Carl Erickson

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Leader & Innovator
Co–founder and President of Atomic Object in Grand Rapids. Erickson oversees operations and client engagements at Atomic Object, which creates custom web, mobile, and embedded software products. He is also the interim CTO of ReapSo; board member and co–founder of Blue Medora; and board member and investor at Varsity News Network. Under his leadership, Atomic Object has grown from three developers to a 45–person team of designers, developers, and support staff. In September, Atomic Object acquired Ann Arbor software development firm SRT Solutions. It also opened an office in Detroit. With $5.5 million in revenue and an average growth rate of 25 percent, Atomic Object was named to Inc. magazine's Inc. 5000 three times. The firm has been recognized as one of the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch by the Edward Lowe Foundation, presented by Michigan Celebrates Small Business, and received the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility. The creation of Atomic Object followed the failure of a dot–com–era software startup where Erickson was vice president of development. Prior to that, he was a professor of computer science at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) for 10 years. He also was a part–time industrial lecturer at Uppsala University in Sweden and served on the board of the Swedish American Heritage Society for more than six years, part of that time as president. He is a board member of the West Michigan–based Grand Angels, and serves as a member and advisor for GVSU's CIS advisory board and Business Ethics Center. Erickson received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University and master's and doctoral degrees in computer engineering from Michigan State University.

WHERE BORN: “Royal Oak.”

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: “My parents for good genes. My wife for persistence in pointing out my blind spots.”

LAST BOOK READ:A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller, Jr.”

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: “Smart, creative, generous, open, demanding, over–confident.”

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: “Software is the source of innovation and differentiation for more and more products and services. This will continue to drive the demand for software design and development and for the companies that provide those services.”

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: “My MacBook Air. It's nearly always with me.”

FAVORITE PLACE: “My Eames lounge chair on a weekend morning or Stockholm; it's a tough call.”

FAVORITE HOBBIES: “Sailing, cars, and travel.”

FAVORITE FOOD: “Whatever delicious things my wife cooks up for Sunday family dinner.”

MY HIDDEN TALENT: “I can cut an old credit card in perfect halves, diagonally, without trying to do so.”

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: “As the guy who founded the first 100–year–old software development consultancy. And, as a decent husband, dad, and friend.”