One factor that probably distinguishes Ryan Baughman from most of the rest of us is that we haven’t spent a year in the woods under an open sky.
Ryan’s annus al fresco began shortly after his graduation from Mt. Vernon Nazarene University in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. He signed on as a counselor for a non-profit that served as a last alternative for at-risk kids deemed prison-bound. He was 22 at the time, responsible for the care of 12 boys ranging in age from 11 to 17. The program was set in thousands of acres of forest, located mostly in a county with a population of fewer than 4,000.
“It was extremely challenging. We had lots of extreme emotions going on with these kids, who often quickly became aggressive. Most of them had grown up on the street. We lived in tents, cooked over an open fire, and talked a lot about healthy ways to manage their anger. I was their teacher, their parent, their coach, whatever they needed me to be. It was a great experience – but when my year was over, I was ready to come home.”
“My biggest takeaway? The kids were very sensitive. I had to develop the ability to quickly de-escalate tense situations, just by listening and validating their feelings.”
Ryan’s parents both worked hard for everything they have. From his dad, a carpenter, Ryan learned the rule of quality over quantity. He remembers his mother working an administrative job at the college he attended just so he could receive a discount on his tuition. He’s the first college graduate in his family.
As a lifeguard at the Wilmington YMCA 12 years ago, Ryan met Bruce, a retired teacher and school administrator. He became Ryan’s friend and mentor. Ryan attributes most of his success to Bruce. “He always sees the best in me and gives me great advice no matter what situation I am facing.”
Ryan describes himself as an outdoors guy. He has backpacked and explored dozens of national parks, and would love to buy a cabin in the Rocky Mountains someday. Some of his favorite hobbies are tinkering with his Jeep Wrangler, riding his Yamaha ATV, and helping his in-laws on their 100-acre cattle farm in Clinton County.
He is grateful to be the Firm’s Chief Information Officer. “This place puts a great deal of trust in my decisions in terms of the technology in play here. I work best when I’m making strategic decisions.”
Ryan serves as the Firm’s Chief Information Officer which consists of oversight of all the Firm’s information technology and security. With the help of his team which includes a network engineer, systems administrator, .net programmer, technical trainer, and systems support analyst, Ryan is responsible for all the technology and security in eight different locations ranging from Cincinnati to Dallas. His engineering mind makes him passionate about how technology works whether it’s the architecture of the Firm’s two data centers or the code behind a custom web application.
In high school Ryan excelled in math and science and was more interested in taking apart and rebuilding his home PC than he was using it as a word processor. While attending Mount Vernon Nazarene University, he studied computer science and completed his bachelor’s degree in Psychology. During his entire college enrollment he worked in his university’s Academic Computing Department where he supported other students in the computer labs and installed academic software on computers all around the campus. He also completed a two-year computer science internship working as a Student Computing and Network Access Specialist at a neighboring university. There he supported the network connectivity for the entire student body and maintained the software and hardware of the computers in all the student labs across the campus.
Ryan remembers working at the Gateway Computer Country Store in Columbus when they announced they were closing all of their retail stores. After that his career steered him away from computers for a few years until he began working as a software support analyst for a development company that specializes in legal software. There he supported hundreds of law firms nationwide and was quickly promoted to support manager. Ryan joined Graydon in 2013 as the Firm’s IT Manager and has since then been promoted to IT Director and now his current position of Chief Information Officer.
During his five years with Graydon, Ryan has participated on several committees including the firms Technology Committee which he chairs, Wellness Committee, Future Committee, and Paperless Task Force. He is also a member of Cincinnati State Technical College’s Academic Advisory Board which oversees the curriculum of the Computer Network Administration and Computer Support and Administration Programs.