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Steve Bisciotti: From Recruiter to Ravens Owner

Flacco, Lewis, Rice, and Reed are just a handful of the high-profile players that helped lead the Baltimore Ravens to victory over the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans at Super Bowl XLVII.  Behind all of the high-profile players, though, is a man most of us have never seen:  Steve Bisciotti, the Ravens’ primary owner.

Fans may not be familiar with Bisciotti, the NFL’s second youngest owner, because he remained mum in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl (his first) and only agreed to talk to reporters the Thursday he landed in the Big Easy.  In the football world where Woody Johnson and Jerry Jones are just a small sample of the league’s most outspoken team owners, Bisciotti doesn’t mind his low-profile status and will gladly let others have the spotlight.  In his Ravens’ biography, he is quoted saying, “I’m O.K. if I’m one of the least-known owners in sports.”

Even though he stays behind the scenes, Bisciotti’s penchant for hiring the right people and his strategic recruitment of staff have in no doubt led the Ravens to their first Super Bowl victory in years.

How did Bisciotti develop the insight to know who exactly would work successfully as part of the Ravens staff?  A little known fact about the man behind the team is that at 23, shortly after graduating college, he started a small temporary staffing firm out of his basement with his cousin.  Today, his company, now known as the Allegis Group, is considered the largest privately held staffing firm in the country.

Colleagues have attributed Bisciotti’s success to his ability to make connections and build relationships when recruiting and hiring.  In a recent New York Times article, Brian Billick, former Ravens coach, comments on Bisciotti’s management approach.  Billick explains, “He built his fortune on relationships and is very much about that.  It’s not an ‘I’m in charge, do what I say’ mentality.  It’s an ‘I don’t care if you’re the ball boy or the head coach, we’ve got to create partnerships here.’  He hires people he trusts and then keeps a purposefully, painfully low profile.  He never wants to make it about him.”

To Alex Wright, a Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance division, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Bisciotti started his professional career in the staffing industry.  “Bisciotti’s management style is very indicative of the professionals who work in the staffing industry.   In my experience as a recruiter, you must be able to take a step back, stop talking, and listen to your clients and candidates in order to be successful.  A placement will only work if you can fully understand the needs of all involved.  Bisciotti certainly sees the value in listening, and I’m sure it’s helped him get to where he is today.”

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