SkyWater Search Partners is a hybrid contingent fee and retained executive search firm that also provides specialized recruitment and representation services. Our seven practice areas are led by highly experienced executive recruiters who take great care in fully understanding client requirements and candidate qualifications.

Kurt Rakos, CPC   Partner
Kurt Rakos is a founder and Partner at SkyWater Search Partners. SkyWater is a "short list" search firm which is dedicated to the placement of Sales, Marketing, IT, Accounting/Finance, and HR related personnel. The company also has a highly specialized CPG (consumer packaged goods) industry-based practice group. In addition to his managerial responsibilities, Kurt represents a wide variety of companies ranging from early growth stage to Fortune 500. In March of 2013, SkyWater Search Partners was recognized as 'Best Places to Work' by the Minneapolis-St Paul Business Journal.

Prior to helping create and establish Skywater, Kurt Rakos was a Co-Founder and Partner of Minnesota’s largest search firm as ranked by Mpls/St. Paul Business Journal. Over the past decade Kurt has been viewed as an subject matter expert with his insight to the recruiting industry. He has been interviewed by a number of business publications, including Star Tribune, Minnesota Business and several on-line publications.

Listen to Kurt and the SkyWater Search Partners team as they will be featured weekly on KFAN and NEWS-TALK AM 1130 for their professional insight on recruiting and where the employment industry is heading in 2015.

His vast experience previous to entering the recruitment business has also proved to be an asset for Kurt’s career path and business partnership; he held several sales, management and executive positions at a multi-billion dollar Fortune 500 industry leading sales organization. Kurt holds a B.S. degree from St. Cloud State University. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children.


Paul Beard, Partner
A founding Partner of SkyWater Search Partners, Paul has spent his entire career dedicated to the highly competitive world of executive search. He works with many of Minnesota’s leading corporations as well as several early growth stage organizations. His depth of connections in the business community has allowed him to deliver quality work time after time.

Prior to SkyWater, Paul was President & CEO for Minnesota’s top ranked executive search firm. Prior to that he spent the first 12 years of his career working for the legacy search firm Hayden and Associates. As the youngest person ever hired by the firm, Paul quickly rose through the ranks, ultimately becoming responsible for the leadership of the entire organization.

Beard is a Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC) and has sat on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Association of Personnel Services (MAPS). In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters at their lake home in Northwest Wisconsin as well as hunting and golfing.


Tony Fornetti, CPA (inactive) Partner
Tony was a Partner and spent nine years with a leading Minnesota based executive search firm prior to founding SkyWater. He specializes in the placement of accounting and finance professionals ranging from Manager through Chief Financial Officer.  

Tony has seven years of progressive professional accounting experience, including time spent as an Audit Manager with Ernst & Young LLP and External Reporting Manager with SuperValu, Inc.

He earned a BBA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and currently maintains an inactive CPA. Tony resides in Victoria, MN with his wife and two daughters.


Adam Hoffarber, J.D.Managing Director
Adam brings sought-after technology expertise, an exceptional executive recruitment & legal background, and proven leadership to the SkyWater Search Partners IT practice. Prior to SkyWater, Adam was a Practice Director at Minnesota’s largest executive search firm for five years where he garnered numerous accolades including: #1 Annual Billings in company history; 2012 President’s Club Winner; #1 Quarterly Biller – seven times; Annual 110% President’s Club – four times, and Rookie of the Year in 2007 – surpassing 16 other recruiters as the top billing newcomer. Adam was also the youngest Senior Associate to be named Director and ultimately Practice Director in the history of the company.

Adam has been featured in a number of local and national publications including PC World, Computerworld Magazine and the Pioneer Press addressing strategic IT and mobile hiring issues in the Minnesota market. He also contributes to an "Ask the Expert" column in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

Adam graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management & Political Science, and received his Juris Doctor from the Hamline University School of Law. He is a licensed Minnesota attorney with a focus on employment law. Adam currently resides in Excelsior, enjoys golf, college basketball, and spending time at his family cabin near Brainerd.


Brian Rudolph, Managing Director
Brian Rudolph is a veteran consumer-packaged goods (CPG) recruiter who was a prime producer with a leading Minnesota based search firm. Now a Managing Director with SkyWater Search Partners, Brian continues to place candidates with CPG manufacturer’s account teams calling into Target, Best Buy and SuperValu in the Twin Cities, along with teams at Wal-Mart, Kroger and Walgreens. Positions range from Supply Chain, Category Analysts/Managers, Shopper Insights, National Account Managers and Team Leads – as well as corporate CPG VP positions across the country.

Rudolph joined a leading Minneapolis based search firm in 2003 and was a three-time recipient of the firm’s President's Club Award (2006, 2009 & 2011). The firm had been named in the Inc. 5000 for four consecutive years and the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s Fast 50 five times. The team had a combined 275 years of recruiting experience, and from 2005 -2012, they made 1,800 placements, 1,746 of which were Minnesota-based positions.

Prior to this, he was an Executive Recruiter with Hayden & Associates for nearly four years. He has a BA from St. Cloud State University and graduated Magna Cum Laude. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons, as well as music and outdoor activities.