Ryan grew up in a working class family with deep roots in Omaha, Benson, and Florence going back to the 1890s. His family’s history in Omaha has shaped his views on the importance of strong advocates for injured individuals and families. His grandfather, who helped organize the grain millers’ union in Omaha, lost an eye when a defective boiler exploded at the grain mill. The stories he heard about the fast-thinking lawyer who preserved evidence at the scene and advocated on his grandfather’s behalf made a lasting impact on him. His family worked in the trades and he began sweeping the floor, emptying trash barrels, and bending metal in his uncle’s sheetmetal shop when he was 16 years old. Growing up he spent countless summer hours on a bass boat with his Dad and many fall and winter weekends in the field pheasant hunting with his family’s German Shorthairs and English Setters.
During his undergraduate studies, Ryan interned in the United States Senate, in Washington D.C., and earned his Bachelors Degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.