Reprinted from the September 25, 2014 edition of the Onida Watchman – Onida, SD.
After fourteen-plus years of commuting the 30 miles from her home in Barnesville, MN to her job with Microsoft in Fargo, ND, Sully Buttes Class of 1993’s Becky (LaRosh) Newell decided to step out on her own. Stoneridge Software was founded in 2012 by Becky, her husband Eric and their business partner Cody Marshall. Stoneridge Software has been named ‘2014 best place to work’ by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal and one of ‘2014 Best 50 Companies’ by Prairie Business magazine.
“I guess after fourteen and a half years with Microsoft, we were getting a bit restless, and we thought we could make a bigger impact on our own” said Becky about the decision to start-up a software firm. “We live in the Stoneridge development in Barnesville, so the name says something about who we are.”
Becky says she spent a lot of sleepless nights the first year they were in business. “I kept myself awake wondering what I was thinking,” she said about leaving the security of a corporate job. The firm has been so successful that she now finds herself awake thinking about the expanding business.
With Eric Newell serving as President, Becky serving as Vice President of Development, and Cody Marshall taking on the Vice President of Services role, Stoneridge Software tweaks business software to meet the needs of individual clients.
Of primary concern for the new business was attracting quality employees in a very specialized field. “We needed to offer solid salaries and good benefits – things that people want,” said Becky. “Stoneridge Software is evidence that companies can be successful in small towns.”
In order to accommodate their growing business, Stoneridge Software recently renovated an historic building in Barnesville. “Barnesville is a town of 2500 people and zero office buildings, so we started looking around. We collaborated with the city in renovating the old City Hall, by paying for the renovations in exchange for rent. The building now has a slick technology feel, but it’s still listed on the National Register – a cool space with a cool story.” If the company ever builds their own facility, the city will still have the space to offer to someone else.
Becky says that the idea for the business was “obvious – we were already doing what we do now, but taking action; there is a lot of work involved in making an idea come to life, but the partners and employees work hard and are dedicated.”
“We’ve gained an hour by not commuting, and are closer to our kids. We’re more involved in our kids’ lives, and there’s not as much worry about the work-life balance.”
And with their youngest daughter only 8 years old, Becky says they don’t have plans to sell their business to fund their early retirement. “Barnesville is where our life is.”