I have known Mike for more than a decade, and worked closely with him on several projects as part of the GrowthPhases alliance of consulting professionals, which he founded in 2001, as well as at Kendall College while I was Dean of its School of Business. Mike is a very driven, effective, and intellectually creative professional, who is able to draw on a broad set of skills in order to successfully solve complex business problems. Through his thought leadership and executive ability, Mike and I have achieved several significant milestones and accomplishments, including:

(1) Development of the GrowthSpaces ® Strategy Framework, which companies successfully use to develop and implement internal and external growth strategies for their business units;

(2) Development and implementation of the GrowthPhases® Business Model, a success-based revenue model that allows clients to reduce consulting fees in return for results based compensation, equity participation, or options, as appropriate;

(3) Joint business development work for marquee clients in the telecommunications, financial services, private equity, and proprietary education market;

(4) Development and delivery of a number of high quality college-level courses for the School of Business at Kendall College, including corporate strategy, organizational design, marketing, marketing management, leadership, and business law;

(5) Achievement of the highest average instructional ratings (i.e., "Very Good/Excellent") from formal student evaluations for every class taught at the School of Business;

(6) Creation of the Kendall Institute concept – think tank dedicated to bringing together different perspectives and functional disciplines to address important business topics; and

(7) Development of the "Lean Beyond the Factory Floor" Symposium concept that applies the Toyota Production System framework to the services industries.

If you have any questions about my perspective on working with Mike Harley, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best regards,
Sascha Cocron
Founding Dean, the School of Business at Kendall College

"I worked with Mike Harley from 2001-2004 during our time at Schneider Electric. As the Company’s Chief Development Officer, Mike led the M&A organization for North America as well as Automation & Control business which we made our number one growth priority.  Mike led this business and the M&A organization during a period of intense external growth.  The acquisitions that were kept separate and non-integrated, reported to Mike. He was accountable for the results of each acquisition and oversaw the execution of the acquisition plan and their synergies.

During my time at EFI Electronics, we exceeded all of our financial and non-financial targets. Mike fostered a culture of growth orientation coupled with productivity improvements. Mike supported the creation of a Lean Thinking culture at EFI and we utilized a combination of Growth Phases executives along with Shingijutsu, a Japanese consultant. Every year we achieved 8-13% labor productivity as a result of these efforts. We grew operating earnings from breakeven to over 20%.

Through Mike’s leadership, an executive team consisting of subsidiary Presidents was also created. Through this team, a high performance atmosphere was created. This team shared best practices and expertise with each other which were leveraged to the advantage of each subsidiary. This atmosphere of cooperation that Mike created was greatly appreciated by the team and led to additional unplanned value creation.

Terry H. O’Neal
Former President & Chief Operating Officer, Kavlico Corporation
Former President, EFI Electronics Corporation"

Working with and for Mike Harley (Mike has been a GrowthPhases ® Executive since 2000 when GrowthPhases ® was created), I successfully implemented a sales and profit growth program in the Fall of 2003 at Schneider Electric which we called the Industry Market Blitz. The Blitz yielded a year over year fourth quarter revenue growth and a growth in profit in our Industry Market Business Unit. Using similar techniques, Mike Harley also led a year to year and a half long Company wide Contribution Margin Improvement Initiative starting in 2002 which assisted my business unit's efforts in developing a sales growth program focused on our higher margin products.  The results of that initiative accross Schneider Electric's North American $2.4B P&L were dramatic: a 4% improvement in Operating Earnings and a 3-4% improvement in contribution margins.

The techniques that Growthphases uses and that Mike led us to use as head of our Growth Business/Acquisitions P&L helped our Industrial Automation value add business unit (a $30 million business unit) increase revenue and profit by implementing "Lean Thinking" strategies and measurements.  This program effectively increased our productivity 6% and helped our team build an employee driven program for continuous process improvement.  They truly helped us spark a greater level of pride of ownership among the employees in this business unit.

Mike Harley also worked with us as Chief Strategist to identify potential acquisition targets that would complement our current business and give us a competitive advantage.  Mike helped us see the potential improvement these acquisitions could have on our product offer, channels to market, solutions offer improvement, and profitability. Within two years of starting the acquisition strategy review process, Schneider Electric completed over $2B of acqusition revenue growth globally and $750M of acquisition revenue growth in North America.

