Honoree Name: Ben Erhard
Company: Wellfleet Shellfish Company
Career background / highlights: My career has spanned the ski/outdoor industry, a health-food startup company and an employee-owned global technology manufacturer. At Wellfleet Shellfish Company, I helped guide the business through a corporate split-up while securing grant funding for investments in capital improvements to modernize operations and expand nationwide distribution of locally harvested seafood.
Community commitment: Treasurer, Cape Cod chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association; community outreach educator for Wellfleet Shellfish Promotion and Tasting.
Favorite professional moment: Towards the end of 2019 I stepped away from my finance career to move back to Cape Cod and work as a farmhand for an oyster grower. One morning in February 2020, as we headed out to the grant, the water was calm and still, with steam fog rising up where it met the frigid air. The sunrise suddenly broke the horizon and the temperature became considerably warmer; we were immersed in an orange-blue glow of sea smoke, the air filled with a potent mixture of engine exhaust, coffee, gasoline, and the ocean. The entire crew snapped awake and started to hoot and holler. I had never felt such satisfaction or a sense of being completely alive in a work environment and it has helped guide my career ever since.
Who is your role model / mentor? My dad.
What mistake has taught you the most? When I began to explore my own life-path I was under the false impression that adding more and more responsibility or commitments was the measure of success. It wasn’t until I began to focus on simplifying my life that I started to attain considerable forward momentum.
What one book has impacted your life? “Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm” by Erin Byers Murray.
What is your superpower? Remaining positive and focusing on solutions.
Where can you be found on the weekends? Depending on the season, I can be found riding my bike, running a trail, enjoying my boat or on a pair of skis. The best weekends involve a combination of these activities.