Much like the landscape surrounding them rivers have changed Ryan’s life from his first memories of floating leaves down creeks in Smokey Mountain National Park. Ryan comes from a lineage of river professionals starting with his Great Grandfather who worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority building dams across the southeast, followed by his Grandfather who worked for the Army Corps of Engineers who worked as a lead water resource engineer managing the flows of many of the same dams his father built. Ryan continues this tradition at River Design Group, where the dams built during the days of his Great Grandfather are now being removed.
Ryan was a professional whitewater kayaker having taught previously at the US National Whitewater Center helping to train future Olympians. His kayaking career has taken him across the country to paddle some of the hardest whitewater rivers in the USA. While serving as a River Ranger for the BLM in California Ryan led an effort to map salmon habitat on steep mountain rivers inaccessible to traditional scientists. These efforts developed into his research project while obtaining his master’s degree from the University of Wyoming.
The use of remote sensing and drones in river restoration has increased dramatically in recent years and will continue as new technologies emerge. Ryan worked in the Fluvial Remote Sensing Laboratory where he and his colleagues developed new techniques and methods for mapping geomorphic and ecological characteristics of rivers in conjunction with a handful of river restoration/engineering projects. It was out of these experiences that Ryan knew that a career in river restoration would allow him to have a meaningful impact on an entire industry by pioneering many of these techniques in their first commercial application. His experience allows for our team to be at the cutting edge between research and practical application providing unmatched products for our clients and enhancing our ability to restore rivers.
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
— Heraclitus ~500 BC.