Michael Kirkman

Position: Managing director of the greater Washington region for Korn/Ferry, an executive search firm headquartered in Los Angeles.

Career highlights: Kirkman joined Korn/Ferry after it acquired Kirkman & Searing, a search firm that he had co-founded. He is also managing director for Korn/Ferry's association/public policy practice.

Age: 47

Education: Earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business.

How has the emergence of this region's technology sector affected your line of work? "Our business is fundamentally divided into two markets: our traditional downtown D.C. practice and our technology clients in the Tysons Corner area. This [latter] market is the engine that's driving much of our growth. This group has really taken compensation from what was once a linear model to one that is decidedly non-linear: The old framework of base and bonus has been changed to include stock options, among other things ... which makes it much more variable. It also gives this group more mobility, a greater ability to create wealth in a shorter period of time, and ultimately makes them less loyal."

With more job-seekers going online to initiate their search, doesn't this same sector threaten to drive a wedge between you and your clients? "A lot of people feel that the Internet will cannibalize this business, since there's a lot more power now in the hands of the job-seeker. Call that a supply-side equation change, but the Internet is doing just that. I think what we'll likely see down the road is that the two sides will converge. The power that we have is in the global base of information on the people and the opportunities we're representing."