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Working at CSU

Erik Olson, '00, '04, takes charge of development at the College of Business

January 15, 2009

When Erik Olson walks into his office today as the new Director of Development at the College of Business, he'll bring with him a rich relationship with Colorado State University.

The former defensive back for the Rams ranks among Colorado State’s top 10 for tackles, interceptions, and games started. He was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars after graduation in 2000 and credits his time in the National Football League for honing the teamwork, accountability and adaptability skills that - added to a solid education at Colorado State - have allowed him to build a successful business career.

Returned for master's degree

After leaving the NFL, Olson returned to Colorado State to build on his bachelor’s degree in business administration and computer information systems by earning his CIS master’s at the College of Business in 2004. While pursuing his master’s, Olson kept his ties to the Rams with live game analysis and post-game interviews with coaches and players, as well as a weekly column, “Keys to Victory,” at that ran until 2007.

At 32, Olson says his new job as the College’s development director is a perfect fit.

“I’m blessed at this time in my life to have this opportunity and I feel ready to meet the challenges that come with it,” he says. “We’re living in a difficult economy, but I’m ready to tell the stories about the innovative programs at the College of Business, talk about its successful past, and spread the word as to how important it is to continue to raise funds for a successful future.”

Higher education a key driver in global economy

Olson believes higher education is the linchpin for success, growth and sustainability in today’s global economy and that the College offers business students a variety of tools necessary to compete worldwide.

“It’s an exciting time to help the school continue to grow and to bring in the funding to accomplish that,” he says. “When you graduate from Colorado State University, you leave with a great foundation that allows you to go out with a confidence that you can do wonderful things. I’m eager to reach out to people who have not yet become involved with CSU, and get them interested in being part of its continuing growth.”

Father, entrepreneur

The father of two boys, Brady, 6, and Luke, 4, Olson’s entrepreneurial and corporate skills have served him well in the community.

Upon returning to Fort Collins after his NFL stint, he and three local investors opened a Cold Stone Creamery franchise. Olson developed strategies that brought the store into the top 10 nationwide and to a first place in total sales and gross profits statewide during its first five years. After leaving the franchise, Olson used personal capital in 2003 to purchase Uptown Liquors, creating a niche market in high-end wine management and delivery.

Most recently, he was the mid-west regional manager for Solvi Brands, a beverage producer and marketer.

His relationships with Colorado State University, sports, and the business community have created an exciting vision for the future. “I feel like I’m coming home,” he says. “I’m going to hit the ground running.

Contact: Deborah Booker, Manager of Marketing and Communications, College of Business
Phone: (970) 491-7221