Billy Ryan grew up a baseball fan at heart and after spending years working in Major League Baseball as both in scouting and administration for the league, Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves, he now calls Ponte Vedra home. His experience in professional baseball taught i]him a lot about the business world and he has found it easily translatable at his current job with real estate technology company Avenue One.
Can you please briefly tell us about your background and where you are from?
I grew up outside of Boston and was always an athlete. It really became a big part of who I was growing up. It was a part of my identity.
I was fortunate to play college baseball at Davidson before starting a career in scouting.
I worked for the commissioner’s office as an administrator in New York City where I got a unique balance of baseball and the business side of things.
I worked for the Diamondbacks and then moved to Atlanta to be part of the Braves organization right before our first child was going to be born. It was a great family move because my wife is from Atlanta.
What brought you to Ponte Vedra?
We got married in Ponte Vedra years ago and my wife came down here on vacation growing up.
After I got out of baseball, the lightbulb went off that we can pick where we live for the first time.
That’s when I got the job at Avenue One, which is a real estate technology company that works with local small businesses in dozens of cities across the country.
Did your time in baseball help with your role at Avenue One?
As a kid you play sports because you love it, but it’s the culture and values that keep you in it.
I didn’t realize how much the leadership skills and teamwork from my days in baseball would so easily translate to the business world.
That teamwork and comradery is the type of culture and atmosphere we’ve instilled at Avenue One, and it is a really successful business model.
I always like to give the benefit of the doubt to former athletes during the hiring process because you can learn so much from playing sports. It teaches you how to be a teammate and have empathy for others.
I try not to lean on the sports analogies too much, but it’s important to know when to shoot the ball and when to pass it.
What are the most rewarding parts from working with Avenue One?
We’ve definitely grown a lot since we started.
There are a lot of parallels to startup companies and rebuilds that sports teams endure. The foundation of a company or team is what establishes success in the future, and I place a lot of value in that.
It takes a lot of people to form the continuity a company needs, and there’s nothing like watching that take shape.
I remember watching the Braves win the World Series a couple of years ago and knowing that I had a hand in helping that path to a title get started, and knowing that there talented roster was the result of years of planning and hard work.
I’m hoping to see the same for Avenue One, and I believe we have the pieces in place to make that happen. Our future is very bright.
What are some of your hobbies you enjoy?
I started a blog at nooneiswatching.com, which focuses on telling interesting stories about how to go about living life to the best of our abilities and cultivating ones talent by understanding its all about the way we approach our lives in the moments when no one is watching.
I’m also a beach guy, so being near the water is like therapy for me. It’s funny how when you grow up in Boston, it’s the same ocean but it feels like it’s totally different once you get down here and experience it.
My wife and I also recently had our third child, so that is something else that we have been really focused on.