Wall of Fame
Eaton Rapids Public Schools Alumni Wall of Fame
Greyhound Pride is something that lasts a lifetime. We are proud of all of our graduates, but a few deserve recognition for their extraordinary accomplishments. The Wall of Fame is a place where we can congratulate those students and share their successes with the community. If you know an ERPS grad who's gone on to do great things, we welcome their nomination.
In October 2008, the company Don was working for decided to close their Michigan operations. As the primary Senior Project Manager in the office, Don was the only employee offered an opportunity to transfer to one of the company’s other offices in Wisconsin; however, with strong ties to the Mid-Michigan area, leaving was not an option. Subsequently, Don and a co-worker collaborated to start their own environmental consulting firm, Triterra, in Lansing, Michigan. Triterra was built on the principles of providing practical environmental solutions through a creative process that incorporates integrity, innovation, and responsiveness. Over the initial 5 years, Triterra’s revenue grew each year (~20%), while Don served as the Vice President/Chief Operating Officer (VP/COO). In this role, Don developed a strong understanding of the business aspects of a consulting firm, including accounting, human resources, business development, and employee training; which helped him establish guiding principles which have ensured the sustainable growth of Triterra. In 2013, Don bought his partner out of the business and assumed the role of CEO and Principal Scientist. Under Don’s direction over the last 5+ years, Triterra has incorporated a well-defined growth strategy and their annual revenue has increased 300%, which provides them resources to expand into other regions throughout Michigan.
Overall, Triterra’s revenue has increased approximately 30 to 35% annually and the total number of employees has increased from 3 to 16. Don has managed financing a young company from its inception, through its growth, and continues to make it thrive. Triterra’s continued success has occurred through using a strategic and steadfast approach and through the acquisition of more knowledge on numerous, specific subjects. Don’s goal is to continually keep Triterra in a sustainable position, so that company will continue to grow and remain viable for many years to come.
In 2016, Don was invited to be a part of the Eaton Rapids Marketing Alliance and to provide assistance about ways to revitalize the downtown and make Eaton Rapids a better place to live, work, and play. Don introduced a community-wide visioning session, which brought local officials and community residents together to discuss the future needs of the City and introduced the Michigan Main Street model as an option to help make our town better. During this process, Don became further invested in the community and helped establish and co-found a new local restaurant, Eaton Rapids Craft Co. This restaurant was created to fill a need in the community as a scratch-kitchen restaurant & bar with craft beer and local/Michigan products. The initial years of this venture has been a struggle from numerous staffing issues and inconsistent quality, to equipment failure and building issues; however, Don and his partner have managed to address the difficult situation and continually improve on the operations in an effort to make the restaurant successful. The results of these efforts have lead to increased traffic and improved customer satisfaction.
In 2017, Don continued his efforts to help get the downtown established as a Michigan Main Street Program. (Eaton Rapids has been accepted as an Engaged Level Community and just applied for the Select Level Community.) With his background and knowledge, Don believes the Main Street model will work to help Eaton Rapids grow. Considering it’s still in the early stages, Don understands that funding sources can be a concern, so he and several other community members founded a non-profit organization, (#ElevateEatonRapids) to help raise funds to support the Main Street Program. In addition, Don also became a Director/Board Member of the Eaton Rapids Youth Soccer Program after coaching for the initial three years of the program. In his Director role, Don has improved the youth development program for entry level soccer players in the 4 to 7 year-old range.
In 2019, Don was nominated and selected for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. This program is 100% funded by the Goldman Sachs Foundation, whose mission is to provide entrepreneurs and small business owners with the necessary knowledge and tools to help them successfully grow their businesses. Upon completion of this program, Don will be one of approximately 7,000 small business owners nationwide provided with this high-level training opportunity.
Don continues to reside in Eaton Rapids along with his wife, Erica and their two children, Torin (7) and Marissa (5).
Personal & Company Awards
2015 Socially Responsible Entrepreneur, Greater Lansing Entrepreneurial Awards, Greater Lansing Business Monthly (Don)
2016 Outstanding Small Business, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce (Triterra)
2017 Leadership Lansing (Class of 2017, 2nd Cohort), Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce (Don)
2018 Michigan 50 Companies to Watch, Michigan Celebrates Small Business (Triterra)
2019 Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program Scholar (Don)
Community Organizations & Service
Since 2008, Don has been actively involved in the Old Town Commercial Association (OTCA), a Michigan Main Street Program, and its continued revitalization efforts in the Old Town District of Lansing. Don was on the OTCA Board of Directors for 4 years, which included serving as President for 3 years. As a culmination of all these efforts, the Old Town Lansing (Main Street Program) was nationally recognized as a Great American Main Street by the National Trust for Historical Preservation in 2011.
Don continues to take on other positions within community organizations, especially when he feels he can step in to provide assistance and make a difference. These positions include:
• Executive Committee & Board Member – Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP)
• Chairman & Board Member – Eaton Rapids Downtown Development Authority (DDA)
• Energy & Environment Committee & Active Member – Michigan Chamber of Commerce
• Active Member – Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce
• Active Member – Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce
• Member – Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership
• Member – Leadership Lansing Community Collaboration
• Athena Powerlink Advisory Panel – Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce
• Greater Lansing Entrepreneurial Awards Judge Panel
• Board Member & Co-Founder - #ElevateEatonRapids
(non-profit to help support Eaton Rapids Main Street Program)
• Director of Shooting Stars Program – Eaton Rapids Youth Soccer
Nominate Someone for the Wall of Fame
- Wall of Fame inductees must have graduated from Eaton Rapids Public Schools at least 5 years prior to induction, and attended ERPS for no less than 2 years.
- Inductees must have made a significant, positive professional, or personal accomplishment.
- The Wall of Fame committee consists of board members, administration, and education staff.
- The induction ceremony will be held at the Eaton Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce dinner in May (TBA).
- Applications are due on or before January 31, 2020