Carl Erickson

Past Speaker

CEO and Co-Founder, Atomic Object

Carl Erickson is the CEO of Atomic Object, a 65-person software design/development consultancy he co-founded in 2001. Atomic builds custom software products for mobile, web, cloud, and the Internet of Things. Its diverse clients span many markets, including tech startups, educational non-profits, financial service providers, and several Fortune 500 manufacturers.

Carl has a passion for both quality craftsmanship and people-focused management. He helped found Atomic’s strong culture, transparent management style, and industry-leading technical practices. He has led the company as its service offering, needs, and structure have evolved. And he’s now focused on setting a clear mission and vision that will lead Atomic into the future.

Through Carl’s passion and leadership, Atomic has become a place where doing great work and being a great workplace are more important than numeric growth. Recently, Atomic became a
B-Corporation and qualified as Best for the World in the worker category. In 2018, Atomic was one of 25 companies to make Forbes Small Giants list. In 2017, Fortune Magazine named Atomic to the ICIC 100, for its commitment to bringing business to urban areas. Atomic was also recognized as a Top Michigan Workplace by the Detroit Free Press, and received a When Work Works award from the Families and Work Institute.

Women are vastly underrepresented in the technology field. So, over the last few years, Carl drove an initiative to increase the representation of women at Atomic Object. Through several strategic efforts, Atomic increased its team makeup from 14% women in 2012 to 33% today. In 2018, Carl was recognized for these efforts and other community work with a Best Supporting Man award from West Michigan Woman magazine.

Carl regularly blogs at, where he chronicles successes and failures, and shares his experience creating a successful small company where people love to work.

Before creating Atomic out of the ashes of a failed dot-com startup, Carl was a professor of computer science at Grand Valley State University. As a major figure in the West Michigan technology community, he also founded SoftwareGR, a non-profit trade association dedicated to software development excellence. Carl also serves on the Board of HQ: Drop In Center for Runaway and Homeless Youth, Land Conservancy of West Michigan, Grand Angels, and Legacy Trust. He is an advisor to a number of startups and is a Principle Partner in Tappan Hill Ventures.

Carl holds a PhD in computer engineering from Michigan State University.

Twitter: @carl_erickson

Session: Think Long Term

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