Ric Wrye

Ric Wrye –
Business Advisor
Family & Business Advisory Services

Ric Wrye joined Axiom in April of 2021 as a Business Advisor in the Family & Business Advisory Services division. He specializes in helping family-owned businesses with both organizational and operational strategies, as well as their talent development.

He brings with him extensive experience conceiving and executing strategies to align companies with their goals and thrive in a rapidly evolving marketplace. Ric’s breadth of experience is what sets him apart. He has gone from running a startup to a mid-size company to managing multibillion-dollar, multinational businesses. At telecommunications equipment company, RELTEC (now Vertiv), Ric was part of the operations team to take the company from a $430 million firm to a $1.3 billion enterprise in five years.

“Strategy for many companies often means make a slide deck and then go about business as usual,” says Ric. “But creating a strategy is only about 10% to 20% of the work. It’s the deployment that’s the real work. It is about getting the entire organization behind where the company is going and making it happen. That deployment experience is what I bring to the table.

When dealing with the strategy for a business, Ric looks at the systems being employed and how they can be improved to help the company run better and grow faster. In terms of talent development, there are structural issues to consider such as the role of a new hire, and there are individual challenges to address with each talent. “What are the things the client needs help with? Do they have issues with supervision or their communication skills? I can coach them in these areas to maximize performance,” explains Ric. 

As an advisor, he takes a very hands-on approach with his projects. Ric’s as comfortable on a production floor as he is in a boardroom. A special skill he brings to the table is his international experience, having done business in China for several different companies.

An overarching goal of Ric’s is to guide businesses in a way that leads to a higher level of performance.

“Actually, that’s my life mission—to work with people to gain a higher level of performance.”

Ric is originally from Mt. Carmel, a small town in Southern Illinois. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, IN.

The Other Side of Ric Wrye

What part of your job do you find most rewarding?
“It’s when I’ve been able to give a client a tool or technique that they can use, and they come back and say, ‘This was really helpful. This worked. Thank you.’”

Is there something you look forward to learning at Axiom?
“If you stop learning, you stop living. I’m always looking for a different technique to present to a client, a different approach to solving a problem or a perspective to driving a strategy.”

Tell us about your specific approach with clients.
“I work to determine how I can best engage with someone to gain their trust. Gaining someone’s trust is about listening to our clients and understanding their problems or needs, then drawing from my experience to show there can be different way of operating. I become invested in the outcome along with our client. Many times it is a challenge to convince a leader there’s a better way, especially if they’ve led a very successful company. If I’m presenting something they haven’t seen or thought of, it can be viewed as radical and sometimes even risky for them.”

What are the best skills to have to achieve success in your field?
“I’m a guy who processes before he speaks. It’s important to be a good listener and to be present with a client. It’s also about being prepared by doing the research. These things may sound easy and basic, but they’re critical. To put it in sports terms—I work to be like Larry Bird and master the fundamentals.”

Could you name some traits you admire in a business leader?
“I admire intelligence, the ability to see the future and relate to all levels of the organization. I have worked with some incredibly smart people who challenged me with their mental quickness and drive. They are able to lead and bring out the best in the team.”  

What’s the best business advice you’ve received?
“The best advice was from my father, Pat Wrye. He told me, ‘You always have to constantly improve and grow intellectually, spiritually, professionally. If you’re at the same place you were a year ago, you’ve lost ground. The world moves forward. You must improve and grow to keep up and more importantly, to get ahead.’”

What are 3 words to describe you?
“Loyal, persistent, spiritual.”

What would you be doing if you weren’t in this line of work?
“I’d be a lawyer doing immigration law.”

What are some things you enjoy in your free time?
“I love music­­—all kinds except for rap. I grew up playing the drums. Now I’m trying to learn to the guitar, and I plunk around on the banjo a bit.”

What would you say has been your greatest personal success?
“I’ve convinced my wife to stay married to me for 43 years.”

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