One month after announcing that he would be soon reducing his role in the company, Founder/CEO Terry Swor shared with employee-owners earlier this week that Daniel Larson, PE, is succeeding him as CEO, effective February 1, 2016. Larson has spent the last 26 years at American Engineering Testing (AET), serving first as a leader for the Materials Division and most recently as company president. On February 1st, 2016, Larson assumed his new role and became American Engineering Testing’s 3rd executive leader in the company’s 45 year history. “Dan has worked with AET’s three founders over the years. He had the foresight to align himself with these key mentors and to play a significant role in the growth of a young firm with considerable talent and key clientele,” says Swor of Larson. “Dan has always had his focus on a leadership position. He is properly trained and positioned to lead AET.”
During his tenure, Larson has been instrumental in the company’s growth, orchestrating the expansion of its construction materials, forensic engineering and nondestructive testing service lines as well as its geographic reach to over 18 offices throughout the Midwest. Coupled with the geographic growth, Larson has been a key factor in employee recruitment and development at AET, making key hires and being part of the leadership team that helped it grow from a closely-held firm with 17 employees to a 100% employee-owned firm with over 400 employees. “I was recruited by the three founders of the firm in late 1989 and was instantly struck by the clarity of their vision – they wanted to be the best, not the biggest. That resonated with me back then and still does to this day.”says Larson of his beginnings with AET.
A graduate of the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering, Larson has spent most of his career with AET. In early 1990 he served as Principal Engineer and Manager of the Materials Division. At the time of his hire, AET was principally a geotechnical engineering firm with limited construction materials testing capabilities. Larson quickly built the Materials Division with the help of existing staff and key new hires and added additional service lines over the next several years. He was promoted to Vice President in 1994, a position he held for over 15 years. In 2000, Larson was elected to the Board of Directors. He continued to focus on the growth of his division during this time but also worked closely with other division managers and the executive team to chart the strategic direction of the firm.
In January of 2009, Larson was named Chief Operating Officer and began transitioning into the role of President, which he was elected to by the Board of Directors in 2011. Larson took on the responsibility of guiding the implementation of the newly adopted five year strategic plan, a role he continues today. He and Swor also embarked on a five year plan to transition the administrative duties of the company from Swor to himself.
For Larson, the original vision of the founders Terry Swor, Dick Stehly and Don Stormoe, endures to this day: be the best, not the biggest, by creating a company dedicated to outstanding client service and technical excellence. “The history of being one of the first in our industry in the region to be 100% employee owned is a source of pride and vital to the future success of our people and our company,” says Larson. While acknowledging the past, Larson is looking to the future and is excited about what is on the horizon. With the advancement of technology and the further expansion into new markets, the future is bright for AET. “We are a company that has a diverse service offering and an extraordinary depth of talent,” Larson says, “AET continues to strive to be a one stop shop for our clients, with highly qualified technical experts and extensive laboratory services to best serve them. Technology will drive much of our innovation going forward.”
A leader in the local community, Daniel has served, and continues to serve, on the board for the American Council of Engineering Companies Minnesota, where he is a key member of both the Legislative Committee and the Workforce Development Committee. He is also an active member of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, where he continues to serve on the Transportation Policy Committee.
For further information on the exciting changes for AET’s leadership team, please visit our original announcement found here.