Originally from rural Manitoba, Ryan has a deep intrigue and respect for rural communities, rural people, and the events that shape their futures. Over the past ten years I have been engaged in research projects and community development processes focused on new forms of governance, regional collaboration, cooperatives, rural philanthropy, rural revitalization, and immigration and migration.

Ryan is the Libro Professor in Regional Economic Development at the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development at the University of Guelph. This chair position was created through an endowment by Libro Credit Union and two University of Guelph donors.

Ryan is the past-president of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network and the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation. He hold appointments with the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Saint Mary’s University, the Rural Development Institute at Brandon University, and the Institute of Island Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island.