Reprinted with permission from the January 11, 2015 edition of the Fergus Falls Daily Journal.
by Jeff Meier
A long-time Fergus Falls resident recently started a software solutions company in Barnesville that has already grown to 39 employees with 3 total offices in just a few short years.
Eric Newell founded Stoneridge Software in 2012 in Barnesville, a company that has already achieved success and earned recognition. Newell describes the company’s mission as “enabling your business,” meaning Stoneridge looks to offer tools that make a business more flexible and well-functioning.
Newell grew up in Fergus Falls and attended Fergus Falls High School. He lived in the city until he was 24 while studying business at the University of Minnesota Morris.
Newell didn’t plan to have a career in computer technology, and his first job out of college was at Great Plains Natural Gas Company. However, he always liked working with computers and fell into the industry naturally.
“I enjoy using technology to make business easier,” Newell said.
Newell decided to start his own business during his last year at a Microsoft outlet, formerly Great Plains Software, in Fargo, after commuting there from Barnesville since 1999. He became comfortable with the program Microsoft Dynamics AX during those years and knew he wanted to branch and start a partner business. He realized there was a missing link between the customer and the provider at his larger company. Newell had plans to head his own business since college and started Stoneridge in Barnesville because of his familiarity with small towns.
“I always wanted to start my own business,” Newell said. “It was risky, but we found our footing quickly.”
Stoneridge Software received accolades in 2014, including being named one of the 100 best companies to work for in three magazines: Minnesota Business, Prairie Business and Minneapolis St Paul Business Journal.
“That is the achievement I’m most proud of,” Newell said.
Stoneridge is mainly a midwest business but added its first out of state office in August 2014 in Kansas City after a separate company was looking to sell and subsequently reached out to Newell.
“We feel like Kansas is a good step for our evolution,” Newell said.