Erik Grimestad

                                             SPOTLIGHT ON ERIK GRIMESTAD 
                                                            CLASS OF 2000

It’s hard to imagine that it’s been 19 years since I graduated. It’s funny, because I came to Collier as a troubled kid who had a major problem with authority and relationships. I was very lucky to grow up in a good home, but I was constantly battling everything. My parents loved me, but I fought them hard. Now they are some of my best friends.  I also remember giving Mr. Breen, Mr. Buchanan, Mr. Talty and Mr. Donahue headaches.  I visited  Mr. Bock and Mrs. Colmore numerous times. I really didn't get involved while in school, but I knew the teachers cared about me. I was that kid that others may be shocked to read about. The teachers really took time out of their days for me. Maybe that’s why I fought back and always caused trouble. The teachers at Collier cared, even for a goofball like me. It's funny because I look back now and my advice would be to try the best you can and you won't regret it.  You can fight city hall, but you won't win. And I didn’t, I just delayed things. 

EGAfter school I took two years off and then moved to Illinois after my father’s job transfer. Then somewhere down the line, it clicked. The time that the teachers at Collier and my parents had invested in me hit me in the head. I retook the ACT’s, tested really well, went to college, graduated with honors and have had a really wonderful career.  I don’t say any of this to brag. I say it to encourage you to see the big picture. You will have to grow up, you will have to have a job. There are people by your side wanting to help. So this is for anyone who has it hard at home and is trying or for anyone who has it good and is fighting the system. You can do it, you're a success, keep fighting, use school as a tool. 

I currently live in Charlotte, North Carolina and work in Risk Mitigation.  I sell 401(k) plans and Insurance to National Auto Dealers and Manufacturing Accounts.  In 2006, I triple majored from Elmhurst College in the Chicago Suburbs in Finance/Marketing and Communication and have stayed in the finance field.  

I got married to my wife Ami (that’s Ami in the pic) in 2008 and we have been going through the adoption process and are also planning on having our own children.  We are very involved in our Church, Congregations for Kids, Focus on the Family, and inner city gospel outreach and of course our two dogs as well. I have also fought in Golden Gloves and now fight in the Masters Division. I’ve become a bit of a fitness nut and would like to complete an Ironman someday. I enjoy traveling with Ami, as we’ve been to Hawaii and Mexico almost 10 times, Boston and Charleston SC another 10 and I’ve been lucky enough to go overseas many times. 

My father always said I was like the book “ Leo the Late Bloomer.” If you’re a late bloomer that’s ok!  Some things take time and for those who may still be struggling, this is for you, your time will come, just keep working towards it.

~By Erik Grimestad