Meet the Team
A Bit of History
Padraic Ryan knew what he wanted to be since he was a little kid. He grew up watching The Brady Bunch, and thought Mike Brady had the coolest job in the world. His Dad and Grandfather were both draftsmen, so he had all sorts of cool compasses and t-squares to play with. By the time high school rolled around, he was still determined to become an Architect. He learned to draft for real in a double period drafting class, and even designed an addition for one of his teachers. He got into the University of Miami’s Architecture school, managed to stick with it for all 5 years, landed a job with a highly regarded Architecture firm, and eventually became a licensed Architect.
While he worked on some amazing projects, being an Architect didn’t quite live up to the stereotype perpetuated by Mr. Brady. The hours were long, the clients were a pain, and working for the man was no fun at all. A couple of his fellow Architects got to talking about a new online store called Amazon one day, and to make a long story short, they decided to open an online children’s bookstore.
They set up their business, hired a developer to build the site, took out some loans and ordered their first lot of books to sell. At the 11th hour, their developer took off with their money, with no site to show for it. Undeterred, Padraic spent the next week learning how to code, and ended up building a working e-commerce site. While it wasn’t making them rich (and certainly wasn’t pretty as you can see by the photo), the three Architects soon found themselves staying up late at night to pack and ship books as the orders flowed in.
While the business was technically a success, it didn’t generate the windfall the other partners had envisioned, and it eventually ended up being just Padraic running the show. The late night packing, endless addition of new books to the site, hundreds of emails and dealing with book distributors ended up being too much for too little, and he eventually sold the business. The experience was a positive one for our young entrepreneur though, and he soon found himself building sites for friends and colleagues.
By 2003 Padraic was building a couple of sites a month and decided it was time to open his own business, and Ryan Design Studio was born. In the early days it focused primarily on Architecture, but the web development business was booming, and Padraic actually enjoyed it more than Architecture.
In 2004 Padraic discovered an e-commerce platform called X-Cart that was open source, inexpensive and had an active community built around it. The software support was lousy, so the forums were where everyone went to solve problems, ask questions and chat with fellow X-Cart users. Soon Padraic found himself answering more and more questions as his knowledge of the platform grew, and X-Cart eventually made him the forum moderator. If you ever worked with X-Cart you might recognize him by his forum handle of ‘balinor’.
Padraic met John Heath in the forums, and they began working together on mods and customizations for X-Cart. John was famous for his “DSEFU” module that gave X-Cart Search Engine Friendly Urls. Over the years they built hundreds of X-Cart sites, but as with everything on the internet, change is inevitable. X-Cart simply didn’t keep up with the times or PCI Compliance regulations, and by 2010 Padraic (and pretty much every other developer in the forums) realized it was time to look for a new platform.
Pinnacle Cart quickly rose to the top of the list, as it uses the same template system as X-Cart, so the learning curve was minimal. Being a a US-based company also influenced the decision, as X-Cart was Russian-based which always caused communication and time zone problems. John and his lead developer Abdallah quickly joined Padraic on Pinnacle Cart, and Ryan Design Studio built their first Pinnacle Cart site in 2011.
Today we mostly maintain our existing clients’ sites and our hosting server, but we do take on a new client or two from time to time!