Growing up with two parents, a grandfather, three aunts, and two uncles in the real estate business, Ryan learned a lot while tagging along at open houses. Seeing his mom restructure a deal three times before getting it closed taught him to appreciate creative problem-solving. Watching his dad work with plumbers and exterminators to resolve last-minute emergencies showed him the value of resourcefulness and quick thinking. And observing business relationships lasting over a decade demonstrated the importance of getting to know your clients. After all, you can’t help them unless you truly understand their needs. These skills from the business world have served Ryan well on the campaign trail and on Capitol Hill, and they continue to guide his work in federal policy.
As Director of the Climate and Energy Program at Third Way, Ryan oversees the organization’s deep decarbonization efforts, including work on advanced nuclear technologies, carbon capture and storage, and alternative fuels and vehicles. Across this portfolio, Ryan’s efforts are focused on developing and promoting policy solutions that “thread the needle” to meet America’s climate and economic growth needs. By developing relationships with stakeholders in advocacy, industry, federal agencies and on Capitol Hill, Ryan builds a well-rounded understanding of complex energy issues beyond their talking points—and uses that understanding to help Third Way influence policy debates through written products, direct outreach to policymakers, coalition-building, and educational events.
Ryan graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005 with a degree in Spanish and International Studies. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Asheville, NC and began working as deputy finance director on the congressional campaign of first-time candidate Heath Shuler. Upon his victory in 2006, Shuler asked Ryan to join his Washington office to advise him on energy, transportation, and environmental policy. After four years serving a moderate Democrat who was highly engaged in forging creative and bipartisan policy initiatives, Ryan came to Third Way and quickly felt right at home.
Though he enjoys using the problem-solving skills he learned from his parents to advance clean energy policy, Ryan maintains his North Carolina real estate broker’s license and rarely passes by an open house without stopping to take a quick peek. It’s in the blood, you could say.
Follow Ryan on Twitter @rdfitzpat.
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