Driving Change

Driving Change

By Alison Bailin Batz

In life and in business, Airpark resident Eric Olsen has a need for speed.

“Maybe it’s just because the driving industry runs in my blood,” says Olsen, whose father owned a trucking company in Westfield, Massachusetts. His grandfather ran the only school bus company in town.

As a kid, Olsen never stopped moving, constantly out with friends playing almost every sport imaginable, from baseball to lacrosse.

“I grew up in the ’80s, before tech, so I was always out shooting hoops with friends and keeping active,” Olsen says. “At home, it was more of the same. My mom is the youngest of seven, so there was always something going on between my four siblings and dozens of aunts, uncles and cousins.”

In 1991, things slowed down a bit when Olsen’s dad moved his trucking company to Arizona. At age 16, Olsen found himself across the country attending Arcadia High School.

“I became captivated by a marketing class I was taking, and it got me thinking about a career in the field,” Olsen says. “I decided to stay in town and enrolled at ASU in 1993, where I studied marketing at the W.P. Carey School of Business—about 10 years before that was even its name.”

When Olsen discovered marketing analytics during a college internship, the career picked up speed.

“I always thought marketing meant I had to go into sales. I never knew I could take a research route,” Olsen says. “Marketing analytics allowed me to explore the ‘why’ behind it all, and it sparked my lifelong passion.”

After graduating in 1997, Olsen jumped right into marketing. In the first few years of his career, he worked at a hotel in Northern Arizona and a European telecommunications company, in addition to a few other marketing, advertising and website development jobs.

“I could see the internet was starting to take off, and data was always in the back of my mind,” Olsen says. “I wanted to be able to tie in analysis and research about what works, what doesn’t and why in digital marketing. I decided to take after my dad’s example in entrepreneurship, starting my own firm in 2000.”

Olsen’s full-service digital marketing agency, Fasturtle, helps businesses and brands drive full speed ahead with website design, SEO, social media and email marketing. The company has now celebrated almost 20 years in the industry, working with clients from industry giant Disney to small businesses with a limited budget. His commitment to clients and expertise in the industry has earned Fasturtle praises from Entrepreneur Magazine and the Wall Street Journal.

“Some of the most special work we do is pro bono for nonprofit organizations across the Valley,” Olsen says. “We are passionate about giving back and donate our marketing services to several organizations, including Playworks, Make-A-Wish Arizona, St. Joseph the Worker, Arizona Friends of Foster Children, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix, and Skyline Wish Builders.”

Beyond that, his company recently released what it believes will revolutionize small-business marketing: Fastsites by Fasturtle.

“Using today’s technology, the program is a turnkey and expedited approach to web design that helps business owners develop and launch fully functional websites in less than a week,” Olsen says. “In a few simple clicks, even technology novices are easily able to enter the business’ details, choose a design, and give the award-winning team at Fasturtle direction on content.”

Users also have unlimited editing access after launching, meaning fine tuning and updates are easy and fast. Fastsites by Fasturtle starts at $995.

The program also has advanced design and content tools, creative design templates tailored to one’s industry, standard five webpages, and SSL and third-party integrations. It also offers U.S.-based customer support and the ability to pay a small fee for ongoing support and assistance as needed.

Away from work, Olsen volunteers his time with the Fresh Start Women’s Foundation Men’s Board, Tonto Creek Camp, Children’s Museum of Phoenix, and Feed My Starving Children.

“I believe wherever you work and play, you should also give back and add to society,” Olsen says. “My father was prominent in our community because of his business, and I am happy to prioritize community involvement today.”

Olsen also has his dad’s entrepreneurial success to thank for connecting him with his wife, Farah, whom he met at just 4 years old.

“Her father was an executive at one of the largest wholesale companies in the U.S. and was my father’s biggest client,” Olsen says. “As kids, our families spent time together, and Farah and I kept in touch even after we moved away to Arizona.”

Today, the two have three children: Jack, Joe and Maggie—all teens, and all family names.

“It was important for us to keep that family tradition alive,” Olsen says. “Having that connection to our relatives is really important.”

Teaching his oldest, Jack, how to drive was equally sentimental.

“It brought my life full circle,” says Olsen, whose drive is helping his family, the community, and businesses of all sizes each and every day. ν