In the April issue of C&I Magazine, we get to know Ryan Price, Channel Manager at Pacific Optics…
I was born in a sleepy little town on the mid-north coast of New South Wales called Bellingen. It is a beautiful town that’s about halfway between Sydney and Brisbane and is a great place to get in touch with nature.
I am the youngest of four boys with less than seven years between myself and my older brothers Daniel, Lloyd and Joel. Our parents separated when we were young and my two middle brothers (Lloyd and Joel) went to live with my father, so I would only see them during the school holidays.
My eldest brother, Daniel and I lived with our mum and she is an absolute legend. She worked hard making school lunches, getting us dressed, doing the washing, cooking dinner, and reading us stories every night. I loved spending time with mum and would proudly say that I was a mummy’s boy!
Having three brothers we were always very competitive, and we turned just about everything into a contest. Being the youngest I had to get a bit creative and implement different strategies to beat my stronger, bigger siblings. Whenever we all caught up as a family over the holidays, the teams for any competition would be Daniel and I against Lloyd and Joel.
Daniel and I moved with mum to a coastal village near Coffs Harbour called Sawtell. I think growing up there really shaped me into the man I am today. I loved everything active from surfing to rugby, soccer and running. I was full of energy and excitement and could never just sit still – and I still can’t today.
I played rugby league for the majority of my childhood for a team called the Sawtell Panthers and we were undefeated from the under sixes right through to the under 16’s.
Life in Sawtell was very simple. I remember as an 11-year-old I would wake up at 4am and ride to the beach with my mates for an early morning surf before school – life just flowed back then. Nowadays I don’t think we could get an 11-year-old out of bed that early, nor would we allow them out by themselves at that time.
My first job growing up was working at Dreamworld as a ride attendant. It was a dream job for a school student because I’d just work during the school holidays and occasionally on weekends. I loved being able to greet guests and see their excitement both before and after they entered the rides, it made me feel fantastic. I’ve always been somewhat of a people pleaser and that definitely hasn’t changed over the years. I’m always trying to get the best out of every situation.
I’ve been very fortunate and have spent almost a quarter of my life living overseas. It all started when I was 19 and I was invited to join one of the world’s top inventors to travel the United States selling agricultural (farming) products at trade shows and conferences. This was my first overseas trip and after about 13 months of traveling throughout the US and Alaska, I had definitely picked up the travel bug (not COVID-19).
From here I decided to make my way to the United Kingdom. My parents are both English, so I was able to apply for a British passport, and I was set. I got myself settled and working in London and then spent the next six years travelling around Europe whenever I had spare time.
Since moving back to Australia, my holiday destinations have been much closer to home. Places like Asia and the Pacific have become our go-to family holiday destinations.
I’m grateful to say that after having a house of brothers growing up, my life has changed dramatically. My family now consists of my beautiful wife Allanah and our three little girls, Makaila, Laine, and Arielle. Having three daughters and a lovely wife, the house dynamic is very different. I’ve learnt patience and how to live with a messy bathroom, although one positive is that there are always leftovers from dinner.
We live on the southern end of the Gold Coast, home to some of the best surf breaks in the world. We live with our Labrador-cross, Harley – it was the closest to naming the dog Harley Davidson that the wife said I could get! My family are my greatest joy. They put up with me every day (rain, hail, or sunshine) and it is a blessing to have them with me doing life.
I would love to perfect the art of a work/life balance and I have already started implementing key strategies to be more present, and to reflect on the positives while making the most of every moment.
From my very first job working at Dreamworld right through to my current role at Pacific Optics, the way I look at partnerships has been shaped. I have always enjoyed the challenge of getting customers to put their trust in my advice in order to keep them safe and deliver on expectations. Whether that is finishing a ride with a smile on their face or helping our partners to achieve market leading category growth, throughout my whole career this has been what has kept me getting up every morning.
These days I dedicate my energy to Pacific Optics as the Channel Manager covering our key channels of petrol and convenience, grocery, gifting, newsagents, facilities management (mining and hospitals), automotive, and distributors. Our team consists of four national account managers who look after the relationship with our valued retail partners.
Understanding that all customers are different is important to the success of any relationship, and my goal is to have complete diversification in how we interact with each trade partner. Alongside myself, the field sales team consists of 45 reps led by our national sales manager, Harry Phillipou. Harry and I work alongside each other to execute and achieve the successes Pacific Optics has always been known for.
I value connections as the most important to my successes, from having the recently appointed AACS CEO Theo Foukkare as my mentor for the last six years, to the many customer relationships I have built over my 20-year career. When you build a meaningful connection with someone, it allows you to work together for mutual benefits. One of the key highlights for me is that I’ve learnt everyone can win with the right attitude.