January 8, 2019

Dear KULPER Network Members:

We hope that 2018 has been a good year for you both personally and professionally and that 2019 will be an even better one.

We completed our search for a Chief Development Officer for our client who has set up an IMPACT Investment Fund targeted at providing much needed healthcare services for people in  Sub-Saharan Africa and India; please see for details about this search.  It was a great project.

The idea behind IMPACT investing is interesting.  Its essential goal is to create positive social impact from directed investment activities.   I heard from one of the experts in the field that impact investing was born about 20 years ago when a few Catholic nuns started to question their investment advisor about his investment choices for their order.  The nuns didn’t want the investment advisor putting the order’s savings into companies that were deriving their profits from exploiting/harming the environment or an individual’s health.  They said, “Let our investments be directed towards companies that are trying to make a positive social impact as they provide necessary products or services.”  Thus, the goal of impact investing is not necessarily to maximize profitability; rather, it is to derive a solid return from investment capital while striving to simultaneously affect positive social impact—a laudable aim.  More and more companies, not for profits and individuals have become interested in impact investing because when it is done in the right way, investors and intended beneficiaries are the better for it—be it in the fields of healthcare, education, disaster response or any worthy area—because impact investing can be a much more sustainable way to support the charitable initiative.

If you are interested, here are a few sources of reliable information about impact investing.

The KULPER & COMPANY Approach to Search

When we accept a search assignment entirely new and innovative ways of operating a business or charitable enterprise are often revealed to us; it makes doing what we do that much more interesting and rewarding.    

Our expertise is in knowing how to direct an effective search that introduces the right number of well-qualified candidates ready to go forward and then accept an attractive job offer from a client who is clear about what it is going to take for the hired candidate to be successful in his or her new job.  

We work directly with the hiring decision maker on the search from start to finish because it is the most efficient and effective way to successfully complete a search assignment. 

  • Have you tried to hire a key executive during 2018 and found the process too slow and the candidates not up to par?
  • Are you considering launching a leadership level search for your company, university or charity in 2019?

The competition for the right candidates is always fierce.  The best candidates are often not yet looking for their next opportunity but are always willing to hear about one from us.    Well qualified candidates expect to learn as much as possible from the search firm about an opportunity. If that doesn’t happen, they are quickly turned off.   With an unemployment rate of 3.7%, and more and more millennials ready to assume bigger roles being vacated by retiring baby boomers, the competition for promising senior level leaders couldn’t be more intense.   The personal touch of a seasoned search professional not only saves you time and effort but can lead to the long-lasting results that the best organizations require.   

If you are thinking about a key hire for 2019, we will be glad to speak with you about it.  Please call (973) 285-3850 or write us:   We will listen to what you have to say and be very responsive.

Read more…

KDK Musings

Columnists like Randall Forsyth from Barrons do a great job summing up the previous week’s events in business and politics.  His witty and insightful style is consistently refreshing, and his investment commentary can prove profitable; he would be the first one to tell you that nobody gets it completely right.   I always like reading his UP and DOWN the Street column when it comes out early each Saturday morning, so I recommend it to you as well. 

Getting reliable information is always a challenge as there is just so much coming at us 24/7.  The economic prospects for 2019 have been rapidly changing in the past few weeks which can give even the most experienced and intrepid investment professional pause, but I am comfortable that 2019 will be a solid year overall for the US economy.  We have been continually hearing that the economy is essentially sound despite recent monetary actions.  Our democracy is currently going through a fundamental self-assessment which I believe will make it stronger and more resilient in the decades to come. The current gyrations in the S&P, NASDAQ and DOW Jones averages are therefore, no surprise.  Probably, like you, I have been through many market swings over the past years.   Unlike the painful string of events that led up to the “Great Recession” which sent the stock averages down over 50% during the worst of it, this time, we are seeing a more typical market correction in response to rising rates, quixotic trade pressure tactics and global jitters.  FED Chairman Powell appears to be an experienced and capable central banker and his remarks on Friday, January 4, 2019 seemed to reassure Wall Street.   The stock market has a way of showing us what the economy will likely look like in the next 6-12 months and January performance is always viewed as a strong indicator of what lies ahead for the rest of year.   

Here are a few predictions: all things considered, I think stock averages will be up for 2019 from their peak points in 2018.  So, we ought to get back all of what we “lost” at the end of 2018 and end up with about a 5% gain from the highs of 2018: DOW 28500, S&P 3050 and NASDAQ 8050 by 12/31/19.  A big upward swing from where we are now, for sure, but a less than average performance smoothed out over time.   Economic recession won’t happen in 2019.

Environmentalists at the Sierra Club are now talking about a GREEN “NEW DEAL meant to head off the worst  impacts on the planet from the Anthropocene (Human) Epoch .  The GREEN “NEW DEAL” will spur a global “economic miracle” not seen since the end of WWII—as the effects of climate destruction are lessened and sustainable energy and living practices are embraced and implemented globally.  I would like to see it be led by the United States of America and other big past drivers of global warming; it is without a doubt the most important issue humanity must face.   Lots of things will change for the better once this truly gets underway; particularly for young people everywhere and those in developing nations who are at greatest risk from the runaway effects of climate change. 

Finding quiet time to think can be something of a luxury which I enjoy doing when I read a good book.

During 2018, I got through a few books that I took my time reading and thinking about; they are long but important books!  When Lin-Manuel Miranda read Hamilton it inspired him to write a musical because he thought Hamilton was a contemporary, interesting and vibrant figure.  If you read this book you know that it carefully examines the life and times of one of our greatest founding fathers and is written in a lively and masterful manner.  The author, Ron Chernow did a fantastic job.  Thanks to our kids, and my son in law’s Dad, Mark, we saw the play, Hamilton, this spring; it lived up to its positive notices.

