We are thrilled and grateful to have the insights and experience of some of the area’s most committed and innovative business leaders.

Novo helps you dread recruiting less!

​​​Mike Harris - Chairman
Mike Harris,  is a proven and prolific entrepreneur.  He has been involved in two business success stories where the venture capital firms that funded his companies earned more than $300 million on invested capital of $9 million.  Mike has significant experience in starting and building professional and technical services firms, and he also helps a variety of different companies to plan and execute growth strategies. Harris is best known as the founder of Milwaukee’s Jefferson Wells (  Under his leadership as Chairman and CEO, the firm grew organically to 1,600 employees in 23 offices, with annual sales averaging $131 million from 1996-2000.  Jefferson Wells has become a widely respected alternative to the Big 4 firms for a range of internal audit, tax, and accounting services.  Harris and his investors sold Jefferson Wells in July 2001 to Manpower International for $174 million in cash.  The Inc. Magazine ranked Jefferson Wells as number five on their list of 500 fastest-growing private companies in America in 2001.
Prior to forming Jefferson Wells, Harris was the Chief Financial Officer for Alternative Resources Corporation formerly of Barrington, Illinois.  In 1988, Harris helped this IT services firm get started and then expand nationwide, with multiple branches and hundreds of millions in sales.  He led its very successful initial public offering on NASDAQ in May 1994.
Mike also has previous experience with Wind Point Partners, a venture capital firm where he was the CFO, and with First Financial Corporation, a savings and loan where he was Vice President of Accounting.  He started his career with Ernst & Young in their audit division.  He is a graduate of UW-Parkside (1982) and holds a CPA designation.

Kelly Renz - President & CEO
The Novo Group, has joined forces with inVantage, a Milwaukee HR consulting firm started recently by Kelly Renz. Renz was named President and CEO of the combined company which will operate as the Novo Group.

 “Novo has been delivering talent acquisition solutions to companies since 2003. As we move forward Kelly Renz brings us outstanding HR, recruiting and leadership skills and she will help us to expand the solutions we offer our clients,” said Mike Harris, Chairman and founder of Novo. “Kelly was just getting started building inVantage and I am pleased we could combine operations now and bring her energy, network and experience to Novo.”
Before starting inVantage in 2015, Renz was the VP Organizational Effectiveness for CoreLogic and the Chief Human Resources Officer for Decision Insight Information Group/Marshall & Swift/Boeckh before it was acquired by CoreLogic in 2014. She also held executive and HR leadership roles with CIELO, AQS, Clifton Gunderson and Target. She is a graduate of UW-Milwaukee and has a Masters of Human Resource Management from Keller Graduate School of Management. Renz has extensive experience with international recruiting, RPO models, recruitment strategy, talent planning and recruitment systems and tools. “Kelly has an excellent background to lead Novo as she has built and delivered on major recruitment efforts around the globe for some leading organizations,” added Harris.

Barbara Kennedy - Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Encore Capital Group
Barbara J. Kennedy is Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Encore Capital Group. Ms. Kennedy is responsible for human resources globally, including talent acquisition and management, employee relations, total rewards, and developing and implementing a wide range of department initiatives that align with Encore’s business objectives.
Ms. Kennedy joined Encore Capital Group in 2014 after more than five years at United Stationers Supply Company where she was senior vice president of Human Resources. During that time, she has also served on the Board of Directors for the Human Resources Management Association of Chicago (HRMAC), Meals on Wheel and the Novo Group.
Ms. Kennedy received her Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Michael Kops - Vice President of Key Accounts, Heartland Advisors, Inc.
Michael Kops is Vice President of Key Accounts. He is responsible for business development with bank trusts.  He also oversees relationships with direct shareholders and high net worth clients for Heartland Advisors’ separately managed accounts. He began at Heartland in 2009,  and he has eleven years of industry experience. 

He previously held a variety of business development and leadership roles at Strong Capital Management and was an advisor with Morgan Stanley. He also was an executive with The Novo Group, where he provided strategic business development and talent consultation to senior-level company executives, and he remains a member of the Board of Directors today.
Michael holds a B.B.A in Finance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Outside of the office, Kops supports the Bavarian Soccer Club and enjoys spending time with his wife and two children in the North Woods of Wisconsin. He also is a community service advocate and is a Board Member with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Paul A. Stewart - Co-founder, PS Capital Partners
For over twenty-five years, Paul has developed significant experience in a wide range of private equity investing, from venture capital to leveraged buyouts and re-capitalizations.  Paul and his partner, Paul Sweeney, established PS Capital Partners in 2001 to execute an  “invest, build and hold” strategy, focused on manufacturing and process businesses located in the Upper Midwest.  Before forming PS Capital Partners, Stewart and Sweeney were partners at Horizon Partners, a middle market buyout firm, where they were involved in all aspects of its operation, including investment decisions and portfolio management.  Prior to joining Horizon in 1990, Stewart was vice president in the venture capital subsidiary of Republic Bank, which was acquired by NationsBank (now Bank of America).  His primary focus at Republic was the development and management of a diversified venture capital investment portfolio comprised of companies in the medical, computer, electronic, software, and telecommunications industries.

Paul currently serves on the boards of the PS Capital Partners portfolio companies including Milwaukee Composites, Waukesha Metal Products, Nekoosa Coated Products, Sharp Packaging Systems, Cardinal Packaging Products, and Superior Health Linens.  Paul also serves on the Board of H&K Partners (a group of fifty quick service restaurants including KFCs), and the Advisory Boards of Medical College of Wisconsin Office of Technology Development and US Bank Wisconsin. Paul served on the Board of the Association for Corporate Growth, an international organization of 12,000 plus professionals involved in various aspects of corporate growth with over fifty chapters worldwide.  Formerly the Chairman of ACG, Paul currently serves on the board of ACG’s Wisconsin Chapter, where he previously served as President.​​

Paul Sweeney - Co-founder, PS Capital Partners
Over the past twenty years, Paul has developed significant experience in a wide range of private equity investing, from venture capital to leveraged buyouts and re=capitalizations. Before forming PS Capital, Paul was a founding partner at Horizon Partners, Ltd, a middle market buyout firm where he was involved in all aspects of its operation, including investment decisions and portfolio management. Prior to forming Horizon in 1988, he worked for The Corporate Development Group of Arthur Young. Paul currently serves on the Boards of all of PS Capital Partners portfolio companies, including Milwaukee Composites, Waukesha Tool & Stamping, Nekoosa Coated Products, Sharp Packaging Systems, Cardinal Packaging Products, and Superior Health Linens.

Paul also serves on the Board of an upscale home builder in Southeastern Wisconsin called Trustway Homes, H&K Partners, a group of fifty quick service restaurants including KFC, and Community Bank and Trust, a privately owned bank headquartered in Sheboygan, Wisconsin with approximately $500 million in assets. He is a member of the Board for the Milwaukee Athletic Club, where he was formerly the President, as well as the current Chairman of MMAC’s Council of Small Business Executives. He also serves the Boards of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, the Skylight Opera Theatre, Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin, Children’s Health Education Center, and the Center for Blind and Visually Impaired Children. Paul received his bachelor’s of science degree in finance from Georgetown University’s School of Business Administration in 1987. In addition, Paul completed the 16th Annual Venture Capital Institute Seminar in 1990. Currently, Paul is a member of the Association of Corporate Growth and serves as Chairman for Georgetown University’s Alumni Interview Program in Wisconsin