Eric (Rick) T. Olson, COO &
Victoria (Vicki) W. Olson, President & CEO
Military: First Canoe partners combined have over 80 years of experience in the military at the flag/senior officer and civilian levels. Our partners have served in top-level positions, Secretary of the Army, high-level command, key staff (joint and multinational), and in leadership roles in community organizations that support the military and civilian organizations.
Business: We are local high-level officers, board members, successful small-business owners and entrepreneurs with experience in the not-for-profit sector, specializing in the energy, construction, and services sectors.
International: Extensive experience working with foreign companies and government organizations with projects in the Asia-Pacific region, the Mideast, and beyond.
Education and Academia: We have extensive experience in education and strong interests in School Behavioral Health issues.. Rick Olson served as the Commandant of Cadets at West Point and Vicki Olson holds an degree in Education and taught at multiple school levels.
Local and Hawaiian Communities: Experience in understanding the challenges & opportunities offered within a community comprised of diverse cultures.
Leadership Lessons is a series of occasional papers designed to inform discussions about leadership and leader development.
More about the Partners:
First Canoe partners collectively have over 80 years of experience leading large, complex organizations in the business, military, and non-profit communities.
Rick Olson has an extensive record of distinguished service to the United States government as both a military and civilian professional.
He retired from the Army in January 2006 after a 33-year career in which he achieved the rank of Major General and commanded at every level from platoon to division, spending his last three years of service as the commanding general of the Hawaii-based 25th Infantry Division (Light). He also served as the commander of Combined, Joint Task Force 76, responsible for all security and reconstruction operations in Afghanistan. From 2000 to 2002, he was the 68th commandant of the U.S. Military Academy, West Point.
As a civilian official, Rick served twice in the Senior Executive Service of the U.S. government, first in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad as deputy director of the Department of State's Iraq Reconstruction Management Office, and then as chief of staff and special advisor to the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.
Rick gained experience in the private sector in the Asia-Pacific Region when, following his retirement from the Army, he served as vice president of MPEG LA, the nation's leading patent license firm, where he was responsible for initiating the first-ever effort to promote intellectual property rights and a patent license model in China.
A distinguished graduate of West Point, Rick earned a master's degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University. He also attended the U.S. Command and General Staff College and the Defense Language Institute, and he completed a Senior Service College Fellowship at Georgetown University.
Vicki Olson has earned a BA in Education and a Master of Business Administration degree. After having taught at the elementary school and junior college level, she became a certified Realtor in both Colorado and Virginia and started her own small business in 1982.
Vicki is proud of the work she has done in support of countless Army soldiers and their families while serving as the leader of the 25th Infantry Division and USARHAW Family Readiness Group during deployments to both Afghanistan and Iraq.
Prior to her 2002 arrival at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and the 25th ID (L), she was very active in family support work in the 24th Infantry Division (Ft. Stewart & Ft. Benning, Ga.), the 1st Cavalry Division (Ft. Hood, Tex.) and the 1st Infantry Division (Wurzburg, Germany) during major deployments to Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Somalia, Kuwait, Macedonia, and Macedonia/Kosovo. In 1995, she was selected as the Army's representative to testify before Congress to give the perspective of a military spouse on the of OPTEMPO /PERSTEMPO on military families. Vicki created several pilot programs that have served as models for other communities and has received wide recognition for her contributions wherever she has served. For the past 10years, her efforts have focused on forming partnerships within the military community and between the military and civilian communities.
Vicki is currently the executive director of the Hawaii Army Museum Society and serves on the School Mental Health Advisory Board at Tripler Army Medical Center, the Board of Directors of the Pacific Gateway Center, the Wahiawa Elementary School Behavioral Health Advisory Board, and served in the past on the board of directors of Hospice Hawaii, the Council of Advisors of USO Hawaii, and the 2012 Congressional Medal of Honor Convention Operating Committee. Additionally she is a founding member of Pohai Pulama ("The Caring Circle"), a multi-agency group whose focus is the wellness and resilience of the Hawaii Army community achieved through the collaboration of relevant agencies and stakeholders.
In February 2011, Vicki received the Secretary of the Army's Public Service Award.