness, and its diverse wildlife. The hunting and fishing in the Upper Peninsula is so legendary that Ernest Hemingway himself took fishing trips there and used it as the setting for his famous short story, "Big Two Hearted River". Hiawatha Sportsman’s Club is nestled among some of the best trout fishing in the Midwest. The club is home to two distinctly different river systems: the Upper and Lower Millcoquins and their tributaries.

Located in Garfield Township, Engadine, and nearby communities of Gilchrist and Naubinway, offer some dining and shopping options. Manistique, 40 miles to the west, has more extensive dining, shopping, and entertainment choices. The cost of living in the area is far lower than elsewhere in the country. St. Ignace, 50 miles to the east, is a jumping off point for ferry boats traveling to Michigan's premier vacation destination, Mackinac Island. St. Ignace itself is home to many restaurants and entertainment options, including the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino.

The Upper Peninsula is a rare gem of a place with beauty and recreation throughout all four seasons. Located in close proximity to the club are the Naubinway Antique Snowmobile Museum, the GarLyn Zoo of Naubinway, the Incredible Cut River Bridge, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Oswald's Bear Ranch, and a plethora of historic places and lighthouses. Day trip possibilities include places like Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, beautiful and historic Marquette, and the Keweenaw Peninsula, which is a jumping off point for Lake Superior's Isle Royale National Park.

350 miles from Detroit, just over 400 miles from Chicago, 200 miles from Green Bay, and 55 miles from the Mackinac Bridge, Engadine and much of the Upper Peninsula is somewhat remote, which allows it to seemingly remain in a charming bygone time. It remains untouched by much of the hustle and bustle of daily life elsewhere, and it's native "Yoopers" pride themselves on keeping it that way. Yet HSC is close enough to many metropolitan areas in the Great Lakes region that weekend trips are always an option.

Contact Information

Lordstone Corporation is a management consulting firm specializing in retained executive search and selection. Our mission is to perform the most professional, highly ethical executive search consulting possible, which results in long-term value for our clients. If you know someone who meets most or all of the requirements described in this brochure, please feel free to suggest that person for consideration.

We fully respect the need for confidentiality of information supplied by interested parties and assure them that we will not disclose any private data with anyone outside of our client. For further information or consideration for this position, please contact:

Jeff Ketchum
President & CEO
Gladstone, MI

Kim Hawley
Director of Research
East Moriches, NY

Linda Nyberg
VP of Administration
Fort Myers, FL

Fort Myers Office
P.O. Box 62093
Fort Myers, Florida 33906
Tel: (239) 344 9514

Gladstone Office
P.O. Box 469
Gladstone, Michigan 49837
Tel: (906) 428 9330

Fort Myers Office
P.O. Box 62093
Fort Myers, Florida 33906
Tel: +1 239.344.9514

Gladstone Office
P.O. Box 469
Gladstone, Michigan 49837
Tel: +1 906.428.9330

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