The San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year in 2019 is a longtime leader of an influential architecture and engineering design firm who has helped guide regional economic initiatives and worked to improve environmental sustainability.

Erik Justesen was awarded the Chamber’s most prestigious honor at Saturday night’s annual dinner, attended by more than 560 people.

Justesen, a Cal Poly graduate, has been the CEO of RRM Design Group for the past 14 years, having worked at the company for a total of 32 years.

With offices and projects throughout California, Justesen has led RRM’s presence on the Central Coast with a hand in numerous significant development projects.

RRM Design, with 140 employees, has helped plan SLO’s three biggest development projects: Avila Ranch, San Luis Ranch and Froom Ranch (still in the planning phases and pending project approval).

“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, in a statement. “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.”


The Chamber also credited Justesen for advocating for environmental sustainability. He chaired and spearheaded the organization’s first “Sustainability Committee” and participated in the “Green Awards” to highlight environmentally friendly work from organizations and businesses.

Justesen also has served on many boards, such as the French Hospital Medical Center Foundation Board, the YMCA, Leadership SLO and the SLO Chamber of Commerce, among others.

“His dedicated leadership and thoughtful guidance are truly making an impact for many (nonprofit) organizations in San Luis Obispo,” said Debby Nicklas, French Hospital’s vice president of philanthropy.

And he participated in three updates of the Chamber’s economic vision — including the current vision, Imagine SLO — which guides the organization’s advocacy and economic development efforts.

“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,” Stollmeyer said.