FROM TEACHING TO TECHNOLOGY Dan’s career path took a few unusual twists and turns. He entered college at Eastern Michigan University, planning to go into teaching, but redirected to a future in technology thanks to a friend who started working in the computer science field. “I got really lucky as I graduated and interviewed at Perot Systems. I didn’t know a lot, but they told me, ‘We can’t teach personality, but we can teach computer skills. If you want to work at it, you’ll go far,’” recollects Ritch. With a start in information technology (IT), Dan handled everything from desktop support to application development. “I started at the support desk and took on more and more. My mom gave me the advice that, regardless of what you’re doing for your job, at the end of the day, do a little extra, and you’ll be okay,” shares Ritch. This approach served him well during his time at Perot Systems, despite being a profound change for Dan in the shift from teaching to IT. “It was so hard! There were many nights where I didn’t do the job correctly and had to stay there until I got it done. I remember I slept at that building a few times,” Ritch admits. Strong mentors and the determination to keep going were essential to Dan’s success in learning a new and unfamiliar field. “I had a lot of great mentors – some I didn’t even realize were mentors at the time. With my teaching background, I recognized I could learn in multiple ways and wasn’t afraid to ask for help,” Ritch elaborates.
Dan Ritch Get to know
FOCUS ON THE FAMILY My beautiful wife Michelle and I have been married for 26 years. We have 10-year-old twins named Avery and Olivia. BEST WAY TO SPEND FREE TIME Chauffeuring Olivia to dance and Avery to basketball! COOL TRAVELS My favorite trip was with my wife to Rome and Florence in Italy. It perfectly balanced our love of history, good food, and wine. FAVORITE RESTAURANT My family and I like to go to Birch’s on the Lake. We also frequent Honey & Mackie’s quite a bit for ice cream. LAST SHOW YOU WATCHED It’s not new, but I recently got hooked on Suits and am starting to work through the seasons. I also like Stranger Things .
From left to right: Ahti Hujanen, Cecilia Coulter, Matthew Weyland, Chris Mauro, Paul Runquist, Henry Silva-Vega
STANDING BEHIND THE MISSION Joining SunStream allows Dan to focus on the mission of taking care of farmers and ranchers. “I thought, why not extend my legacy and help the greater good? Farm Credit is more than access to capital. We help ensure the reliability of data, provide consistent access to loan accounting information, and serve as a trusted partner to create solutions,” explains Ritch. “For that reason, we have a lot of responsibility, and we’re proud to be here,” he elaborates. Undoubtedly, SunStream’s customers are equally as passionate about the mission. “Our customers take care of the front-end – we are an extension of their CIO, who focuses on loan origination, CRM systems, and digital platforms for online banking,” describes Ritch. “We share the same mission,” Ritch adds.
12 | Leading Through Transparency
Leading Through Transparency | 13
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