Steve Garritson is leaving the security industry after 43 years, selling his share of H&S Protection to Co-Owner Mike Horgan. His last day with H&S will be December 31.
Steve and Mike have run H&S for 15 years after getting to know each other at Wisconsin security industry meetings some 20 years ago. At the time, both ran their own Wisconsin-based security companies, but as they compared notes over the years and recognized similarities in their business lines and approaches, they decided to join forces to capitalize on their complementary strengths.
Steve brought the operations expertise to the business, while Mike focused on the financial side. Steve plans to continue to be available as the business moves forward, helping with advice as needed.
“I’m happy for Steve. I’m glad he is able to take this next step for himself and his family. It will be a blow for me because we’ve had a good partnership. We have two different ways of thinking, and that makes our decision-making more solid. I will definitely still bounce ideas off him,” Horgan said.
Mike called their co-ownership the “right mix,” with Steve covering his area of expertise on the operations side. Ultimately though, Mike said Steve’s leadership transcended operations and crossed all areas of the business. “We had the ability to talk about things and one of us would have a different twist on the issue, and it would make you think, ‘Oh yeah, I hadn’t thought of that’,” Horgan explained.
Steve said he will miss the people, seeing the H&S team in the office, making coffee, chatting to catch up with employees. “That’s what I hated about Covid – I couldn’t handle being by myself in the house working. You learn more about people in five minutes face-to-face than you would otherwise,” Steve said.
He acknowledged the importance Mike provides H&S. “I know my limitations on finances. And Mike would provide the level-headed approach when I sometimes would fly off the handle. He helped us sit back and talk about things,” Steve observed.
With more free time, Garritson plans to head north to enjoy more time at his vacation home in Presque Isle, WI. He’s had a seasonal cabin for a number of years, and three years ago Steve and his wife Barbara closed on the Presque Isle home, about four-and-a-half hours north of Brookfield.
He has been spending a couple of weekends a month during the winter at the new home and would like to increase that time in retirement. “We spend as much time up there as we can during the summer. It’s awesome. We have five grandkids, ages 2-7, and it’s real fun for them at their ages,” he said.
Steve’s decision mindset started a couple of years ago, but the lake house lit the fire to make a final decision to sell his side of the business. “I think the lake house made Steve’s retirement more real and urgent,” Mike said.
Next Steps for H&S
As Steve moves into retirement and Mike assumes sole ownership of H&S, Mike Solomon and Steve’s son Ben will assume primary leadership roles at the Pewaukee office. Mike will continue his role as General Branch Manager and Ben will continue as Operations Manager. Both have been groomed for these duties over the past year or so. “The change will really be more that Steve is out of the picture. Mike and Ben have been working closely with us all along to prepare for the transition and their titles won’t change,” Horgan said.
“I’m going to miss Steve’s sense of humor and ability to make me laugh even when I don’t feel like laughing. He’s a great story-teller; spins a good yarn. Not everybody can do that,” Horgan continued.
Garritson will continue to serve the company on its Board of Directors, staying in contact with Mike when the need arises for additional advice or perspective on issues that arise.