Pat Ryan Jr.: From Teacher to Police Officer to CEO

A used-car inventory-management software system with impressive dealership clients comes from First Look, a firm headed by Patrick G. Ryan Jr., a former teacher and an ex-police officer.

A used-car inventory-management software system with impressive dealership clients comes from First Look, a firm headed by Patrick G. Ryan Jr., a former teacher and an ex-police officer.

He's also the son of Pat Ryan, chairman of Aon Corp. and creator of finance and insurance as a designated dealership department.

Besides having a famous father, Pat Jr. has some mega-dealer clients for his product. They include three major dealership groups: United Auto Group, Hendrick Automotive Group and Lithia Motors.

Ryan Jr. speaks enthusiastically and knowledgeably about his software system for managing, tracking and analyzing used-vehicle inventory sales, turns and profits.

He looks like a young executive, and is one, having earned MBA and law degrees from Northwestern University.

But before that, Ryan, fresh out of undergraduate school, worked as a teacher on the west side of Chicago, as part of a Peace Corps-type service opportunity.

From there he started a program to bring top college graduates into underserved communities. A graduate of the Chicago Police Academy, he also worked as a narcotics-squad police detective in the same neighborhoods.

After graduate school, he ran Ryan Enterprises, a family investment business with holdings that include dealerships.

He started First Look after “seeing that the dealership world had not yet done for the pre-owned department what my father had done for F&I.”

He says his system offers two separate products in the same program.

One is the inventory-management function that Ryan says is easy and intuitive for traditional used-car managers to use. “If they aren't comfortable with it they won't use it,” he says.

The second is a performance analyzer that sorts through data so dealers and general managers can “get deeply involved in driving pre-owned performance without having to drop everything else they are doing.”

He says the system can make good dealership personnel great. “My dad jokes that I'm doing the same thing with technology that he started doing 40 years ago with F&I training.”

TAGS: Dealers Retail
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