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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

Erik Olson


SERVPRO Team Olson

Location: Boulder, CO

Founded: 1980

Industry: Disaster Restoration

Erik Olson never intended to get involved with the family business. He grew up around SERVPRO, a disaster restoration and cleanup company, and knew it as a fine place to work cleaning carpets, upholstery and drapery. It was not glorious work, but his father worked diligently to make a great living for the family.

It was through a final project at University of Northern Colorado’s Monfort College of Business that Olson found himself intrigued by the opportunity to join the SERVPRO network and temporarily work in the family business while his wife finished her senior year of college.

At the time, the company had one full-time employee, and it was these humble beginnings that created a hunger for Olson to build the business. There were many late nights and early mornings responding to disasters near and far and supporting the Colorado community. Olson quickly learned that it was building relationships that helped build the business.

“Selling a disaster isn’t something you can close on a typical sales call, it’s all about earning trust and building a bond,” the company said. “After a few years, Erik expanded his staff and began responding to disasters outside Colorado. The first major disaster was in response to significant flooding from seasonally high rainfall in Minot, North Dakota. Erik and 25 of his team members spent eight weeks ‘camping’ in North Dakota while supporting residential clients and the school system to restore their properties. It was from this experience that the team began to build their national presence by committing to respond to every major national disaster.”

In 2014, historic flooding hit the General Motors headquarters with over 8 feet of water throughout its facility. The team deployed more than 1,000 workers and thousands of pieces of drying equipment to help GM become operational just eight weeks after the event. In 2020, Olson and the team expanded their operation by acquiring franchises in Austin, Houston, Indianapolis and Washington, D.C. Most recently, the company acquired a location in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario, Canada.

“One of the biggest risks early in my career was hiring some of the key individuals who could perform better than me in areas I was weak,” Olson said. “Their ability to fill in my gaps and produce better results than I could opened my eyes to that concept which has led to our success. We emphasize the importance of a quality team, and when a leader can understand how key team members that complement them are better than those that simply say yes, organizations can grow and thrive. Our team today is composed of many individuals who are much better than I am at what they do.”

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Erik made Sportscenter’s Top 10.


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