About Mike Garnes, President, NLES
Michael L. Garnes is the President of Next Level Executive Search (NLES). NLES is a division of Next Level Sports, Inc., one of three companies Mr. Garnes has founded. His broad professional background includes experience in collegiate and professional sports, Fortune 500 and private companies, and senior-level leadership positions in the military. At Holland & Knight, a nationally-ranked law firm, he helped start the collegiate sports administration and compliance practice. In addition, he launched MyShot.net, the first online internet recruiting website for professional men and women basketball athletes.
Mr. Garnes has been tapped for his sports industry expertise by government entities and the media and is a frequent guest speaker on sports industry issues. He was the only non-lawyer member of the board which developed the athlete-agent licensure examination for the state of Florida. He also provided consultation to CBS for a 60 Minutes segment on diversity issues in NCAA Division I basketball.
As a former NCAA enforcement representative, as well as successful private investigator and professional athlete-agent, Mr. Garnes is a recognized authority in collegiate athletics and professional sports. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland (BA) and the University of New Mexico (MS) and also served as a Major in the U.S. Air Force. As an Air Force Reserve Intelligence Officer, Mr. Garnes was recognized for excellence in recruiting and was cited as being extremely effective in recruiting under critical timeframes.
In his community, Mr. Garnes serves as an advisor and mentor to young athletes at youth organizations, schools, and churches in the areas of leadership, character development, and career guidance, and provides counseling for prospective student-athletes during their college recruitment. He is passionate about and committed to promoting higher education, with a special emphasis on at-risk and minority groups.
At NLES, Mr. Garnes provides senior-level executive search and interim executive placement for clients who are seeking critical leadership solutions to their executive needs. He has developed programs for clients who recognize and understand the benefits of attracting, retaining and fully utilizing a diverse and talented executive leadership team. Mr. Garnes also acts as a consultant to sports-related businesses and organizations, as well as mid- to senior- level executives in the sports industry, advising them on career advancement and sports matters.
Mr. Garnes is currently the Vice-Chair of the National Association of Executive Recruiters (NAER) board, and has served and held office positions on numerous non-profit boards and sports advisory committees. He is currently based in St. Augustine, Florida.