The youngest of five children, John Ryan was born in Oak Park, Ill. He learned responsibility at an early age, helping his father in the family-owned HVAC business. When John was 11, his father died, and John and his mother moved to be with family members in Minnesota. At age 12, John earned his first dollars working on a cousin's farm. By age 14, he was cleaning the local high school in the summers under CERTA, a federally funded program for low-income families. In high school, John played tenor saxophone and participated in basketball, track, speech team, drama and Outdoor and Wildlife Club.
Computers for consumers were in their infancy, and John, a math prodigy and recipient of a 3M Creativity Award in computer science in high school, eagerly embraced these machines and their numeral-based processing. John continued to work through high school; his jobs included computerizing accounts for a local tire company and an agricultural management company (earning the then-princely sum of $10 per hour), pumping gas at a local service station and working a variety of positions in restaurant kitchens.
When John was 17 and a senior in high school, his mother passed away.
Coming to Texas
Upon graduation from high school in 1983, John moved to Denton County to be near siblings living the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He enrolled in the University of North Texas and majored in physics and mathematics; as a freshman, his classes included Calculus II.
While in college, John went to work for Chili's in Addison as first a cook and, later, a trainer, with transfers to stores in Lewisville and Denton. He also worked on construction jobs, but was willing to contribute his skills to worthy projects.
As a volunteer, John helped the Frisco Volunteer Fire Department build a training facility; in return, the firefighters allowed him to train with them. About the same time, John took the Denton Firefighters exam. He finished in the top five of 100+ applicants, but only two firefighters were hired that year.
John left Chili's in 1988 to work as a manager for Wendy's, but, by the early 1990s, he was ready for a change.
Construction and electrical licensure
In 1992, John was hired by Walker Engineering in Dallas. He worked his way up from digging ditches to project manager. Projects to which he was assigned include Texas Instruments, Pepsico corporate headquarters and then-Denton Regional Hospital Professional Building.
John married Carol Anderson, a long-time Denton resident, two years later and went to work for C & G Electrical in Denton. During this time, John earned a Texas electrician's license. Projects on which he worked while at C & G included conversion of the former Sally Beauty facility near the Denton Airport to the UNT Annex, a special storage facility for documents and other items.
In 1995, John returned to Walker Engineering, where he stayed for nearly 8 years.
Real estate investing
In 2002, John left the engineering company to enter the world of real estate investing. He and Carol purchased the apartment complex she had been managing since 1987. As their interest in property management grew, the Ryans purchased a second small apartment complex, then slowly continued to expand their real estate investments. Today, Carol serves as both manager and bookkeeper for their apartments.
Vigne Wine Shop & Current Business
In 2009, John and Carol opened Vigne Wine Shop and Delicatessen on W. Hickory St. When lower E. Hickory began to redevelop, he moved Vigne Wine Shop to the area, then sold it in 2016; under a new name, it remains open and successful. Today, in addition to his real-estate investment activities, John serves as a project manager for residential remodeling and landscaping projects.
Denton City Council / Appointments
Sixteen years ago, John began his service to citizens with appointment by the Denton City Council to the Construction Advisory and Appeals Board (2001), Planning and Zoning Commission (2009) and Smoking Ordinance Ad-Hoc Citizen Advisory Committee (2012).
In 2014, John was elected to represent District 2 on the Denton City Council; he filled the unexpired term of the District 2 councilman who resigned to run at-large. While on Council, John served on three Council committees—Audit Finance, Citizen Engagement and Hotel Occupancy and Tax Fund—and was named to represent Council on the Convention & Visitors Bureau.
In fulfillment of a campaign promise, John hosted 11 monthly Town Hall meetings during his year on Council. If elected, he will host monthly Town Hall meetings again, this time in District 4.
John was elected to the Denton City Council for District 4 in May of 2017, winning with a margin of nearly 68% of the vote. John was voted in as Mayor Pro-Tem by his peers in June of 2017, a position he still holds today.
A 2009 graduate of Leadership Denton, John is active in the Denton community and gives freely of his time to service organizations and non-profits.
These include Serve Denton (board member, 2016-present), Denton Kiwanis Club (2007-present; president 2009-10 and 2015-16), Denton Animal Support Foundation (event sponsor, 2008-present), Denton Campus Theatre (Beaujolais & More, sponsor, 2009-2015; committee, 2015-present), Denton Community Theatre (Encore vendor, 2009-2015), Denton Benefit League (2005-present) and Denton Chamber of Commerce (2002-present). Other organizations John has actively supported include Main Street Association and Denton Food Bank.
John and Carol share their home with four beautiful, spoiled, four-legged children: Twinkie, a Lab/Terrier mix, Kelly, a deaf, mostly blind Australian Shepard, and Daisy and Boolie, both Siberian Huskies. The Ryans bailed the first two "out of jail" (adopted from the City of Denton animal shelter), and the Huskies came from a "group home" (adopted from Texas Husky Rescue).