"As we build the ‘new First Data’, we have used executive search for several key positions. Usually, we use one of the big national firms. A I Partners produced more high quality candidates than we expected and we hired an outstanding person as a result. Their scope and reach was equal to any firm while providing a higher touch experience.”

Barry McCarthy,
EVP & Group Head, Consumer and Network Solutions, First Data

"One of the most critical contributions I can make as a mentor or board member is to help provide guidance on how to build a highly effective executive team. I can think of no better way to facilitate this effort than to recommend an executive search firm like AI Partners that has a track record of being able to match executive talent with the opportunities they are ideally suited.”

Fran Dramis
CEO, F. Dramis, LLC

Current Boards: Damballa, Nanolumens
Previous Boards: US Oncology, Avocent, WebMethods, Urjanet, Netezza, Ditech Networks, RealOps

“I’ve had great success working with the principals of AI Partners for years. They placed me in my current position as CEO of Omnilink and have played an instrumental part in helping me build my executive teams at various companies. AI Partners has access to the best talent in the Southeast and really knows how to find the right person for each situation.”

Kelly Gay
CEO, Omnilink

(A Grotech Ventures Portfolio Company)
Former CEO-KnowledgeStorm

“It’s great that Jeff Neppl and Joe Payne have joined forces to form AI Partners. They truly understand the Venture Capital and Private Equity eco-system better than anyone in the Southeast. They have access to all the key players in the region which enables them to help companies get the right executives in place quickly.”

Jeff McConnell
CEO, Whisper Communications

(Former CEO-iKobo)

“AI Partners knows the landscape and how to attract the very best executive talent. They helped bring us together with one of the top operations oriented CFO’s in the city. They assist us with more than just search – we have been able to tap into them as a true advisor. I believe their previous experience as C-level executives uniquely positions them with the skills to work in an advisory capacity assisting me as I build my company. I truly value this type of approach.”

Jay Ethridge
CEO, Implantable Provider Group

#5 on Forbes List of Most Promising Companies
A Sequoia Capital Portfolio Company

“A top concern for any VC or Private Equity backed company is getting the right executive team in place otherwise it will cost you time and lost opportunity. The leadership at AI Partners has access to senior executives and key sources across the southeast. Additionally, they have been executives in VC/PE environments and know from their own experience what it takes for an executive to succeed. AI Partners is the best choice as a resource to assist in getting a great team in place.”

Mike Scarbrough
CEO, Nextraq

(A Francisco Partners Portfolio Company)

“I’ve spent more than two decades investing in early-stage technology companies. There is no greater obstacle to success for an entrepreneur then making bad hires at the executive level. AI Partners understand the needs of early-stage companies and are highly successful in finding the right people.”

Sig Mosley
Managing Partner, Mosley Ventures
President, Imlay Investments

“The partners at AI Partners have done an excellent job recruiting executives at several of my portfolio companies. They understand the importance of making effective and timely hiring decisions at early-stage companies. Joe has provided the highest level of service, and I would readily work with him and his partners again. I highly recommend them.

Steve Fredrick
General Partner, Grotech Ventures

"Whether as an employee, partner or board member, my formula for the type of companies that are exciting to be associated with focuses on three key areas.  A disruptive model that will create a different point of view versus doing the same thing as everyone else and claiming to do it better, exceptional employees and leadership that work together as a team and a strong passion for ongoing customer success.  My experience in working with Joe and Jeff at AI Partners clearly fits these criteria, both from the perspective of the executives they have placed and AI's approach to the market.  Very beneficial to have a partner like AI." 

Ken Walters
Former President & COO, Infor

Current Boards: Izenda, QASymphony, Revegy, MatsSoft, LogFire, Easy Solutions
Previous Boards: Trusted Network Technologies, Cambia Security


No executive search firm knows the Southeast better.

If you’re hiring or looking for an executive position in this the Southeast, you should be working with AI Partners. No other search firm has as many ties or stronger relationships here.



We’ve sat in your seat for years.

AI Partners have a deep understanding of the executive positions we search to fill. We’ve either performed those jobs ourselves, or directly supervised executives who did.



The Right Fit

We only put candidates in front of you that fit.

We’re extremely good at assessing the skills, attitude and cultural fit that will lead to job satisfaction – and business success.




All searches are not equal.

While most executive search firms still adhere to the traditional pricing model, we don’t think that makes sense in today’s world. We take a completely different approach to pricing.



“There is a reason why AI Partners is the respected leader in executive search in the Southeast. It’s our experienceconnections and uncanny ability to help identify the individuals that fit a company’s executive needs best. We’ve placed executives in companies ranging from early-stage to the Fortune 20.”

We’ve sat in your seat.

We have the innate ability to understand the perspective of our clients and candidates.

The leadership of AI Partners has extensive executive management experience with companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 20 businesses. Combined with over 20 years in retained executive search, we are uniquely positioned to pull from this experience to know which skills and attributes go together and which don’t. This helps us evaluate candidates more effectively and work with our clients as a respected, trusted partner.


At AI Partners, our retained search process focuses on presenting you with qualified, highly motivated candidates – fast. We work as an extension of your organization providing personalized service that hones in on the attributes that will best fit your needs. Our process is thorough and helps expedite the entire search effort.

Here is how we work