Bravo! Winner: Michael Coakley, managing partner, C.H. Coakley & Company

Michael T. Coakley

Managing Partner

C.H. Coakley & Co. Inc.

2151 N. Martin Luther King Dr., Milwaukee  

Revenue: $12 million

Employees: 105

In the 1980s, the last thing Michael Coakley wanted to do was move back to Wisconsin, his home state. He was a bachelor in Chicago, enjoying success and the city life.

But when his father became ill, he grabbed the reins of the family business and hasn’t looked back.

Coakley is a managing partner at C.H. Coakley & Co. Inc. The commercial moving company known as Mayflower launched by Coakley’s father in the late 1970s, now also includes services in information management.

Running a family business is never easy, but the Coakley family’s long line business leaders has kept the company’s reputation intact. Maintaining a good reputation has been key to the company’s success, Coakley says.

“Milwaukee is not a small city, it is a big town,” Coakley said. “The best salesman is my existing clientele. If you’re doing business well,” success will naturally follow, he says.

The company provides off-site archives, record retention, secured data, document imaging and destruction solutions for some of southeast Wisconsin’s biggest companies. In 2011, the firm generated more than $12 million in revenue.

Coakley credits his father for the firm’s stability, saying he instilled the importance of diversification and operating a company without long term debt. By the time Coakley became a managing partner, the company owned three of its ten locations free and clear.

“We’re in the commercial moving and information management business, but we’re also in real estate,” Coakley said. He added that owning the buildings helped keep the company healthy during the recession.

C.H. Coakley prides itself on managing growth versus growth for its own sake. Coakley says strategic thinking is not only healthy for the immediate success of the firm, but important in the long run.

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