Ryan is the president and CEO of Proterra, the leading innovator of zero-emission, battery-electric buses. Prior to Proterra, Ryan was a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers where he was a member of their Greentech team. His primary focus at Kleiner was on sustainable transportation technology as a result of his experience working with advanced vehicle and alternative fuel technologies while at Tesla Motors. Ryan was an early employee of Tesla Motors where he was the senior director of finance. He helped transition Tesla from a private, pre-revenue company to a public company with $100M in commercial contracts.
Ryan is motivated by a concern for how climate change may effect his children, "We're in a situation now where if we don't transition off of carbon based fuels, we'll do irreparable harm to our planet. I believe we're in the decade where the choices we make are going to make the biggest impact. I often think, I've got three kids, my oldest is 12, my youngest is 5. I consider the climate problem to be my generations problem. If we don't address it tangibly and really bend the curve on emissions there won't be enough time for my kids generation to do anything about it".
Before starting his career in clean tech, Ryan was an Armor Cavalry Officer in U.S. Army from 2000 to 2004 and served in a Iraq. He says, "When I was serving in Iraq, I guarded fuel convoys for some of the missions I did. One in eight casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq are related to convoy fuel delivery. There are a lot of things that we do that are very dangerous, and they don't make a lot of sense, and they are directly connected to an over-dependence on petroleum".