Grand Rapids software design and development consultancy Atomic Object received the “Michigan 50 Distinguished Alumni Award – Strategically Focused” honor from Michigan Celebrates Small Business.
The award comes as Atomic celebrates 20 years in business – one-fifth of the way to Founder and Chairman Carl Erickson’s goal of building a 100-year-old company.
Each year, MCBS recognizes 50 of the highest-performing, growth-focused small companies in the state. It also honors one prior recipient for its strategic prowess.
Since its 2001 founding, Atomic Object has expanded into Ann Arbor, built more than 200 software applications, grown to 80 employees and been recognized by Forbes as one of the country’s top 25 small businesses. In another milestone, Erickson appointed longtime employees Mike Marsiglia and Shawn Crowley as his co-CEO successors.
Jennifer Deamud, chair of the MCSB board of directors, said the selection committee sought companies that have been strategic about how they’ve chosen to grow revenue.
“We’re looking for companies who are looking outside their box of complacency,” she said. “Are they expanding beyond the state? Beyond the country?”
Atomic Object also is opening its first out-of-state office in Chicago this year.
“Launching new offices allows us to maintain our flat management structure. It helps us serve local customers by engaging in creative, collaborative work right alongside them,” Crowley said. “It also provides growth opportunities for Atomic.”
Marsiglia said the expansion is possible only through a people-first approach to business.
“Treating people well has been the long-term strategy that allowed us to innovate and serve our customers,” he said. “Without this approach and investment in growing future leaders, we wouldn’t be able to move folks out to Chicago or attract top talent in a tight market.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the employee-owned company maintained jobs and salaries for all employees. The firm also kept its status as a certified B Corp, something Deamud said impressed the selection committee.
“That says a lot about the leadership of the company. B Corp certification proves they know the importance of focusing on our environment, focusing on employees — and that ultimately leads to strategic growth,” she said. “This is definitely a company I’d want to work for if I were in the computer science field.”