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The Business of Making Ideas Happen with Mike Harris – 2-28-15

February 9, 2015

Some people are simply born to be creative generators of ideas, and some people are particularly astute at evaluating ideas to determine which have the potential to become successful.  Our guest this week embodies both…..a proven, successful entrepreneur in his own right, but also a successful venture capitalist, skilled at identifying the true opportunity that lies within a good idea.  We are honored to have him here this week to help us get insight into his process of discerning which ideas can truly become a successful reality.

Mike HarrisCroppedMike 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. Mike 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.  Inc. Magazine ranked Jefferson Wells as number five of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in America for 2001.  The firm is now a division of Manpower.

Since selling Jefferson Wells, Harris has been busy with several ventures, including founding and subsequently selling Capital H, a professional services firm, the Novo Group, a recruiting solutions firm and Adams Harris, an accounting, tax and internal auditing firm.

In 2008, Harris founded Patina Solutions, where he currently serves as President and CEO.  Patina Solutions is a professional services firm that provides accomplished professionals – all of whom have 25 or more years of experience – 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.

Mike also has 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.

Mike is a frequent speaker on topics ranging from entrepreneurial spirit to transitioning from being CFO to CEO. Harris, a CPA, graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin- Parkside.  In his spare time, Mike enjoys tennis, golfing, auto racing, playing the guitar and cooking.

For more information about Mike Harris and Patina Solutions, go to

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