That said, the book that captured my imagination in 2018, was Grant.  We heard Mr. Chernow talk about it at the Morristown (NJ) Book Festival in late 2017 and after a month-long trip to Asia I sat down and starting reading and thinking about it.   Like some people, my knowledge of Grant was limited.   Because I lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan during the mid-1970’s for a short time, I did get to see Grant’s Tomb, but I don’t recall thinking much about its significance as I walked by it on my way to playing softball and football in Riverside Park with my friends back then.   I must admit, I always liked the silly joke about who’s buried there.  Grant was such an unlikely person to become a great hero of our Nation, yet, he did.   After graduating from the US Military Academy, Grant entered the army and served bravely during the largely (today) unknown Mexican-American War of the 1840s, which resulted in a breathtaking gain in territory for the growing United States.  Chernow explains that it was during that war when Grant, who served under the able General Zachary Taylor,  felt a gnawing realization that there was something wrong about this war since it was largely about unjustly extending US territory and further promoting slavery.   Grant’s combination of introspection, personal modesty, deep intellectual gifts and military brilliance often disarmed people.  He was almost always so plainly attired and low key in his manner that even after he became a famous general, he went unrecognized in public.   He treated everyone with respect and deference while driving himself and his troops hard.  He persisted without concern for personal safety or comfort often at the front of the battle. His relentless approach led to key Union victories including at Vicksburg in 1863 and many others.  Grant was given command of the Army of the Potomac in a bid to finally end the war by putting a fighting general at its head.  Just like today the political infighting was fierce. 

What affected me most was Grant’s deep admiration of and respect for Lincoln.   Their stories are closely intertwined.  Lincoln was the brilliant and visionary politician striving to restore our Union while Grant was the tireless determined man on the battlefield who (very significantly) also wholeheartedly embraced Lincoln’s political ideals.  If Lincoln had not been so tragically assassinated, Civil War Reconstruction would have perhaps been our 16th President’s greatest achievement.  Lincoln wanted to bind the country’s wounds and work to restore our Union in a way that would be fair to all, particularly former slaves and working-class people in the south.  Grant would have gladly continued as Lincoln’s General during Reconstruction. He would have moved to decisively stamp out the resurgence of former confederates who violently and brutally strove to restore the undemocratic authoritarian excesses of their antebellum way of life. The failed presidency of Andrew Johnson set back many of the gains won on the battlefields and hobbled Lincoln’s vision of a restored Union.   When Grant was elected president, (after Johnson survived impeachment by just one vote in the Senate), Grant tried to do his best in a role that he never really wanted or was suited for.   Near the end of his life he suffered terrible financial losses that spurred him to finally write his brilliant memoir with encouragement and guidance from Mark Twain.  It helped to provide for his widow when he passed away just days after it was completed.

I went on to read Doris Kearns-Goodwin’s Team of Rivals which traces Lincoln’s rise from rail-splitter to president.  I loved learning about Lincoln’s sense of humor, deep intelligence and empathy for others and his uncanny ability to work effectively with cabinet members who often worked against him behind his back.  Lincoln was slow to anger, incredibly generous and forgiving while not weakening one iota when his central ideals and vision for our country were challenged.   What an incredible person; we were so very lucky that he was our president during the Civil War.  He was a man for all times.  

My takeaway from all this reading is ultimately, a hopeful one.   I believe that our country, despite our strong differences of opinion on myriad issues, retains an ability to restore itself and get back up after being knocked down—and then, become better and stronger.  

Personally, my wife Denise and I look forward to spending as much time as we can with our family while enjoying travel and other pursuits like swimming, golf, tennis, gardening, hiking and most recently—for me—oil painting.   Our long-time friend, and very accomplished artist, John Traynor, has taken me under his wing and is helping me learn about oil painting; an amazing endeavor.  I took part in a week-long painting workshop in October held at John’s studio and the surrounding countryside of West Swanzey, NH.  I am now supplementing John’s teachings with a slow and careful reading of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain which is a terrific way for anyone to learn how to draw!  Our son, Sloan, received his PhD from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong, (he looked great in his graduation picture).  Sloan and his colleagues are focused on building Lifespans, which is a medical devices company.  The first Lifespans product, a novel bone screw for spinal and hip applications, is expected to receive final FDA approval in Q1 2019.  Our daughter, Kendall, is always surprising us with her amazing talents and projects.   Lately, Kendall has become interested in embroidery.  She created an Advent Tree that features her beautifully embroidered “ornaments” She is also working on a new book!   Her kids—our grandchildren—take up the rest of her time while she and her husband, Dr. David Toniatti enjoy their lives together.  Dave is teaching economics for a few weeks at Dartmouth University this month where he is on loan from his job with the Analysis Group in Boston; I am sure his students will enjoy their class with him. 

I hope that your holiday time was relaxing and fun and that you also participated in the spirituality and peacefulness of the season with your family and friends.

Please take a minute to let me know how you are doing. It’s always great to hear from you.


Keith D. Kulper




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Keith D. Kulper

Founder & President

Keith D. Kulper is the president and founder of KULPER & COMPANY, LLC an executive search consulting firm working in the area of senior level leadership for academia and corporate innovation. We are strong advocates of nurturing the linkage between academic investigation/research and corporate innovation/full commercialization of new product solutions. We specialize in attracting proven leaders who can effectively drive transformational change. The firm operates an Advisory Board that meets annually to bring together leaders from academia and corporate innovation to help drive continuous improvement of our professional practice. We are also an investor in early stage companies. We take pride in supporting the growth and development of business and engineering schools at leading universities throughout the United States.