Wunderkinds 2013: Ryan Will, 29
Sales Manager, Grand Prix New York
When Ryan Will, a 29-year-old racetrack lover, saw an ad announcing that Grand Prix was being built in Mount Kisco almost five years ago, he knew he had to apply for a job. He called, was put in touch with the general manager, and was brought in to interview and tour the facility almost immediately.
“It was nothing like anything I had ever heard of, and there was a lot of money being put into it,” says Will, who lives in Somers. Since he was such a racing enthusiast and was between jobs, he says “it seemed like a good fit. I basically told them, ‘You guys have to hire me. When can I start?’”
At the beginning, Will says he “literally helped build the place.” He unloaded materials from trucks, bolted down tire barriers, and even did sheetrocking. Once Grand Prix officially opened, he worked in the track department, explaining to recreational racers how the equipment worked and how to adhere to safety policies. When he mastered that role—even rising to department head—he moved into the competition department, where he was responsible for creating public competitions that spectators would buy tickets for and experienced racers would participate in regularly. Once again, he became head of that department and sought a new challenge.
Now, Will is a sales manager in charge of arranging private events held by corporate clients. “When it comes to his sales/marketing role, Ryan is the exact opposite of the pushy car salesman who tries to sell you expensive options you don’t want or need,” says Mike Dardano, one of Will’s clients. “Instead, his success is based in his ultra-honest approach. He really listens to clients and helps them put together programs and events that meet their needs without overextending themselves financially.” Using this approach, he has booked 1,800 events and roughly $2.3 million in business since 2011, no small feat considering the still-weak economy.
The sales manager obviously loves his current role. “If you can’t have a good time showing people how to have fun, then there is just something inherently wrong with you,” he says. But he still has his eyes set on moving up the corporate ladder again in the near future: “I would like to see myself running the place!”