As the president of the NextGen board for the Turnaround Management Association, Ryan Gross has already established himself not only in the turnaround field, but also as someone who will help lead the industry into the future.
Ryan Gross always knew he would do something in business, so after attending John Carroll University, he pursued a career with PricewaterhouseCoopers in the middle-market practice for private clients. However, he desired a more client-facing role, which eventually led him to the turnaround management industry and to his current role as a director at Getzler Henrich & Associates.
“I knew I wanted to help companies as they move forward, prospectively, as opposed to auditing, which is more reporting on what was already going on,” Gross says. “It’s why I’m here, to help them resolve those issues because I’ve done it time and time again, and I’m comfortable dealing with the tough issues and addressing lenders or other companies or OEMs in a favorable light for them.”
While he has established himself as an expert in aiding distressed companies over the first 10 years of his career, Gross says his first notable accomplishment was earning his CPA certification while in college, something he admits was a challenge that required intense dedication. Gross continued to rack up accomplishments early on at PricewaterhouseCoopers, as he efficiently completed audits for struggling companies. After transitioning into the turnaround management industry, Gross helped a $4 billion automotive supplier manage its liquidity and, ultimately, get past the hurdles it faced.
Over the course of all his professional stops, Gross, a Detroit-native, has fittingly developed expertise in working with companies in the automotive industry, but he has also worked with clients from the manufacturing, retail, pharmaceutical, transportation and financial services industries.
Regardless of any individual client’s industry, the turnaround management sector is a “unique and fast paced industry,” Gross says, so he recommends that whenever any company or organization begins to feel a wave of uneasiness — whether in itself, in its portfolio or in a key customer, vendor or borrower — to reach out to a turnaround expert, with Gross noting that the earlier the call is made, the more impactful and beneficial the turnaround process can be.
“It’s great being able to save jobs and save a company,” Gross says of turnaround outcomes. “Even in the unavoidable worst-case scenarios, we preserve economic value.”
Next Gen Networking
As he became acquainted with the turnaround management industry, Gross began to attend events of the Turnaround Management Association, which helped with networking and forming relationships with other industry professionals. As his standing in the industry grew, one of the former presidents of the TMA reached out to Gross and asked if he’d consider joining the TMA NextGen board. Gross eagerly agreed, as he believes it important to support the next generation of professionals within the industry, particularly through the resources offered by groups like the TMA.
“[My mentors] told me right away, ‘Join the organization.’ You get out of it what you put into it. If you go network and you come out of your shell, you’ll form relationships and it’ll be meaningful,” Gross says. Gross has seen how much of a positive impact an industry association can have, especially for younger professionals.
“[The next generation] benefited from the organization as a whole,” Gross says. “They are able to form relationships and understand what their brand is and how they are marketing. It’s been that way for me, and it’s taken time, but it’s been beneficial.”
Gross is the current president of the TMA’s NextGen board. He has a goal to increase membership and increase the value the organization provides to its NextGen members. He says it is his mission to ask members, both from the next generation and otherwise, questions to try to understand what topics they want covered and how the TMA can provide additional utility.
Beyond the TMA, Gross credits his mentors, Steve Wybo and Walter Popiel of Riveron, as well as his father, who started his own law firm in the turnaround industry that later merged into a larger multi-state law firm, for helping him learn the turnaround industry and build professional relationships.
“They were great mentors and I still look up to them and reach out to them today if there’s anything that I ever need,” Gross says, noting that he hopes to continue to see more and more turnaround veterans take on mentoring roles for younger professionals in the industry.
“I think that the older generation needs to keep supporting that and needs to keep communicating those messages to the younger folks,” Gross says. “This stuff takes time. It doesn’t happen right away. You form those relationships, and maybe two to five to 10 years down the road, people recognize your name and they recognize the relationship you have and the skill set you have, and they give you a call.”
Looking ahead at his future, Gross, who joined Getzler & Henrich this summer, is just getting started in running the Detroit market for the team, where he continues to leverage his expertise in the automotive and manufacturing industries, among others.