Executive in Residence: Mike Harris
Mike Harris Mike Harris is a proven and prolific entrepreneur with three different companies named to the Inc. 500 List of Fastest Growing Private Companies in the last 20 years. He has been involved in two business success stories where the venture capital firms that funded his companies realized more than $300 million on invested capital of $9 million. Harris has significant experience in starting and building professional services firms â€“ and he also helps companies of any kind and size to plan and execute their growth strategies. The hallmarks of his companies are a very strong emphasis on client service and delivery of the best value proposition (high quality services at fair rates) among his competitors. Harris believes that integrating the values of a company into the daily sales and delivery process is critical for success. Harris is best known as the founder of Jefferson Wells, which he started in November of 1995 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Under his leadership as Chairman and CEO, the firm grew organically to 1,600 employees, 23 offices and annual sales of $131 million in just five years. Jefferson Wells has become a widely respected alternative to the Big 4 firms for a range of accounting and internal auditing services. Jefferson Wells was sold by Harris and his venture investors in July 2001 to Manpower International for $174 million in cash. The Inc. Magazine ranked Jefferson Wells as number five of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in America for 2001. The firm is now part of the Experis division of Manpower. Since selling Jefferson Wells, Harris has been quite busy with several ventures. In 2001, Harris founded Capital H, a professional services firm focused on consulting and outsourcing in the human resources niche. The firm was sold to a private investor group in 2003. In 2003, Harris founded and currently serves as Chairman of the Novo Group, a recruiting solutions firm headquartered in Milwaukee. In 2006, Harris founded Adams Harris, an accounting, tax and internal auditing firm which was merged into Accretive Solutions in 2012. In 2008, Harris founded Patina Solutions, where he currently serves as President and CEO. Patina Solutions is a compelling and timely professional services firm that provides accomplished professionals â€“ all of whom have 25 or more years of experience â€“ to help companies execute their initiatives, realize opportunities and develop leaders. Patina manages projects, provides interim executives, fills knowledge or resource gaps, leads successful change management and places Board members. Patina Solutions was named to the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing private companies in 2013. Harris is currently a Board member at Tax Air, a transportation services company in Milwaukee and Bentley World Packaging, a leading export and military packing firm in Milwaukee. He is regularly found helping entrepreneurs with business plans and advising them on capital matters. Mike is a frequent speaker on topics ranging from entrepreneurial spirit to transitioning from being CFO to CEO. Earlier in his career, and prior to forming Jefferson Wells, Harris was the Chief Financial Officer for Alternative Resources Corporation (ARC) of Barrington, Illinois. Harris helped this IT services firm get started in 1988 and then grow to a national company with multiple branches and hundreds of millions in sales. He led its very successful initial public offering on NASDAQ in May 1994. When Harris left ARC to start Jefferson Wells in late 1995, the market capitalization of ARC exceeded $600 million. ARC was also an Inc. 500 fastest growing company in the 1990s. Mike also has previous experience with Wind Point Partners, a venture capital firm, where he was the CFO, and with First Financial Corporation, a savings and loan, where he was Vice President-Accounting. He started his career with Ernst & Young in their audit division. Harris, a CPA, graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin- Parkside in Kenosha, Wisconsin. In his spare time, Mike enjoys tennis, golfing, auto racing, playing the guitar and cooking. Mike can be reached at 262.754.2230 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.