Mike Harris

E.M. "Mike" Harris III

(August 19, 1950 - March 17, 2021)

We remember our founder and visionary leader, Mike Harris.

Mike and Mary Harris founded E.M. Harris Construction Company in 1989 with a $100,000 second mortgage on their home and grew it into one of St. Louis’s most successful private companies. With his leadership, the company has successfully completed over 175 construction projects throughout the Midwest and has played a key role in the revitalization of St. Louis.

In 1997, benefitting from his vast construction management experience, he founded Capital Consultants Inc. providing various due diligence services across 48 states in the U.S., from Florida to Alaska.

His impact on the local construction industry was deep and meaningful, assisting many minority contractors with growing their businesses with bonding and cash flow assistance as well as hiring. In 2011 E.M. Harris Construction Company received the General Contractor of the Year award from MOKAN due to the high number of MBE contractors it hires for its projects. 

On its Dick Gregory project, comprising the renovation of 17 dilapidated historic structures in the Ville neighborhood into 40 apartment units, the company awarded 66 percent of contracts to MBE contractors.

At the time, Mike reflected to the St. Louis American, “We want local residents to work on projects in these distressed neighborhoods, because jobs change lives. By putting residents to work, it pays bills and helps stimulate the local economy.”

E.M. Harris Construction has performed as the General Contractor for numerous multifamily projects financed or funded through several State’s affordable housing programs utilizing low-income housing tax credits. Mike received several awards in recognition of his involvement in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County in conjunction with his focused efforts in neighborhood revitalization and creating opportunities for the residents. Mike also earned recognition from the State of Missouri Senate for sustaining high minority participation on EM Harris construction projects, along with diligent Section 3 implementation. Posthumously, Mike was honored with the Legacy Award from RISE Community Development and the Kurt Wallace Vision Award from the Missouri Workforce Housing Association. Mike was devoted to his family and never met a stranger. He had a larger-than-life presence, passion to live life fully, on his own terms, and will be remembered for his generosity, humor, and love of adventure.