Wauwatosa baseball trio turns friendship into business success

To some, Wisconsin Avenue Park in Wauwatosa is just a park.

"I look at it and I can feel myself looking at it through the eyes of my 8-year old self or 9-year old self," said Andy Gallion.

To Gallion, it’s where everything really started.

"A couple great memories from that field," he said.

As a kid he would be out there hitting and pitching.

"The first-ever home run that I hit was on that field right over there," said Gallion. "And I remember throwing a pitch in a game where I was really focused on throwing the best pitch of my life and I ended up throwing that pitch over the backstop."

Now, he and his former teammate, lifelong friend and business partner, Mazio Barian are remembering what used to be.

"We reminisce all the time," said Barian. "We have a lot of memories together. It’s special."

So special that the two of them, and their other former little league teammate, Adam Kiehl, are still teammates.

"Ironically, our office space is at Innovation Drive right over here across the way," Barian said.

The three teammates built their own business, InCheck.

"We’ve always put the business first," said Gallion. "We’ve always trusted each other to make the right call as we’ve had to navigate the direction of two companies over almost 20 years. So, the trust has definitely kept us together and helped us make better decisions along the way."

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That common bond of baseball and the success that they found on these fields translated into their professional lives.

"I think it was that burning desire to win, just we didn’t want to lose," said Barian. "So, when the three of us made that leap of faith to go do it for ourselves, build something, there was no question we were going to be successful."

The beginning of their joint venture also has its roots here through another source.

"Our high school baseball coach, we asked him for a one-time thousand dollar loan to start both businesses," Gallion said. "The agreement was we’d pay him back $5,500 at the end of the first year. We did it and we were off and running."

Like many businesses, COVID-19 has been a big challenge.

Yet they’ve been able to survive and succeed in the staffing and recruiting business.

"I think the rule of thumb is don’t go into business with friends or family," Barian said. "And we’ve definitely had our shares of downs as well. But overall, the foundation, the bond that we have built together, the three of us, in the end it trumps all."

All these decades later, they’re still close to where their story began.

"I can remember the team pictures just being out back and the balls that were hit in the bushes and it’s a pretty cool thing," said Barian.

They are living the dream that started with their shared love of baseball.

"Knowing that this is where I met my business partners on these fields, it’s a pretty cool feeling being here," said Gallion.

They started InCheck Background Screening Solutions and Extension Staffing on the same day in 2002.

One goal they had before even starting the business was to be able to get good Brewers season tickets.

They accomplished that.