Derek Ryan didn’t pop up out of left field, hoping to win office at the ground level to begin an ascent up the ladder of government.
Others may choose that route, but Derek’s interest in earning your vote on Nov. 6 is sincere and deep-rooted — just like his family here in Orange County.
An activist, a community leader, a former small business owner, a dad, a husband … Derek’s a proactive resident of Orange County and is hell bent on doing the right thing — using reason and good judgement on the Orange Soil & Water Conservation Board.
There are no strings attached, and they need not apply.
EMAIL DEREK: Derek@Derek4Orange.com
Many decades ago, Derek’s grandfather Leroy Gilliam may have sparked a generational interest in the environment when he managed 1000s of acres of orange groves — setting things up for a third-generation horticulturist to run for office one day. And Derek’s father Doug Ryan is a retired Woody Ornamental nursery grower who helped Derek get his start in his first landscaping venture — a company called Love Your Lawn Landscape Services, catering to high end homes in Winter Park and ultimately larger commercial work.
“I bring an insight and perspective to this Soil and Water board that is very relevant,” Derek said. “My team and I manage more than 2 billion gallons of irrigation water on commercial properties. I also live on a 40-acre, spring-fed lake that has been in my family for three generations so I have first-hand knowledge of proper conservation, and I want to ensure the next three or four generations of Floridians can enjoy our natural resources as well.”
Derek and his family treasure the unique characteristics of Central Florida, from the near perfect waters of the aquifer to the diversity of the soils used for development and agriculture. He understands the dynamics, having worked in the landscaping industry nearly all his adult life.
Derek is fed up with the contradictions and regulations that come down from government, and he wants to be a part of fixing it.
“One thing I find interesting in my industry is that many commercial property owners were told by planning and zoning to put these expensive landscapes in, including Floratam St. Augustine grass, which has become controversial with some people (because of the water and chemicals it requires),” Derek said. “People forget that government told businesses they had to install that, and now government is shutting their water off.”
Derek wants to find the happy balance between conservation/regulation and allowing businesses to … well … do business.
When the market crashed in 2008, his first company — Love Your Lawn — didn’t make it because of the financial climate of the time. Nothing was being built, so the landscaping industry was mothballed for a couple of years. When Derek saw the economy revving back up, he put his resume out and entered the commercial landscape industry as a business development manager focusing on the maintenance needs of large property owners.
In other words, Derek can see the business side of soil and water related topics while balancing it out as somebody who would stick up for the local environment his family has enjoyed for decades.
“I have a commercial perspective and a personal perspective,” Derek said.
His resume is so strong that the board has already appointed him as an Associate Supervisor, which is permitted by board bylaws. He already has one step in the door, folks, and he’s already working on your behalf.
Along with his family being long-time local residents, he’s also a third generation leader in the community. His grandfather was the Fire Chief of Apopka for 40 years, and distant relatives Mark V. Ryan and E.J. Ryan once served as Mayors of the City of Apopka. Having a Ryan win office in Orange County would hardly be unprecedented.
Derek would appreciate your support, and he’ll immediate pivot to helping your best interests.
“Orange County has one of the largest governments in Florida with staff and resources available to the Soil and Water Conservation board. It seems unnecessary to me that this board become an additional layer of tax burden to the residents of the district.”
“I want to make sure that’s communicated clearly, and I intend on showing what a motivated volunteer activist on this board can look like.”