July 22, 2017 Q&A with Featured Hockey Players in Business Member: Mike Lee
Owner/President, GRS Recruiting
Where did you grow up?
Detroit, Michigan, then the Akron/Canton area
What is your hockey history?
- Travel hockey in a Detroit league when I was 12
- AAA Midget League out of Buffalo during high school
- Two ACHA National Championship teams at Ohio University
- ECHL minor leagues after college (briefly) before they thankfully told me to go get a real job. (Otherwise, I’d probably still be bouncing from city to city and working a summer job!)
- Men’s League
What business are you in now?
GRS Recruiting is a niche recruiting firm. We place sales and sales management professionals in a few specialized industries, such as fluid power, fluid handling and process control. I have owned and run the business for 12 years. My role has evolved over the years from a player to a coach. It is a constant challenge to accelerate growth of the business and maintain a culture of high performance. There are definitely wins and losses, just like in hockey.
How has hockey helped you achieve success?
I was a goaltender during my playing years, and it taught me to be personally accountable at a young age. I always felt like it was my responsibility to win games for my team. So, even if we lost 1-0, I felt like it was my fault. I carried this attitude into business. My performance and how I impact results is truly the only thing that I can control, so that is where my focus must stay.
In addition, hockey gave me the ability to understand how teams can perform at a high level through supporting and pushing each other. I definitely look at my business team like a hockey team. I consider who needs to play what role, who is hot, who is cold, who needs a kick and who can help lead. I also often think about what the better coaches that I played for would do in various situations that arise.
Can you share a few fun facts about yourself?
I played Men’s League hockey until I turned 30. As a goaltender, the lack of back checking and 15-14 final scores was too hard on my ego. Plus, I was no longer very good by then. So, I switched my focus to tennis and have been playing that for the last 14 years. I have been married to Alison for 18 years, and we live with our daughters, aged 10 to 15, in Geauga County.