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Atomic Object’s Carl Erickson Promotes Pair as Co-CEO Successors

Torch-passing represents milestone in firm’s quest to reach 100 years

May 22, 2019

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Atomic Object’s CEO and Co-founder Carl Erickson has named Shawn Crowley and Mike Marsiglia the company’s new co-CEOs. After 18 years building and managing the software development consultancy, Erickson is stepping into an executive board chair position.

Erickson founded Atomic Object after leaving a tenured faculty position in computer science at Grand Valley State University. Almost two decades later, he says he feels confident and proud to hand over the CEO title to Crowley and Marsiglia.

“There couldn’t be two people more ready for this job,” he said. “In this shared role, Mike and Shawn will steward what we’ve built and also continue Atomic’s tradition of improvement by being inherently dissatisfied with the status quo.”

No strangers to working closely together, Crowley and Marsiglia joined the company as software developers more than 14 years ago. During their careers at Atomic, Crowley and Marsiglia’s roles spanned client work, sales, and company leadership.

Over that time, Marsiglia says he and Crowley forged a special bond.

“We know each other well and have complementary strengths,” he said. “We can debate our points—and we’re open enough to listen to the other’s ideas, and we come back with a better plan together than either’s alone.”

In 2010, the pair began working alongside Erickson, managing Atomic's growth. Since that time, the company launched its Ann Arbor office, became a certified B Corporation, was named one of the best 25 small companies by Forbes, more than doubled in size and nearly tripled its revenue.

“We have an amazing team. We have a very well-run company and a history of innovation and growth,” said Crowley. “I’m energized and excited to have more of an opportunity now to work on this business.”

Erickson says appointing two leaders is a strategic decision that supports the company’s goal of lasting for 100 years.

“Atomic believes in the power of pairs,” he said. “Having a pair at the highest level of the company is a way of improving the quality of decisions made and making the role more sustainable.”

In Erickson’s chairman position, he will work with Crowley and Marsiglia on corporate governance, employee ownership, a strategy for purpose-driven growth, and nurturing Atomic’s next generation of leaders.

“I’m incredibly proud of the smart, dedicated, creative people I work with and how we invest in their growth,” said Erickson. “We didn’t call a recruiter; we promoted from within.”