In 2002, Chairman Emeritus Russell Hitt and then Senior Project Manager Ryan Bixler were having lunch when Ryan mentioned his interest in offering guidance to the Charleston regional office. “I wanted to help out down there, maybe serve as the second in command,” said Ryan.
However, Russell proposed a different relocation opportunity—one with a lot more responsibility. “’How would you like to head up Atlanta?’ he asked me,” recalled Ryan. “When I told him I was up for the challenge, I think he was a little surprised.”
That was 16 years ago, and since then, Ryan and the Atlanta team have found incredible success, delivering more than $375 million in projects in the last five years alone. In 2017, HITT was named the sixth largest contractor by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and completed their largest project to date, the $50 million NCR Headquarters build-out.
Ryan began his career with HITT in high school, working on jobsites during summers. After college graduation, he joined the company full-time as a laborer in 1994. Three years later, he moved into the office as an assistant project manager. “I think I was far better suited for the office than the field,” commented Ryan. “I’m sure the superintendents I worked for would tell you the same.”
Those superintendents—Dave Underwood, Luke Kane, Coleby Cyrtmus, and RJ Trottier—provided both influence and education to Ryan. Coupled with the guidance he received from Russell, Brett Hitt, Jim Millar and John Kane, he was set up to succeed when he made the move to Atlanta.
Following their lead, Ryan has imparted his own guidance as he’s built his team. He’s invested in his people, and wants to see them succeed as much as he wants the company to. “Ryan took an interest in career development as soon as he came to Atlanta,” said Mike Coon, vice president. “This was my first job out of college and one of the first things he did was to ask me about my goals. That conversation set me on my own path to success here at HITT.”
While Ryan’s oversight now includes our South Florida and Charleston offices, he maintains the same leadership approach: stay humble and build a cohesive team well-versed in The HITT Way. Vice President Roger Delaney, one of Ryan’s first hires in Atlanta, put it this way: “Ryan is driven and hungry, and so are the members of his team. He trusts his gut, empowers his people, and expects the best from us all.” With the Atlanta office’s success, it’s clear that Russell’s vision for Ryan as a leader was spot on.