Harvey Michaels: A Leading Saluki
October 27, 2017,
Harvey Michaels is a leader in every sense of the word. He developed numerous professional leadership skills through a 36-year career at Deloitte, one of the biggest consulting firms in the world. During his career at Deloitte he has had the opportunity to lead both service lines and geographical practices. Currently he serves as both a senior contracting partner and advisory partner on several Fortune 1000 company accounts. As a senior contracting partner Harvey leads negotiations with both global and domestic companies. Before his latest role changed, Harvey served as Deloitte’s lead client service partner to numerous Fortune 1000 accounts as well as their national consulting leader for middle-market businesses. Over time, Harvey has developed expertise in the energy and petrochemical industries.
Harvey began working at Deloitte in 1981 as an associate consultant in the Management Consulting Practice in Dallas, Texas. In 1988 he was asked to move to the Houston Office to help grow the Financial Consulting Practice. Harvey made partner in 1993. Currently, Deloitte has more than 260,000 employees globally who work in the areas of audits and assurance, taxes, advisory services and all areas of consulting. During his career, Harvey has worked with some of the biggest energy and Chemical companies around the globe. Harvey was specifically involved as national leader of the Insurance Claims practice with some of the largest insurance claims and their settlement. Harvey is both a Certified Management Consultant and a Certified Fraud Examiner.
Harvey is a double alumnus of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, graduating with his Bachelor of Science in accounting in 1979 and his Master of Business Administration in 1981. He originally came to SIU because of the smaller class sizes which meant more accessibility to the professors. The beauty of the place was an additional draw for him. During his time here, he enjoyed bass fishing in Campus Lake and nearby Southern Illinois lakes, was a member of the 1979 intramural Ultimate Frisbee Championship Team and was a teaching assistant for an undergraduate corporate finance class.
Reflecting on his SIU education, Michaels believes that it compares favorably to the best offered anywhere, and bases that on his experience working with and recruiting people from numerous institutions, including various Ivy League universities.
“SIU’s education stands up as well as these places,” he said.
Harvey believes that success is more about the individual person and their work ethic than anything else so he advises current students to be self-starters.
“America is the best place for opportunities for those who want to work hard. It doesn’t matter where you start. If you have a fire in your belly, just go and make something of yourself, our country is filled with opportunities. Don’t count on others, count on yourself,” he said.
Harvey acknowledges that it is just as important to understand that there are many obstacles people will encounter in achieving their goals. He admits that at one point he had collected a stack of rejection letters. Never losing his sense of humor, however, he discovered a great way to dispose of them after he obtained a position at Deloitte and Touche Consulting.
“During the spring break of my second year of graduate school, I headed to Dallas to interview with numerous Professional Firms and Companies. I had spent time in Texas and decided that opportunity was in the Lone Star state. I pounded the pavement and interviewed the entire week. Touche Ross, the predecessor Firm that merged with Deloitte asked me back and made me an offer. Once I received confirmation of my position, I went back to my apartment and with my roommates, took the stack of 70-plus rejection letters, put them on the grill, doused them with lighter fluid, and celebrated,” he shared.
Harvey had a very humble start as he was raised by his Grandparents and his ill mother who was unable to work. Given this background he has founded a scholarship for incoming College of Business freshman to help students like himself have the opportunity to be successful.
Harvey’s favorite quote is from one his early mentors, “It’s not where you start, but where you finish.”