Coffee Break with Mike Armitage, owner and president, Armitage & Associates Investigative Services Inc.

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

“We prepared for the expected increase in work volume due to the current mortgage meltdown. Our recruitment process has been fine-tuned and has resulted in hiring and retaining excellent employees. We moved our offices into the Third Ward to accommodate the increase in personnel and expected growth of the company in mortgage-related and general investigations. Five years ago, we had no mortgage cases, and today we are the largest company in the nation to investigate mortgage fraud. The quality of the personnel here has made this happen.”

What’s new at your company?

“New location and new faces. This includes an addition to our management staff who will focus on developing new business in mortgage-related and other investigative fields.” 

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

“We plan to hire four more people within the next few months. If things go as planned, we may be taking on additional space in the next year or so adjacent to our current location. Depending upon how successful we are with diversifying our company, we may hire even more staff. We are in a very fortunate and unique position where the bad economy has actually benefited us.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

“Being able to keep up with the workload. The hiring process has also been a challenge.  Our expectations of new employees are high. We found out how costly and time-consuming it is to have a bad hire. It is so important that we can deliver a quality work product to our clients. Turnaround time is crucial. Slow turnaround times cost our clients money. NFL-related work also takes a high priority and is something I have to handle personally. It is challenging to keep all the balls in the air.”

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

“As far as traditional investigative work, due diligence has become much more important for businesses. More companies today are using investigators to conduct thorough backgrounds on top-level executives before they offer them a position. Companies are also using firms like ours to vet businesses that they may want to invest in or acquire. On the mortgage side, more safeguards will be put into place by financial institutions to avoid this type of mortgage crisis again.”

Do you have a business mantra?

“Very simple. Give the client a quality product in a timely manner. Try to exceed the expectations of your client every day. And never, ever become complacent. There is always a competitor at your heels waiting to take your business away.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

“Bob Harlan, former president of the Green Bay Packers. I was fortunate enough to observe him over the years. He treated both his staff and the fans with respect. He was approachable, listened to what you had to say and was genuinely sincere. He would let you do your job with little interference, whether you were the general manager of the team or worked in the ticket office. As a fan, you could call the Packer offices ask for him, and he would pick up the phone. He was involved in the community. People respected him.”

What was the best advice you ever received?

“Surround yourself with good people, be fair and treat them with respect. And as a leader, there is no small gesture that goes unnoticed.”

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?

“As part of my responsibilities with the NFL, we are on the field during the game to ensure there are no security-related problems. I was at a game in Minnesota a few years ago with my boss, the head of security for the NFL. He pointed out a gentleman standing on the field who had no business being there so he told me to confront him and tell him to leave. I look over, and it is Evander Holyfield. I walk over, respectfully ask him to leave and he complies with no problem. I thought, I just threw the former heavyweight champ of the world off the field. I now had the confidence to do anything!”

Address: 320 E. Buffalo St., Milwaukee
Industry: Traditional and mortgage fraud investigations
Number of employees: 20
Education: B.S. in accounting at Illinois State University
Family: Daughter, Katie; and sons, Patrick and Matt
What do you like to do in your free time? “Ride my Harley with my girlfriend, Tory, workout and spend time with my kids.”



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