If not for one fortuitous phone call, John F. Ryan might have pitched his way through a long career with the Atlanta Braves. He had a good arm back then, an offer to start in the minors and work his way up the ladder. Instead, after four seasons on the mound at Tulane University, where he still has one of the top six career earned run averages, Ryan fielded a call from William Alexander of Alexander Industries Inc., then a marine equipment supplier and ship chandler company. He listened to an offer to take over a new office and a new market for the company.
And he accepted.
That call sent Ryan to Houston, where he knew exactly … nobody. But he learned as much as he could, talked with as many people as possible and, within six years, had built up the new market to the point where his office dwarfed the original New Orleans office in annual sales figures. After the recession during the 1980s, Ryan opted to purchase the Houston office, prompting the name change to Alexander/Ryan Marine & Safety Co.
Today, 20 years after that purchase and 36 years after Ryan first joined the company, he is its president and owner. The company has expanded to London, with plans to soon expand to Mexico and Brazil. The success has been fast and furious across the last couple of decades after Ryan applied a new business model and diversified the product line to keep pace with customer needs and new regulations. Back in the 1970s, the company offered marine lifesaving equipment and life raft servicing. Now, it also offers field services, rental equipment, life rafts, engines, refurbishment, safety training, approvals and certifications.
The game has changed, yes, but Ryan is still in complete control.
How to reach: Alexander/Ryan Marine & Safety Co., (713) 923-1671 or www.alexanderryan.com