Erika grew up in southeast Michigan before meeting Ben in their final year at University of Michigan and ultimately moving to her favorite place, northern Michigan. She has a master’s degree from The George Washington University, and from 2007-2020, Erika pursued a career in public health, growing through different leadership roles and ultimately serving as the Executive Director of a non-profit organization and the Deputy Health Officer at a local health department in Northern Michigan. Erika has always been on the sidelines, learning about Van Dam and talking “shop” with Ben, but she officially joined the company in 2020 as the Vice President.
In 2021, Erika and Ben purchased Van Dam Custom Boats and Boyne Boat Yard from Jean and Steve Van Dam, and Erika loves working with both companies. She takes pride in upholding the cultural Fundamentals and supporting our awesome team in building the world’s finest wooden boats and being the best full-service marine yard in northern Michigan. In her role, she loves being part of everything that makes our companies tick—from design and production of boats, to operations and facilities, marketing and sales, and everything on the “business” end of things, including Human Resources, IT, and Finance.
Outside of work, Erika stays engaged in public health initiatives and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan, the Charlevoix County Community Foundation, and the Blue Plate Project. Erika is also on the Steering Committee for the Northern Michigan Community Health Innovation Region. Ben and Erika have been married since 2008 and have two kids—their daughter, Milo, and son, Tyler. You’ll find them active outdoors year-round; in the winter, their family loves to ski, snowshoe, sled, and ice skate, and in the warmer seasons, they bike, hike, swim, sail, and golf. Their family loves living in northern Michigan for the beauty, the seasons, and the sense of community—you will often find them strolling the farmers market, attending children’s and community events around town, and frequenting local businesses and restaurants.
- Born in: Detroit, Michigan
- Graduated: University of Michigan, The George Washington University
- Favorite projects to work on: Process and systems changes to create efficiencies and a happier team
- Favorite Fundamental: It’s a tie! Practice continuous improvement every day, all day & Keep things fun
- Best thing about working at Van Dam: The team! The culture! The amazing craftsmanship! The donuts!
Meet More Of The Team
Erika Vice President
Jeremy Worldwide Sales Manager
Chad Shop & Project Manager
Matt Project Manager
Jesse Metal Shop Foreman
Nick Metal Craftsman
Fred Metal Craftsman
Trevor Paint Shop Foreman
Thor Master Craftsman
Dave Project Lead
Tim Marine Designer
Derek Apprentice Craftsman
Chuck Apprentice Craftsman
Adam Apprentice Paint & Varnish
Alex Apprentice Paint & Varnish
Jessica Office Manager / Marketing Coordinator
Dave Handyman & Grill Master
Joining The Team?
We are seeking like-minded individuals willing to help us raise the bar of excellence. We seek out win/win situations in all we do – personally and professionally.