Michael Zwick – Founder of Assets International

After graduating from Yeshiva University and then the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City, Michael Zwick returned to his native Michigan and started his professional life as an attorney. He started by working for large firms before hanging his own shingle and becoming a solo practitioner. His practice consisted primarily of litigation, bankruptcy and probate.

After a few years of private practice, Michael and his partners, Avram Goldstein and Neal Duchin, recognized a need in the probate and trusts world for someone to find missing heirs and other beneficiaries. Michael therefore obtained his private investigator licenses and opened Assets International. While Assets International’s location is in Southfield, Mich., it lives up to its name by finding people worldwide. Some of the countries in which Michael’s staff has located missing heirs and beneficiaries are Pakistan, Norway, Argentina, Israel, The Netherlands and Trinidad and Tobago. You can learn more about AI at its website, www.assetsinternational.com.

Michael resides in Huntington Woods, Mich., where he is very happily married to Lesley. Michael and Lesley have two beautiful daughters, Emma and Madelyn, with another child on the way. Sharing the home are also two Newfoundlands, Blackjack and Maggie, and two cats, Rusty and Samson. In his spare time, Michael enjoys spending time with his family, listening to music of all kinds, reading, walking and playing games.

What are you working on right now?

We currently market our services to professionals in the probate and trust arena. I am researching what other markets and uses there are for our expertise of locating people. Thanks to our great staff, we have developed tremendous skills in finding not only people whose whereabouts have been unknown for decades but the survivors of those who have passed away. Despite our success and growth, we know that there are so many other utilities for our skill sets.

3 trends that excite you?

1. The growing number of public records that are more readily available.
2. The rise in foreign language education and therefore more versatile job applicants.
3. Technology increasing the connection between people, no matter where in the world they may be.

How do you bring ideas to life?

When an idea comes to me, which usually happens when I have some quiet time (e.g. while walking, sitting on an airplane, driving, etc.), I write my proposal with as much detail as possible. I include the potential upside as well as any possible pitfalls, all the while asking questions. I then circulate the memo for critiques and suggestions among my partners, staff and outsiders with knowledge and experience in the specific field.

What is one mistake you’ve made that our readers can learn from?

When I was practicing law as a solo practitioner, I didn’t have much long-term vision. I focused too much on getting through the day or week.

What is one book and one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?

“Good to Great” by Jim Collins provides great insight on how great companies became what they are. The lessons are ones that organizations of all types and sizes can adopt.

What is one idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Find government deposits of records that nobody else is cataloging and making available to the public. Whether you market these records to investigators or amateur genealogists or simply license your research to a bigger operator, there is always a market for more information.

What do you like most about your job?

In addition to working with a great staff that makes coming to the office every day so enjoyable, I just love that every day I unite people with what is theirs. I am not just talking about their money but also their families, their histories and their futures.

What kind of music do you like?

To paraphrase the great Louis Armstrong, there are two kinds of music, the good and the bad. I listen to the good kind. Whether it’s rock, country, soul, rap, blues or jazz, if it’s good, I will listen. Of course, my mood will dictate what I want to hear at a given moment.


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