Gary Ryan: Entrepreneurial Ambition
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — Gary Ryan may be a contractor by profession, but given his diverse occupational background, a better designation might be “jack of all trades,” even though he prefers to think of himself as an entrepreneur. “I worked as a painter during college, and after I graduated, I spent several years in corporate America,” he says. “I’ve worked for a major car manufacturer, been a produce broker, worked for an airline and a shipyard…I’ve kind of done it all. Through everything, however, my main goal was to be an entrepreneur, which I eventually was able to succeed at.”
When it came to fulfilling his entrepreneurial aspirations, it was the construction industry that provided Gary with the opportunity he sought. “During college, I got my contractor’s license for painting, and from that point on, I always had some kind of construction project going on the side, even while I was working in the corporate sector,” he says. “Twelve years ago, my brother, Chad, and I decided to get our general contractor’s licenses and founded Ryan & Ryan Construction. From there, we proceeded to get a few more licenses and have continued to expand our capabilities, so it’s been a gradual progression.”
A lifetime resident of South San Francisco (where he lives with his wife, Iliana, and daughters, Havana and Aviana), Gary expresses his appreciation for life in the City by the Bay. “This is the Disneyland of America,” he laughs. “It’s the best place to live and work. Plus, I’m a third-generation local, so all my friends and family are here.”
Outside of work, Gary keeps himself busy with fitness and family activities. “I’m a health fanatic, so diet and exercise are a big deal for me,” he says. “I keep myself in shape by working out and cycling on a daily basis. I also like spending time with my girls—I usually work six days a week, but Sunday is always family day.”
In regard to his life and career, Gary espouses the importance of maintaining balance. “Too much of anything is too much, so it’s important to find a balance in all aspects of your life,” he affirms. “Sometimes it takes a while to attain it, but eventually there comes a point where you have to say, ‘Enough is enough’ and make some adjustments. I think a big part of it involves being true to yourself as well as others.”
When asked what his future retirement might look like, Gary says he’s not sure because it will probably never happen. “I don’t want to retire. I want to work for the rest of my life. I enjoy what I do, and I love being a boss and mentor. It’s like I said, I’m an entrepreneur to the core.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Work. I own another company called ServiceMaster, and our business picks up when it rains, so I’m usually out fixing leaks.
Q: Do you have a favorite TV show?
A: No, but I’m a history fanatic, so I love watching the History Channel.
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Firenze by Night in San Francisco.
Q: Music or talk radio?
Q: What’s your favorite band?