Ryan became Vital Ground’s Executive Director and CEO in 2015 after spending the prior decade as Director of Lands and staff counsel. He is an active member of the Montana State Bar, holding a juris doctor with an Environmental and Natural Resources Law Certificate from the University of Montana School of Law, where he also served as editor-in-chief of the University’s Public Lands and Natural Resources Law Review and clerked for both the USDA Forest Service Office of General Counsel and the National Wildlife Federation.
As a fourth-generation Montanan, Ryan’s commitment to open space and all things wild stems from growing up on constant outdoor adventures with his family. After securing a bachelor’s degree in Geography with an English minor from the University of Montana, he immediately endeavored to give back to nature through wildlife conservation, working in public relations for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership before pursuing his law degree.
Ryan is active in his community, serving as a trustee for the Lolo School District and as a director on the board of the Montana School Group Insurance Authority. He and his wife, Jennifer, spend any free time exploring the Northwest’s grizzly country with their two sons, Westin and Carson.