May 2021 - WPDN

It’s been said that when one door closes, another one opens. This is true in life, in love, and in career paths. Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville are proud to announce that their partner, Kyle Ridgeway, has accepted a position with Wyoming Financial Group (WERCS) as the company’s Chief Operating Officer (COO). While the WPDN family will miss Kyle and all of the talent, drive, and client care that he brought to the table, they could not be prouder of him. Nobody is more deserving of this opportunity than he is. 

 

Kyle’s relationship with Wyoming Financial Group goes back several years, as they have been clients of his during his time at WPDN.

 

“I’ve represented Wyoming Financial Group for a number of years,” Ridgeway stated. “They were looking at succession planning and Bob Moberly asked me to come in to be his successor and work with him for a couple of years. With my background in doing all of their corporate work, and with my background in merger and acquisition work, it made a lot of sense on my part to work with them. They’re a Wyoming proud private equity group and they work to keep Wyoming businesses Wyoming owned, and they do lots of transactions to try and diversify Wyoming’s economy and reinvest money locally. They saw a role for me in that and I was incredibly honored.” 

 

Ridgeway said that the offer was completely unexpected.

 

“I don’t quite know how I feel yet, to be honest,” Ridgeway laughed. “I haven’t gotten outside of the forest to think about the trees too much. There’s a mix of emotions. It’s exciting, it’s overwhelming, it’s scary, it’s cool and kind of unbelievable, all at the same time. It means a lot to me that they would trust me and feel confident that I have the skill sets to do the job.” 

 

Ridgeway might be surprised that Wyoming Financial Group thought he was the right man for the job, but the news didn’t shock any of his clients, nor co-workers. From the moment he walked through the doors of WPDN seven years ago, he has been one of the firm’s most reliable, client-focused attorneys the firm has had the privilege of working with. From corporate and business planning to transactions and litigation, Ridgeway has more than proven himself as a force to be reckoned with in the world of corporate law, which makes him the perfect fit for Wyoming Financial Group. 

 

“They have a couple of different subsidiary companies that are wholly owned. Part of what they have established is what I’ve been calling the ‘307 First Fund.’ It’s a pool of money that’s supposed to help small business owners with legacy capital. So if we have a business that’s important to Casper or to Wyoming and the owners are getting to retirement age and they don’t have anybody to buy them out, or if the kids are involved in the business but don’t have the money…when you get to the point that all of your net worth is in a business, and you want to retire, how do you get that out? We’re able to do things that banks can’t do, by stepping in with our corporate structure to merge with them or help them finance the transition so we can protect these companies from getting vultured by out-of-state entities who come in and gut everybody and move them to Denver, Salt Lake, or elsewhere.” Ridgeway explained that it also has a non-profit arm he will be involved in called “307 First” which promotes and highlights local businesses and how to increase Wyoming’s economic base by encouraging more local business activity (https://www.307first.com). 

 

He continued, stating that, “That’s the mission. And it’s really exciting for me, to grow up here, to do this kind of work in my hometown and use my skillsets as an attorney, as well as my business background. It’s a pretty cool opportunity.” 

 

It’s an opportunity that is well deserved. Ridgeway’s last day with WPDN will be June 30th. Before he leaves the firm completely, he wanted to make sure that each and every one of his clients knew of his plans and were transitioned to other extremely capable attorneys at WPDN, all of whom are excited to maintain the standard of excellence his clients have grown accustomed to.

 

Ridgeway’s areas of practice include corporate and business planning, transactions and litigation, employment law and compliance, insurance defense and coverage, and trusts and estates. Clients who are still involved with active cases have been notified by  Ridgeway and he has transitioned those clients to attorney’s within the firm whom he felt would best be able to serve them. Those clients, like his colleagues, are happy for Ridgeway as he begins this new journey and they know they are in good hands. Ridgeway made sure of it himself. 

 

“I worked for WPDN for seven years,” he said. “There’s a reason for that. I respect every single person in that place. I think it is a fantastic group of lawyers. They care about their clients. They’re fair in how they bill, they know the community, I’ve made many great relationships with the attorneys there and I have full confidence that the firm can continue to service my clients at the utmost level of excellence that an attorney/client relationship can have.” 

 

Ridgeway has spent many years trying to better his community. He is the President of the Healthy Birth and Infant Brains Foundation, whose mission is to improve birth outcomes for pregnant women in Wyoming. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Mercer Family Resource Center, which provides education, counseling, and prevention services for youth and families. He has done extraordinary Pro Bono work and this newest career path combines his expertise, experience, knowledge, and skillset with his heart. And that, for Ridgeway, is the literal dream job. 

 

“I feel very honored and very lucky to have this opportunity,” Ridgeway stated. “I want to take full advantage of it because I care about my community. I care about the state where I grew up and I want to do good things and work with good people to do some things that I wouldn’t have been able to do as an attorney.”  

 

WPDN will miss Kyle but they are so proud to see where this journey takes him, and they wish him nothing but the best. WPDN has known for seven years what an asset Kyle is, and they are excited for Wyoming Financial Group to find out that very same thing. 

 

Because when one door opens…

Passion. It’s not something that can be taught. It is something that is inherent, yet ineffable. And when one learns what exactly it is that they are passionate about, the world changes.

 

Ryan Ford, an attorney for Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville discovered what he was passionate about after getting his MBA from the University of Wyoming, in 2007.

 

“I was probably lost and wayward after undergrad and getting my MBA,” Ford said with a sardonic grin. “I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with those two degrees, and everybody that I was working for at the time was an attorney. They weren’t practicing at that time, but I really respected the way that they thought about problems.”

