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  • Ackerman Estvold

Ackerman-Estvold Welcomes Addition of Partners

In 2003, four partners started Ackerman-Estvold with a modest goal of staying in business through 2004, and a big dream to create a workspace for other like-minded people who wanted to make a difference building communities.

As we approach our 20th year as an organization; we have worked on amazing projects, connected with wonderful partners, and have been lucky to serve many communities in North Dakota and Idaho. Adding to the evolution of Ackerman-Estvold, we are expanding the ownership group from 7 to 11, another exciting milestone which brings additional experience and perspectives to prepare us for the challenges and opportunities that will arise in the next 20 years.

Paul Kramer, Antonio Conti, Aaron Fornshell, and Brent Burgard have been added to the ownership team providing direction for the organization moving into the next phases as a company.

“There are a number of exciting things occurring in the organization, the disciplines we support, and the communities we have the privilege of working in. These gentlemen have proven to be leaders for our team and support our clients with integrity, hard work, and creative solutions. We are proud to have them join the ownership group of Ackerman-Estvold,” said Ryan Ackerman, CEO.

Paul Kramer serves as a Senior Designer in our Architecture group with over 30 years of experience in a large variety of roles from project design to project management, and client relations. Antonio Conti, PE and PLS, serves as a Senior Engineer and leads the Idaho operation; he has over 28 years of experience in design, site development, and surveying, and serves as an engineering contact for many small cities in Idaho. Aaron Fornshell, PE, serves as a Civil Engineer with over 14 years of experience in project management, project design, regional city consulting with water, wastewater, and complex construction projects management. Brent Burgard, serves as current Director of Finance, has over 14 years in the finance industry and is assuming the role of CFO managing the administration function of the company, also leading the finance and investment direction for the organization.

The new additions to our partnership group are willing to dig into each project with the team and work through solutions and problems for the best outcome for our clients. When approached with thoughts on their new ownership role; each provided perspectives on what it means to them personally to be involved in the principal leadership for the organization, their future vision for the A-E team, and their individual contribution.



Brent Burgard, Vice President, stated, “It’s an opportunity to bring a different perspective to the group and continue to build on the existing foundation that has been laid out by current and former leaders of the organization. I’m looking forward to contributing to the strategic and internal growth plan of the organization.” Brent started with AE in 2015 and has seen a lot of transition in the company. He has been willing to step up and serve in a variety of roles making sure the focus is the best interest of the overall organization.


Aaron has been an integral part of the AE team since 2011. The knowledge he has with complex construction projects has been critical in the role he serves related to flood mitigation projects, which have great impacts to the whole Mouse River Valley and its residents.

“I am eager for the opportunity to stretch myself and expand my role within the organization. I look forward to working with the leadership team to find additional ways to better serve our clients and communities”, said Aaron Fornshell, Vice President.



Paul came to the A-E team through a merger with another architecture firm in Minot in 2020 and has made a big impact in 3 years. When discussing a new role of partner, Paul Kramer, Vice President said, “I am completely humbled over the opportunity given to me in becoming a partner. Initially I watched from the outside and now as a team member, seeing the firm’s beginnings to all the company has grown into today, it is an honor having the trust of this peer group.” Paul has worked on many projects in the Minot community and surrounding areas and said this about his vision and this new role,” I look forward to the challenge of increasing our presence for new clients and communities in offices in our newer markets. I am excited to use my over three decades of experience to develop new connections, maintain developed partnerships, and help motivate co-workers and mentor employees new to this field. By being open to learning from each teammates strengths and working together we can continue to upholding the A-E core values.”



Antonio came to work at A-E in 2015 and a relocation to Idaho had him leaving the company in 2017. The connections he made while with the company drew him back, while he loved the opportunities in Idaho, he had not found the organizational fit he felt at Ackerman-Estvold. In 2018, after additional research on the market and continued discussions, the ownership group thought the expansion to the Idaho market made sense and Antonio seemed the clear leader for that office. He had created ties to communities within the region keying in on the same values AE was started with in 2003. When presented with the ownership opportunity Antonio Conti, Vice President, had this to say, “I love having the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the overall long-range vision of the company and provide input on the direction we head to in the future. My focus in Idaho has been exposure for the A-E brand and expanding our footprint in the Idaho/Oregon markets with emphasis on securing more government work, within my new role I look forward to continuing the momentum we started here in 2018.”


Reflecting back on the changes Ackerman-Estvold has moved through in the past few decades, Ryan Ackerman, CEO, says, “When we started this endeavor, there was no way for us to fully understand the wonderful opportunities and exceptional challenges that would be presented to us. Through energy booms and busts, housing crises, a major flood, a pandemic, and many more celebrations and stressors, we have become stronger and more effective as a team. Adding these four dedicated, trusted leaders to our executive team puts our organization in a stronger position to move forward into our next 20 years of success.”


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