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Ackerman Named "40 Under 40"
Post Date: Jul 30 2011
Tags: 40 Under 40awardsBusiness WatchRyan Ackerman

40 Under 40
Ryan Ackerman was selected by Business Watch magazine as one of the top 40 North Dakota professionals under age 40. Ackerman is recognized as a strong, young leader in North Dakota and was selected for his leadership, professional development, and commitment to the community.

Name: Ryan Ackerman

Age: 30

Position and company: Vice President of Design, Ackerman-Estvold Engineering

Family: wife, Jessica; son, Gunnar (3); daughter, Maggie (1)

Hobbies: Hunting, fishing, curling, hockey, softball

Community involvement: First Lutheran Church, Minot Hockey Boosters

Career path: I received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from North Dakota State University in 2003 and went to work as a civil engineer with Kimley-Horn & Associates in Denver. In 2004, I became a founding partner of Ackerman-Estvold Engineering and Management Consulting, Inc. in Minot, ND.

Mentors: Professionally, my father, Rolly, instilled in me the value of hard work while teaching me the technical side of surveying. While at Kimley-Horn, Fred Banfield was instrumental in teaching me the business side of engineering and Ed Vick, co-founder, always pushed for excellence and taught me that "we have no reason to exist except to serve our clients." From a personal perspective, my grandfather, Victor Knutson, serves as a role model for being a good, upstanding, family man.

Briefly, tell us about yourself: I love challenge and thrive on complexity. I do my best to find humor in all situations. I feel that a task isn't worth doing if a person can't do it right.

What motivates you? Optimists and pessimists! I love to interact with positive, professional, likeable people who have a contagious attitude. On the other hand, I don't like being told I can't accomplish something.

Challenges in your career path: My biggest challenge is finding the right balance between work time and family time. I also work hard to determine the right strategy that will best grow Ackerman-Estvold.

What's the biggest risk you've ever taken? The biggest risk I've ever taken was leaving a fast-track advancement position with a large, established company in a booming economy to live closer to family and start a business before the Minot community was booming.

Anything of which you're particularly proud? I am extremely proud of my kids and feel blessed and fortunate to come home to them at the end of the day. I am also very proud to be from the Minot community, especially during the recent flood event and ongoing recovery; it is evident that the worst situations bring out the best in people.

What advice would you offer other young professionals? Be confident in your values and don't compromise on them. Also know that people are the most valuable resource in a business or organization; be a sponge and learn as much as you can from others.

For what are you thankful? My wife is the glue that holds our family together. The love and attention she has for our children allows me to continue growing professionally.

What do you see yourself doing in 10 years? I see myself managing a growing company and mentoring young professionals so they can realize their potential. I also hope to have struck a balance that will allow me to step away from work to participate in my kids' activities.