 

Those for whom Ryan worked left an indelible impression on him. So much so, that he opted to apply for law school. Given his previous educational accomplishments, he seemed like a shoe-in. But that’s now how this story goes.

 

“I actually applied for law school and I got put on the waitlist three separate times,” he stated. “After the third time, I finally decided that was enough. I moved to Denver to work with a private equity firm down there. I had been working with them for four or five months, and during the very last week of August, I got a phone call that said ‘Do you want to go to law school? If so, you have to be in Laramie by Thursday morning.’ They called me on a Tuesday.”

 

Many people would hang up the phone and mouth a variety of silent expletives. That’s not what Ford did.

 

“I told my bosses that I quit, and I moved back to Laramie,” he said.

 

It was a huge gamble. To quit a lucrative job with literally no notice simply to go back to school was a big risk. It required belief in himself, determination and, most importantly, passion. Ford had all three of those things, and the gamble paid off.

 

He graduated in 2010 with his Juris Doctorate. And after a brief, six-month period in Cheyenne, Ford entered the doors of Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville and never looked back.

 

“I had a friend who started here as an intern, and then an associate, six months after we graduated and passed the bar,” Ford stated. “He called me and said they were looking for another associate, so I swung in and met everybody on a weekend, and that’s the end of the story.”

 

Luckily, that’s not the case. In fact, that was just the beginning of Ford’s story with WPDN. And he chose to stay with WPDN, for almost 11 years now, because of the example the firm’s partners had laid for the rest of the attorneys.

 

“It was the demeanor of the partners that really grabbed my attention at first,” Ford stated. “I was very impressed with their knowledge of law, the experience in the room, and the understanding of balancing life. I could tell that everybody in the room was very serious about their jobs, but they were also very grounded.”

 

Work/life balance is an important aspect of WPDN. They work hard for their clients every day, but they never lose sight of the fact that they have their own lives, and their own families.

 

Ford certainly does.

 

“I moved up here when I was single and now I’ve got a wife and two little girls,” he said. “Right now, my biggest goal is to make sure that my little girls have a good childhood. We moved my parents out to Casper too. We liked Casper so much that we got them up here. I get to enjoy being a husband, dad and keep working with really good clients.”

 

Ford works with a variety of clients in a number of different industries, focusing mostly on real property law.

 

“A lot of my work centers around representing corporations, businesses, and real estate of all types, whether that’s buying or selling, titles or dealing with tax appeals,” Ford said. “I also do a lot of landlord/tenant work.”

 

Ford said that the reason he is so passionate about real estate law is because he appreciates the history behind it.

 

“I’ve always been fascinated with real property law,” he stated. “I grew up on a ranch, north of Cheyenne and just being able to go back through the records and see the history of the property, how it changed hands, why it changed hands, the fights, the conflicts, the success stories – all of it has been amazing. I just think there’s a lot of really neat history in real property.”

 

In addition to the work itself, the biggest thing Ford is passionate about is helping his clients. That is his true passion; helping people solve problems and leaving them better off than how he found them.

 

“I’m especially proud of the work that we just got done on tax appeals,” he gushed. “We had a lot of clients and all of them were scared about their tax assessments. But, for several of them, we were able to yield really good success working with the county to figure out solutions to these issues. We were able to save our clients a lot of money and we possibly even saved their property.”

 

And that’s where the passion comes from. That’s why Ford wanted to become an attorney in the first place. It’s why he applied to law school and was put on the waitlist three separate times. It’s why he dropped his entire life just for the opportunity to go to law school. Ryan Ford, like the rest of the attorneys at Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville like to help people. It’s as simple, yet profound, as that. And that is why WPDN is one of the premiere law firms in not just Wyoming, but the entire region.

 

“The knowledge of law here is unsurpassed,” Ford said. “None of our attorneys take advantage of situations. Dick Day, one of our founding partners, always said that ‘Clients are people, and it’s important that we treat them like people.’ I think that is something that has really been instilled in us. You don’t take advantage of a situation, and at the end of the day, you’re still neighbors with these people and it’s important to treat them like neighbors.”

 

That is what every attorney at WPDN does, and that’s where their passion comes from. Every day, the men and women at WPDN have the power, and honor, to change the lives of their clients. And it is not something they take lightly.

 

“There’s a thousand little victories every day,” Ford stated. “Somebody calls on the phone or drops into the office with a problem. You can look at that problem and, as long as you’re comfortable telling it to them, you can say ‘This seems daunting, but it’s not that big of a deal. We can take care of this and fix this.’ And watching their demeanor change from the first time they walk into the office, worried and afraid, to seeing them leave the office smiling and comforted – that’s what I love.”

 

But, truth be told, he loves it all. He loves the thrill of victory and the lessons learned in defeat. He loves the people with whom he works and the clients for whom he works. He loves helping people. That is Ryan Ford’s true passion. And when he got the call to drop everything he was doing to move to Laramie and go to law school, it was his passion that reassured him everything would be okay. So he took a chance on himself. And that’s something more people should do, according to Ford.

 

“Don’t be afraid to constantly ask questions,” he stated. “In work, in life, in anything. It’s amazing how many people come into my office and say ‘I didn’t want to do this, I didn’t want to do it.’ But the only way you can find any kind of resolution or get something that you’re seeking or looking for, is if you ask.”

 

That’s exactly what Ryan Ford did and the rest, as they say, is history.

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