5 Questions with Senior Account Supervisor, Ryan Barry
What are your current job responsibilities?
“I’m the primary media relations contact for the Budweiser, Jimmy John’s, Outback Steakhouse and ditech racing programs associated with the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet SS team and driver Kevin Harvick. I craft media materials, provide messaging and pitch story ideas in support of the partners, driver and team. I work with the media to provide timely, accurate content and full support to best meet their needs and secure impactful impressions on message on behalf of our partners.”
How did you get started in the racing industry?
“Completely by accident. I was working at a communication agency in Chicago, Illinois on sustaining momentum programs for Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep. The agency also served as the agency of record for Dodge Motorsports and Evernham Motorsports at the time and one of my colleagues who worked on the Dodge Motorsports account got sick and was forced to come off the road. Prior to working at the communication agency I was a public relations coordinator for a professional sports team in Chicago, so my experience was the best match to serve as a fill-in until my colleague recovered. Shortly after that I received an offer to move to Charlotte to become the media relations representative for Elliott Sadler and the No. 19 Best Buy/Stanley/McDonald’s team at Gillett Evernham Motorsports. I’ve been working in the sport as a media relations representative ever since.”
Who are some of the clients you have worked with?
“I started with Dodge Motorsports as a manufacturer media relations representative, before moving on to Gillett Evernham Motorsports/Richard Petty Motorsports as the media relations representative on the Best Buy, Stanley and McDonald’s racing programs with driver Elliott Sadler. I moved over to Michael Waltrip Racing in 2010 as the media relations representative for Aaron’s racing program with driver David Reutimann for two seasons before switching to the 5-hour ENERGY racing program with driver Clint Bowyer in 2012. Since joining the True Speed team in 2014, I’ve worked with Haas Automation, Jimmy John’s, Budweiser, Outback and ditech.”
What piece of advice would you offer to someone starting in the sport?
“Make sure you love the work. This sport is the longest, most grueling schedule in all of professional sports, but the work can also be the most rewarding. If you don’t love the work, you won’t last long. Constantly strive to get better, whether that means building and maintaining relationships, improving your writing, learning a new medium or trying something no one has tried before. And lastly, don’t let the job define who you are – make a life for yourself outside of the sport. Be able to turn off and spend time with your family and friends. Be present when you’re with your people. They’ll be your biggest fans and ultimate support system through the challenging times.”
What is one of the best things you have been able to do working in the sport?
“This is a tough question. I’m extremely proud of a lot of the work that I’ve done with each of the sponsors and drivers that I’ve been fortunate enough to represent and work with - and each has their own set of highlights. The number of once-in-a-lifetime moments that this sport has provided me is truly unbelievable and I consider myself beyond lucky every single day for each and every one of those opportunities. If I have to choose one, I will go with the most recent which was to be a part of the media relations team to represent Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 4 team, partners Budweiser, Jimmy John’s, Outback and ditech with driver Kevin Harvick during its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship in 2014.”