A month in to his new role we take a couple of minutes to chat to The Grassroot Project’s new Executive Director Ryan Pettengill. A native of Hartford Connecticut, Ryan brings over 19 years of experience in the Health Promotion and Sport Management fields. Before joining The Grassroot Project, Ryan was running operations for Team Z, LLC, one of the largest adult triathlon teams in the country, a program whose model prioritized the inclusion and healthy lifestyle choices in people from all backgrounds.
A devoted athlete and family man. Ryan has a Masters in Physical Education with a concentration in Sport Management from Florida State University. He is a certified coach and personal trainer, former college swimmer, three-time Ironman finisher, and currently lives in Fairfax, Virginia with his wife Elizabeth and two kids Gavin and Emily.
With that impressive resume under his belt. Ryan makes time for us to go through a series of rapid fire questions to introduce him to The Grassroot extended family.
Where is your favorite place you have traveled?
Istanbul. No Hong Kong. No Prague. I have to pick one?
What inspired you about working for a non-profit like Grassroots?
What isn’t to like about Grassroots?! It’s easy for me to come to work each day knowing that I’m working on such a worthwhile cause.
What are you most excited about working with Grassroots?
I’m surrounded by so many inspiring people who have dedicated their lives to social change – it’s an incredibly exciting work environment!
Who is your greatest role model, and why?
Aside from my family, some of the greatest mentors in my life have been coaches. I’ve learned so many life lessons from my participation in sport – I think that’s why I’m so drawn to the Grassroot model.
What’s your Grassroots nickname?
It has to happen organically, I can’t force it. When it happens it happens (We all know it is Triple Double!)
If you had to give anyone a SHOUT OUT right now, who would it be and why?
My programming team – Matt, Melissa, and Rodrigo. We have so many moving pieces, they do an incredible job of keeping our day to day programs rockin’.
If you have a favorite sport, what is it and who is your favorite team?(College or Professional)
I’m a seminole in any sport! And my redskins are true to my heart. But as a general rule I cheer for the underdog.
Who is your favorite athlete?
Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Google it. 🙂
If you were stranded on an island and got to bring three people with you, who would you bring?
I know I’m supposed to say something intellectual here, but this one is a no brainer for me… my wonderful wife Elizabeth, my “active” 2 year old son Gavin, and my beautiful 2 month old daughter Emily.
Fun/interesting/random fact about yourself.
I’ve done 3 ironmans. I only cried during two of them.