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Career 180s with Mike Harris – 4-16-17

March 11, 2017

Have you ever considered making a dramatic career change that would leapfrog you from one industry to another, or from one skill set to one that is completely different?  For those who hit a career plateau or feel stalled, a significant shift might be just what is called for! The prospect of such a big decision can be scary, and yet exciting too, but requires personal reflection and forethought.  This week we speak with an entrepreneur and author who looked closer as the dynamics of making a career shift and will share what he learned to help others who are considering this option to help them feel re-invigorated about their work.

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. 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 for four straight years from 2013-2016.

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.

Mike is the author of the book Career 180s that is available on Amazon:

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

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