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Generation Next 2016: Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith

 

Age as of Jan. 1: 38

Title: Civil Department manager

Company: Thomas & Hutton Engineering Co.

Savannah neighborhood: Midtown

 

Q: What are your top three business growth accomplishments?

A: Becoming a partner at Thomas & Hutton

A: Sit on numerous committees of the board of directors to help accomplish the strategic objectives of the company

A: Named civil department manager in 2014; department increased revenue by 15 percent in 2015.

 

Q: What are your top business awards/accolades?

A: Received professional registrations for Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina

A: Became LEED accredited in 2009

 

Q: What are your top three philanthropic leadership roles?

A: Serve as the treasurer on the board for Girls on the Run of Coastal Georgia

A: Host annual Halloween fundraiser at our house for Girls on the Run called a Night of Fun for Girls on the Run. Raised more than $4,000 this year.

A: Regular volunteer for service events related to Rotary, Second Harvest of Savannah and United Way

 

Q: How will you do business differently in the coming year or decade?

A: We need to focus more on our current employees’ needs and provide them with the support they need to achieve a balanced lifestyle.

 

Q: What technological or cultural advances are you looking forward to in the coming year or decade?

A: Thomas & Hutton has some extremely intelligent and creative employees. I look forward to what they will come up with next. Our last creation, which we are continuing to improve, is called geothinQ, which is a Web-based GIS (geographical information system) interface to improve the vision of your business by analyzing data based on special location. It has changed the way we operate our business from the entry level employee all the way to the CEO.

 

Q: What qualities or assets will distinguish Savannah and preserve/advance our local economy?

A: Savannah has two unique core economic drivers (the port and tourism) that will help foster a solid local economy. The port has really implemented a sophisticated and intelligent growth plan, and I believe city leaders need to do the same for the Historic District, which attracts the tourism dollars. The number one priority should be safety.

 

Q: What economic drivers and business sectors promise the most growth in the next year or decade and why?

A: After Volvo went to South Carolina, I think a lot of people were scratching their heads in disbelief. I believe this decision, while disappointing, will challenge the EDA’s and the state to get creative and ensure that the next large manufacturing opportunity lands in our area.

 

Q: What college degrees will be the most in-demand in the Savannah area and why?

A: I think the medical industry will continue to thrive as baby boomers continue to age. People are more demanding of medical professionals, and the business is becoming quite savvy. I think this will be attractive to young people who want to guarantee a job out of university.

 

Q: What advice do you have for other Savannah leaders in the coming year or decade?

A: Don’t get caught up in the politics and always fight against the status quo. Vote for competent, thought provoking leaders and hold them accountable for what they say. Get involved in your community and champion something that makes you passionate.

 

Q: What innovation of yours do you hope will be remembered by future generations?

A: I didn’t invent it, but I try bring an authentic energy and passion to the way I approach people and business. If I am remembered for bringing joy into people’s lives when they needed it most, I will be happy.

 

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