Dan Ellis, CPA, Managing Director    


Dan Ellis helps companies find and recruit top talent and connects experienced professionals and executives with exclusive career advancement opportunities. He joined Townsend Search Group in 2013 and brings deep business understanding informed by career experience in public accounting and consulting. Dan has a top placement rate providing guidance to middle-market companies and advisory firms with a special focus on working with private equity groups and their portfolio companies. He is industry agnostic and consults with clients and candidates with candor and professionalism to build meaningful, genuine and long-term relationships.


Prior to joining Townsend Search Group, Dan was a senior professional with two regional public accounting firms, where he led accounting engagements focused on privately held companies in manufacturing and distribution, automotive supply, construction, food and beverage, real estate, professional services and other industries. He later joined the Transaction Services Team at Plante Moran and specialized in performing financial due diligence services for acquisitions by private equity funds, their portfolio companies, and strategic buyers. 


Dan earned a business administration degree from Western Michigan University and is a registered CPA. He’s a board member of the ACG Detroit Chapter, playing a role in making it the best professional organization of its kind on a global scale. Off the clock, he’s an avid skier, endurance athlete, outdoor enthusiast, and resides in Traverse City with his wife and son.

I like meeting and working with smart, like-minded, business professionals to create success for both clients and candidates. During the search journey, I comfortably talk with people on the manufacturing floor, then an hour later discuss with executives in the boardroom their perspectives on the business. I enjoy getting people to talk, listening as they open up about their motivations and values.”



Dan’s entry to the work world was at his father’s Detroit-area manufacturing company. Eager to follow his father to work, he swept shop floors, made deliveries and performed other plant chores. With parents who came from modest means, Dan knew that the business was built upon hard work and bootstrapping resolve, motivating him to work hard.  Eventually he moved up to CAD parts design, cutting steel and operating machinery. Lifeguarding helped him further burn off any left-over energy.

It made sense to strike out for college to become a mechanical engineer. Yet a disinterest in subjects like calculus and thermodynamics – plus the 9/11 attacks his first week of college – set him questioning. He pivoted to accounting, seeing its role as a foundation of business. Dan realized career success as a CPA, but eventually found himself itching for something more entrepreneurial. His sociability and acumen in connecting with people made him different from others in his field, leading him to find Townsend Search Group. 

Dan works hard and plays hard. He has completed several 140.6 and 70.3-mile IRONMAN triathlons and over a dozen marathons and ultramarathons, in addition to countless other running, biking and swimming events. He’s passionate for everything outdoors. Downhill skiing led him to meet his wife. Both coached and instructed at different hills and were introduced through mutual friends. The two are together raising a son in Traverse City. 


Dan does not like ranch dressing.