“When I look at my life, it seems like everything good traces back to DU.”
Craig Harrison ’03
Craig Harrison (BSBA ’03) sits in his Cherry Creek North corporate office, the window behind him offering a stunning view of the snow-frosted Rockies, discussing one of several companies he’s launched in the last five years. For the latest, US Capital, Harrison managed more than $10 million in investments before he sold the company to Chicago-based Northport Private Equity in June 2008.
He’s launched two other companies that have done well in completely different industries: Scout Cleaning and Maintenance, an environmentally friendly cleaning service that he owns with fellow DU alumnus Ryan Boykin (BA ’02), and Housefront, a real estate technology service company, which he and Boykin recently sold to Motellus Inc. for $3 million.
Now, Harrison thinks he has a truly big idea percolating: restoring structurally deficient dams across the United States.
Oh, and Harrison is just 28 years old.
Harrison is the 2009 recipient of DU’s Ammi Hyde Award for Recent Graduate Achievement, and while it may seem that his star has risen very high, very fast, Harrison has been working at this for years.
“When I was in high school, I read that the 3 percent of people who write down their goals end up making more money than the other 97 percent combined,” Harrison says. So, he started writing down his goals.
He has a nine-page, single-spaced document containing all of the business ideas he’s had since 1997. Each idea is only given one short paragraph. Looking it over, he can still remember some of his favorites.
“I thought it would be a great idea to put vitamins in chewing gum,” says Harrison with excitement. “Wouldn’t kids love it if they could get their vitamins by chewing gum?”
On paper, Harrison’s accomplishments describe someone very serious, very driven, very busy. While he is all of those things, in person, Harrison offers a bright smile, carries on open-ended conversations and expresses authentic interest in everyone around him.
“Craig is smart, ambitious and one of the most genuine people I know,” says Scott Reiman (BSBA ’87), who has become a mentor to Harrison. “He works hard at his business and is definitely committed to DU in a big way.”
Harrison recently co-founded a Young Alumni Scholarship fund at DU and has helped to raise more than $90,000, contributing generously himself.
“When I look at my life, it seems like everything good traces back to DU,” says Harrison. “DU is the gift that keeps giving! Working on this scholarship has been a blast. It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve been a part of.”
Harrison readily admits that he is young for his achievements, joking that he needs his hair to turn gray, but he also gives credit to others.
“Some of the confidence that I have is artificial because of the great mentors and partners I’ve had,” he says, mentioning his dad and Boykin specifically. “I’ve never been alone in any of these endeavors.”