Mike Harris, 48, is a proven and prolific entrepreneur. He has been involved in two business success stories where the venture capital firms that funded his companies earned more than $300 million on invested capital of $9 million. Mike has significant experience in starting and building professional and technical services firms and he also helps companies of any kind to plan and execute 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, especially in the services business. .
Harris is best known as the founder of Jefferson Wells (www.jeffersonwells.com) in November 1995 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Under his leadership as Chairman and CEO, the firm grew organically to 1,600 employees, 26 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 financial services. Jefferson Wells was sold 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.
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.
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.
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 and operates today under the name Capital H Group. Also in 2001, Harris founded the Sagence Group (www.sagencegroup.com), an information technology consulting firm where he currently serves on the Board. In 2003, Harris founded and currently serves as Chairman of the Novo Group, a customized recruiting solutions firm headquartered in Milwaukee (www.thenovogroup.com). In 2006, Harris founded Adams Harris (www.adamsharris.com), an accounting, tax and internal auditing firm headquartered in Chicago where he serves as Chairman. In 2008, Harris founded Patina Solutions (www.patinasolutions.com) a unique professional services firm using the talents and experience of those aged 50 and up to serve clients.
Harris is a Board member or advisor for several mature and start-up private companies including Tax Air, a transportation services company in Milwaukee and Welton Enterprises, a Madison-based commercial real estate company. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Prairie School in Racine and is a frequent speaker on topics ranging from entrepreneurial endeavors to transitioning from CFO to CEO.
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 golfing, tennis, auto racing, playing the guitar and cooking. Mike can be reached at (262) 639 -2488 or via email at email@example.com.