January 21, 2020  |  Chamber News

Erik Justesen, a servant leader and devoted Chamber volunteer who has given countless hours toward local environmental, business, health and leadership boards and initiatives, was named the 2019 Citizen of the Year during the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Dinner on Saturday, January 18, 2020, in front of more than 560 attendees. This is the Chamber’s most prestigious honor, and is the only award presented at the Annual Dinner in recognition of unparalleled service to the community of San Luis Obispo.

Erik Justesen, 2019 Citizen of the Year, is handed his award by 2018 Citizen of the Year Jeff Buckingham

The CEO and President of RRM Design Group, Justesen goes above and beyond the callings of his position to make an impact on his community and to lift up the voices of others.

“I continue to be so impressed with Erik’s commitment to our community,” said Debby Nicklas, Vice Presidents of Philanthropy at French Hospital Medical Center. “He is an inspiring leader and brings much enthusiasm to his role as Board Chair at the French Hospital Foundation. His dedicated leadership and thoughtful guidance are truly making an impact for many not-for-profit organizations in San Luis Obispo.”

Having served on numerous boards and steering committees in addition to the French Hospital Foundation—including organizations such as the SLO Chamber, the YMCA, Leadership SLO and others—Justesen has no doubt made his mark by serving multiple corners of our community. In addition, he participated in three updates of the Chamber’s economic vision– including the current vision, Imagine SLO— which serves as the guiding light for the Chamber’s advocacy and economic development efforts.

A Cal Poly graduate, Justesen has worked at RRM for 32 years. Over the last 14 years as CEO, he has led the multidisciplinary firm into a statewide planning, engineering, and design powerhouse with more than 140 employees. With offices and projects throughout the state, Justesen has led the growth of RRM’s local presence in signature projects throughout the Central Coast.

“Erik led RRM through the Great Recession, growing and diversifying its business and creating many head of household jobs in the process.” said Rick Stollmeyer, CEO and Co-Founder of MINDBODY. “He also transitioned the firm to employee ownership to more broadly share the benefits of that growth, while also volunteering his time, talent and leadership to numerous organizations in the region. Erik’s work has left an immeasurable impact on this community, fueling our economic development, deepening our sense of community and improving our quality of life.”

Justesen’s Love of Place is on display through his active civic participation, including volunteering in numerous local issues-based campaigns. In addition, he has been a local leader in advocating for business to embrace environmental sustainability.  He chaired the Chamber’s first Sustainability Committee and helped spearhead the “Green Awards” to highlight the work of businesses and organizations throughout the region which took meaningful steps to be environmentally friendly.

“I have worked in hundreds of communities throughout California, but San Luis Obispo is by far the most welcoming group of people that I’ve encountered,” Justesen said after receiving the honor. “It’s about giving back to the community and place that has given me so much.”

Driven by a professional and personal passion for good design, Justesen leads a company whose mission statement is to “inspire and support each other through collaboration, respect and innovation to create environments people enjoy” – a statement which reflects Justesen’s own character.

Join us in thanking our 2019 Citizen of the Year, Erik Justesen, for all he has done for this community.