Mike’s comprehensive and versatile information technology expertise ranges from financial assurance services to detailed manufacturing planning solutions. Over his 35-year career, he has helped clients reengineer their business processes and adopt comprehensive, cost-efficient IT management and planning systems.
Mike is an IT industry pioneer. Early in his career, while employed as an accountant at Ernst & Young, Mike championed the adoption of the first personal computers to execute financial audits. He led the EY’s initiative to train over 1,000 professionals in North and South America to use automation and data analytics to more efficiently conduct Fortune 500 company audits while simultaneously decreasing audit risk.
Having grown up on a farm and worked for several family owned manufacturing companies, Mike was intrigued by the adaptive, creative nature of small business and their persistent, risk–taking spirit. EY Audit Partners frequently asked him to assist their small clients with financial system challenges which introduced Mike to the large industry gap in providing software and services to mid-market companies.
In 1994, Mike founded Corterra Solutions (formerly Heartland Business Systems), where he capitalized on the opportunity to provide mid-market businesses with the same leading-edge information technology leveraged by Fortune 500 firms. To meet the challenges of delivering system solutions to the mid-market, Mike adopted the following principles allowing Corterra to flourish:
Low-Cost, High-Value Services – Mid-market companies have limited funding. Mike adopted the Microsoft Suite of enterprise tools to enable clients to rapidly adapt their processes using more cost-efficient and flexible technology that adds value to their bottom line. Corterra’s tools and techniques allowed clients to deploy Fortune 1000 ERP functionality at 10 percent of the cost. As an example, they helped a global manufacturing and distribution company replace a 40-year-old system with an accumulated $60 million investment for less than $5 million, and simultaneously reduced the annual support footprint to twenty percent of the previous cost annual cost.
Ownership and Accountability – Entrepreneurs have little time for systems projects. For ERP deployments to succeed, the Corterra team needed to take complete ownership of the project. Mike created a culture of accountability for every phase of system implementation to ensure success for clients and for Corterra. Mike attributes his “just get ‘er done” entrepreneurial mindset to his days growing up on a farm.
Competitive Differentiation – Deploying a system to meet the client’s competition was not sufficient. Corterra consistently deployed systems that allowed their clients to adapt faster, execute decisions quicker, and deliver higher quality services and products. Mike led Corterra Solutions to participate in client strategic planning and understand the client’s long-term plans. In fact, some of Corterra clients’ business owners attribute their wealth to Corterra’s impact on their business. Corterra helped prepare clients for more lucrative mergers and acquisition deals, often increasing their business value by over 20 percent, and as high as 50 percent.
Mike holds several Board roles: the Downers Grove Economic Development Commission, Choose DuPage Economic Development Commission, Rev3 DuPage Incubator, and Information Technology Advisor Board Member at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Mike holds a Masters in Business Administration in Finance from the University of Chicago, and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Information Systems from the University of Illinois. He is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Information Systems Auditor, and Certified Production and Inventory Management.