In May, Ryan Erickson Sr., Owner and CEO of Erickson Builders and Co of Rogers, MN was named the Minnesota Veteran Small Business of the Year for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Minnesota District Office.
The Veteran Small Business of the Year Award is presented annually in each state to individuals who own 51% or more of a small business, are Veterans of the United States Armed Service, and have fulfilled a commitment to advancing small business for Veterans. Ryan was nominated by MN PTAC and is currently a PTAC client.
Erickson is a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps. After his honorable discharge in 2007, Erickson took over majority control of the family construction business. Erickson used his military experience to take the business from primarily residential building and steer it toward government projects in state-funded road work, landing their first MnDOT contract in 2009. The growth in the MnDOT sector allowed the company to go from 3 jobs in 2009 to 11 jobs in 2012.
Erickson’s foresight to diversify the company turned prescient when, in 2012, the company’s Center of Veteran’s Excellence (CVE) certification was briefly lost. Though the company lost out on contracts to the tune of $18.5M, Erickson’s previous decision to capitalize on niche markets that were still viable for his company allowed them to expand into road work, as in doing so allowed the company to become proficient in guard-rail installation. The company’s CVE was reinstated at the end of 2012.
Erickson Builders strives to employ veterans and makes an extra effort to seek out vets who need employment. The company makes use of County Veteran Service Officers in order to find potential candidates. Erickson has attends MnDOT monthly meeting that focus on getting Veteran Owned business involved with projects and employment in an effort to encourage growth of Veteran entrepreneurs and to increase the number of fairly compensated Veterans in Minnesota.
Erickson has earned a number of business awards, including being named one of INC 500’s Fastest Growing Companies two year in-a-row, and the Top 25 Veteran Service Award for Veterans fewer than 40 by Minnesota Humanities Center. In 2014, he successfully graduated from SBA’s Emerging Leaders program. Erickson is passionate about quality work, leading an enthusiastic crew and investing in the community. He serves on the board of a local charity, donates time and money to multiple causes and speaks as a part of various initiatives involving Veteran employment and entrepreneurship.