From a young age, Ryan Wheaton was entrepreneurial. At five years old, he brought all his Big Wheel toys to the front yard and put up a “for sale” sign. At 11 years old, he created his own community candy store. Then, he moved into the bread business. He would buy day-old bread from the thrift stores and peddle it from door-to-door in the neighborhood.
“It was a passion from the start. I’ve always been inspired to do something in business and entrepreneurship,” said Ryan.
Ryan grew up in the mill town of Guilford, ME, and studied business management information systems at the University of Presque Isle.
His first job out of college was in Portland as a marketing assistant at a financial company. While working, he worked towards his Master’s in Business Administration.
After completing his degree, he worked at Idexx Laboratories, first in sales and then as a financial analyst. He also began teaching management part time for a local adult education program.
After leaving Idexx, Ryan started his own business.
“I knew that my business was going to be fairly short-lived because I was counting on our U.S. currency, which was doing terrible at the time,” he said. “That was helping me sell products overseas. I knew that once our dollar corrected itself I wouldn’t have a market anymore.”
Around the time his business fizzled out in 2010, Ryan received an opportunity to create an entrepreneurial-focused business program at an Augusta high school, Capital Area Tech.
Through this job, he was connected with Thomas and the dual enrollment program. He was recruited to be an adjunct instructor at Thomas and four years later, he took a job as a professor of Management.
“I enjoy the diversity of our students. I also enjoy the flexibility of the classes that I teach. I don’t specialize in just one area,” he said.
Ryan teaches Marketing Research, Marketing Management, Operations Management, Operations Research, Management Information Systems, Computer THOMAS MAGAZINE 29
Applications, Interpersonal Relations, and Business Policies and Strategies.
Ryan has a heavy course load but is happy he is able to teach both undergraduate and graduate students, as well as professional development courses.
When Ryan is not working, he is spending time with his family: his wife, eight-year-old son Manny, who was adopted from Ethiopia, and 18-month-old Christian. He’s also passionate about running.
Ryan says high school students should consider Thomas not only because of the variety of programs offered, but also because Thomas cares about students’ success.
*This story was originally published in the Spring/Summer 2018 Thomas Magazine.