Chuck Ryan. photo provided
Chuck Ryan. photo provided

Chuck Ryan has only lived in Sisters for three years, but he has already firmly established himself as a willing volunteer in a number of community endeavors. He has now volunteered to run for a position on the Sisters City Council.

The New Haven, Connecticut native has used his comprehensive background in finance to provide valuable expertise as chairman of the City's budget committee for two years, as a committee member for the Economic Development of Central Oregon (EDCO) forgivable loan program in Sisters, and as a member of the board of directors for the SOAR Foundation in Sisters.

Ryan received his undergraduate degree in accounting from Quinnipiac University, his MBA in finance from the University of New Haven, and is licensed as a certified public accountant (CPA).

Before settling in their home in Coyote Springs three years ago, Ryan and his wife Lidia moved 11 times due to his lifelong career as a chief financial officer (CFO) and financial consultant specializing in manufacturing and aerospace. Ryan served as CFO of multiple private equity-owned companies as well as Fortune 50 companies. He is an expert in strategic planning and budgeting, government contracting, risk management, operations, and finance and treasury functions.

In 2012, as the senior vice president and CFO of Erickson Aviation in Portland, he conducted two major acquisitions, multiple Wall Street funding activities, and took the company from a private business to a public one with shareholders. That initial public offering of Erickson, Inc. was the first IPO done in Oregon in eight years.

His other positions took Ryan to Albany, New York; Boston, Massachusetts; Litchfield, Connecticut; and Cincinnati, Ohio. When asked if he and Lidia would be staying in Sisters, Ryan replied, "We love it here. This is it. We're not going anywhere."

Ryan's active lifestyle is well-served in Sisters, as he enjoys running (especially up mountains); biking; hiking; and - like many Sisters residents ­- is a big-time dog-lover.

The Ryans have three adult children, two in Connecticut and one in Tennessee; and two grandchildren.

Ryan believes he has the necessary bandwidth to serve as a councilor. He has numerous skills that lend themselves to the duties required of councilors.

"I'm a leader, good at building consensus, and I know financials," he said. "I have the energy, time, and initiative."

The first and most important item Ryan believes the new Council must focus on is hiring a good permanent city manager. He would like to see a thorough interview process, looking at as many qualified candidates as possible, in order to hire the person who will be the best fit.

With his years of strategic planning experience, Ryan would like to see the Council take a longer-term approach to problem-solving and goal-setting.

"There will always be distractions that require some attention, but Council needs a long-term strategy that it sticks to when making decisions," he said.

The whole subject of the need for affordable housing in Sisters is one area where he sees lack of a long-range strategy, creating the recent "rushed" decision regarding $300,000 from the City in support of an affordable townhouse development. Plans for funding affordable housing, Ryan thinks, should have been made prior to budget deliberations so that enough designated funds were available to support the proposed project.

Ryan believes that business diversification and family-wage jobs that will attract families with school-aged children are important issues, but new people, as well as current residents, need housing.

The City's financials are of prime interest to the CPA, who is already familiar with government accounting. If elected, Ryan plans to "spend a lot of time understanding the financials." He pointed to the previous miscalculations regarding the strategic reserve funds, which indicated the City had well over a million dollars in reserves, whereas, after unbudgeted legal expenses, and correcting the accounting procedures, there is more like $300,000 in reserves.

Ryan is running for Council because he "loves living in this town" and "wants to help." He is serious about the commitment required, saying he is up for serving four years.

"I would be willing to serve as mayor. If I'm going to dip my toe in, I might as well dip it all the way," he said.

He sees himself as a team player. He also believes it is important that Council meetings be run properly and that councilors need to avoid going off on tangents.

"I have a lot to offer and I have the time. I believe in doing my homework, conducting research, and coming to meetings educated and prepared," Ryan said.