Today marks the first time in many years that Ryan Smith hasn’t called HighGround home. After nearly eight years at our firm, Ryan began his new career today as the Government Relations Coordinator for Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. All of his colleagues here at HighGround cannot be more pleased for him and for the Airport Authority; they are getting a wonderful human being and we still have a great friend.
It was during Ryan’s father’s initial campaign for Mayor of Mesa in 2007-08 that we first met him. He was working tirelessly for his father’s campaign and I joked with him that he was like a Mormon on a mission. Everything I needed to know about Ryan I learned in that campaign: tireless and kind, he exuded a genuine warmth for everyone around him. And after that successful campaign, we happily adopted him and it was a blessing for both parties ever since.
And yes, Ryan is a technophile and head master of all things electronic. Everyone knows that he always has to be the first one with any new gadget. Check his calendar and you will see the iPhone 7 release is already marked…
About Ryan’s time here at HighGround: he readily embraced our culture of choosing to do the hard things. As JFK said, “that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.” Certainly over the last eight years–from Governor Brewer’s campaign, to a new Spring Training home for the Chicago Cubs, to efforts to preserve the David Wright House in Phoenix – Ryan helped us do the hard things and we, and he, are better for it.
But here’s the other thing about doing the hard things – I was doing a bible study earlier this year with a group from my church studying many of the parables in the New Testament. The last one we looked at was Luke 14:28-35; Counting the Costs. For certain, when anyone attempts to do hard things there is certainly a great cost. Former Governor Brewer was fond of quoting her mother who told her many, many times that doing the right thing almost always means doing the hard thing. And so it was with Ryan’s work at HighGround; it was hard, it was time consuming, and on occasion, he and his family paid the price.
So today, Ryan’s drive to work took five minutes not the hour each way he labored through for the past eight years. I am confident that the time he saves each day will be a blessing to his three beautiful children.
And to his new colleagues at Gateway, I know they will quickly learn of Ryan’s deep passion and commitment to his work and appreciate the great skills he brings to his profession.
For our part we know he remains our good friend and part of the HighGround family forever. We were grateful for his presence here and continue to be thankful that he is such an asset to the rest of the community and most importantly, his own family!
God Speed Ryan Smith! We will miss you but we know you are just a text away! Put the phone down now!