Sometimes, success tastes like a milkshake. A few years ago, Mike Erickson helped a customer who was constructing a large dairy facility coordinate the purchase and delivery of building materials. To celebrate the project’s completion, Erickson was treated to a milkshake made from the customer’s milk.
Seeing customers’ dreams become reality is the most rewarding part of being in the lumber business, says Erickson, who joined Spahn & Rose as the 2nd Regional Sales Director on June 22. And after more than three decades in the lumber and building-materials industry, Erickson has seen many customer dreams come true.
Originally from Elkader, Iowa, the 48-year-old Erickson started working at a lumberyard when he was 16. Since that early beginning, he has done just about every job a lumberyard offers: sliding away lumber,driving a forklift, loading lumber, truck driver,dispatcher, outside sales,assistant manager —and, most recently, General Manager for the last few years. As a Regional Sales Director, Erickson will help drive sales to stores and assist general managers and outside sales representatives as they work to boost sales. And whatever job Erickson has had over the course of his career, providing excellent customer service has always been paramount.
“Even with all the technology and Amazon, people still buy from people,” Erickson says. “I firmly believe in treating customers the way I want to be treated, following through and doing what I say I’m going to do.”
Erickson will be working with the Spahn & Rose Iowa locations in Cresco, Decorah, Dyersville, Edgewood, Independence, Jesup, Monticello, Reinbeck, Waverly and West Union. In addition, Erickson will also help increase the contractor and builder business for Spahn & Rose stores in Byron, Pearl City and Stockton, Warren Illinois and the Prairie Du Chien in Wisconsin.
“Spahn & Rose is very professional yet feels like a family,” he says. “Everybody is available and helpful and passionate about their jobs.”
Over his three-plus decades of experience, Erickson has seen many changes in the lumber industry—and he sees more on the horizon.
“Technology is starting to play a bigger part in the business, especially with younger workers,” he says. “More and more, estimating programs will make it easier, and there might be fewer people in the business who have swung a hammer or carried a board.”
The COVID-19 pandemic is a big challenge too, Erickson notes, but adds that he’s certain the lumber industry will be able to meet it—and thrive in its wake. “We’ll come out of this really strong, with interest rates at an all-time low,” he says. “Within the building business, consumer confidence is real strong.”
Erickson and his wife, Caroline, have five children and five grandchildren. In his free time, Erickson enjoys watching high school football and basketball, wrestling, as well as swimming and boating.
“I like just about any water sports,” he says. “Our family enjoys swimming, spending time together at our pond and cabin. If I’m in water, I’m happy!