Reagan Huff:; Former VP Sales, Industry Market Business, Schneider Electric;   Project Manager / Treasurer,
Bayou Mechanical, Inc.

Schneider Electric is a 12 turnover Electrical Distribution and Industrial Control global company, the consistent best performer among its world-wide peers. It is better known in the US under its leading brand name Square D. My role is to identify, build, operate and transfer global business opportunities. Competitive advantages are delivered thanks to strong project and change management skills.

To summarize the details below, my Company is thankful to its interface with a GrowthPhases® Executive for the competitive advantages he brought throughout his two main missions with us, on Mergers, Acquisitions and Post-Acquisition, and as Industry Market General Manager. What makes the difference was his ability to :

  • identify the key business opportunities and levers,
  • team up the most competent resources in our Company on these opportunities despite cultural barriers
  • deliver performance through persistent stimulation of the team's motivation.

I must add that our GrowthPhases ® Executive is a pleasant person to work with as collegue and partner.

On the basis of this success, our Executive was assigned the additional mission of making profitable one of our business units in North America in 3 years.  He started with our support a transverse project of 7 initiatives (ranging from internal, external growth, operations restructuring, JVs, and alliances, lean manufacturing and product cost reduction programs) to create awareness and momentum, to finally found the BU and become its General Manager.

He implemented special tactics such as :

  • sales improvement tactics and Market Blitzes, which met their sales target on 2 out of 3 key product lines;
  • Productivity Program in the Non-Integrated Businesses exceeding our 5% productivity targets,
  • a Division Wide (NA) Contribution (Profit Improvement Initiative) on a $2.4B P&L
  • an Acquisition Strategy Project with France, which yielded 7 major businesses acquired

 – Olivier Lizon-Tati, Vice-President for Globalization &
Industry Global Projects for Schneider Electric

"Mike Harley (Now A GrowthPhases® Executive on Loan Since 2000 When GrowthPhases® was Created) was a key figure in the Fine Chemical Division's growth & Acquisition strategy for pharmaceutical intermediates and fine chemicals. He provided sound leadership skills in the acquisition of manufacturing sites in the UK & Hong Kong, and the assessment of numerous sites in the USA. The methodology he developed in the due diligence process, and his negotiating skills with vendors were invaluable in the successful acquisition & integration of these sites.

He participated strongly in the Pharmaceuticals Growth Initiative, and again developed excellent business processes and methodology for the critical assessment of strategy alternatives. Mike is extremely diligent and persistent, but is at the same time a highly personable and up-beat individual to work with. I greatly enjoyed his company and the personal contribution he made to the success of our division."

Dr John W Harrison, Business Director,
Eastman Fine Chemicals (retired).

“Your leadership made the difference!  Not only with the acquisition process itself, but also integration planning as well…what a difference experienced leadership makes.  We searched our core markets and explored adjacent markets…our hard work paid off with multiple acquisitions and industry roll-ups.  It was a blast working with you…your leadership and experience truly made the difference!”

Dennis W. Wells
Former:   VP-Corporate Development-Schneider Electric NA
Current:   VP-Lithonia Lighting

“I have enjoyed working with you … and found your skills invaluable in helping us take this project to the level I initially envisioned (and WAY BEYOND). I hope you will want to enter into a long term relationship.”

– Leading Multinational Corporation  

“I appreciate your hard work, analysis and insights … Most excellent!!! The project squarely addressed issues of most concern to senior management. Thanks for contributing to the success of our company.”

– Major U.S. Telecommunications Carrier

“Just wanted to let you know that the presentation to management went well this morning. All of your hard work paid off! Although challenging, the project was very enjoyable for me personally. A large part of that enjoyment was working with you. I learned a lot by being exposed to your expertise and experience. It was truly a pleasure working with you.”

– Fortune 500 Company

"Your expertise in strategy development and due diligence was invaluable in helping us assess numerous global business growth options, including domestic supply chain integration and international acquisition candidates"

– Former Senior Vice President,
M.A. Hanna Company, Cleveland, Ohio