Getting to Know: Scott Ryan, Vice President, Operations

Introducing our Leadership Spotlight Series!

Each member of our leadership team brings unique skills and strengths to their role. Moving forward, our Leading With Care blog will occasionally include employee profiles featuring individual Merkle RMG leaders — giving our readers a chance to know the people at the helm of Merkle RMG.

Meet Scott Ryan

Today, we kick off our series with a spotlight on Scott Ryan, Merkle RMG’s vice president of operations. Scott joined our team in 2008 and currently oversees all of Merkle RMG’s core services, including mail processing, scanning, imaging, data entry, exceptions processing, contact center and fulfillment. With more than 20 years of management experience in direct mail donation processing, Scott ensures that we’re continually setting new standards for excellence in helping our clients serve their donors. Learn more in the Q&A below.

You have a background in banking. What drew you to a career in response processing?

I worked for a small local bank while I was in college, but it didn’t offer me much opportunity for growth after graduation. I responded to an ad for a general manager position at Electronic Banking System (EBS) in Hagerstown, and I got the job. It was a fairly seamless transition because it involved encoding checks and the balancing aspect of banking, but it also gave me experience in mail opening and data capture. After seven years, I leveraged those skills in my next role managing client services at First Data, a credit card payment processor. I eventually brought all of that experience to a general manager position at one of Merkle RMG’s competitors.

(Fun fact: About two years after I left EBS, Merkle RMG bought it. So in a way, working at Merkle RMG is a return to my roots!)

Describe your journey to your executive role at Merkle RMG.

After nine years working in direct mail processing, I joined Merkle RMG as a project manager and worked with architects and designers to orchestrate the company’s move to our current facility. Once everyone was relocated, Merkle RMG gave me the chance to stay on board as a director of operations. I already had experience with some of the production equipment that our president, Bill Sayre, was investing in, which led to me overseeing the mail processing area.

Then I was given the opportunity to lead a specialized data entry project. At the time, our data entry took place at a separate facility about an hour away. One of my big achievements was establishing our Hagerstown data entry facility, and eventually shutting down the other within two years. From there, I took on the imaging area of our business. And last year, I began overseeing Merkle RMG’s call center, exceptions, fulfillment and warehousing as our newly minted vice president of operations.   

How does your previous experience contribute to your success in your current role?

During my time at EBS and Merkle RMG’s competitor, I became very familiar with imaging and data, as well as some fulfillment. And at First Data, I oversaw a team of call center agents. As a result of that work and my banking background, I had experience in every core service area by the time I came to Merkle RMG.

Why do you fit so well with Merkle RMG’s culture?

I embrace the idea that at Merkle RMG we need to deliver a high level of service efficiently, and to do so we need great staff that enjoys their work and stays with us for the long run. We’re able to produce and meet our objectives by challenging our employees but not overtaxing them. We do what needs to be done and we have fun doing it.

During my time here, I’ve been fortunate to not only meet great people, but promote great people. I have a fantastic management team, and that makes my life so much easier. I have complete confidence in them, and I don’t have to micromanage. That gives me the freedom to focus on planning, staffing and getting new clients acclimated.

What philosophies do you apply to your work?

I’m a firm believer in management by walking around. My office is in a production area, so I’m constantly on the floor and interacting with staff.

I also believe in promoting from within. That’s why I sought out our relationship with Kaplan University — to develop the people who are already part of Merkle RMG’s culture and prepare them for future positions, versus hiring externally. I also started a program that allows employees to spend time in other departments to learn about different areas of the business. That exposure helps them understand the entire process, and how what they do affects everyone else. I see that as an important stepping stone to growth.

What are some activities you enjoy outside of the office?

My favorite thing is getting out in nature. I love to do a lot of hiking in the mountains, and my family likes to vacation in the Great Smokey Mountains. My wife and I also do some walking and jogging on the C&O Canal. My daughter’s fiancé is a big outdoorsman, so I’ve been getting involved in fishing over the last year or so.

I’m a Hagerstown native, and I’m married with two children. My son, who is a supervisor here at Merkle RMG, was married last year. My daughter will be married in December 2017 in the same church where my wife and I were married. It’s bittersweet, but exciting!