By Taylor Duffy

George Herbert once said, “You must lose a fly to catch a trout.” This quote is a simple way to explain the reward that comes with risking everything. One of our very own, Ryan VanderWijst, took a risk when he decided to leave northern Virginia to come work for SimVentions.

Ryan lived in Leesburg, VA and worked at a large defense contracting company in Fairfax as a software and systems engineer. Every day, he fought traffic to get to work where he often felt like just another number. Over the years, coworkers that became friends left that company to go to other companies, one of which was SimV. These valued friendships lasted long after they left because of mutual respect and similar principles. Ryan knew there must be something special about SimV when his friends spoke so highly of the company. He decided to risk it all and move his young family to Fredericksburg after 10 years at his previous company.

Ryan was the perfect addition to the company and now works as the Director of the Electronic Warfare Division. He is very successful in the work he does and is continually recognized. After seeing a need, he formulated a cost-effective solution and brought the idea to the Navy, who loved it. This brought a new work area for his division, growth for SimV, and a success story for the Navy. Ryan was also chosen to attend a highly selective course called “Leadership Fredericksburg” (LF). Now, as an LF graduate, he is serving a 3-year term on the Leadership Advisory Board to help shape the class for new students.

SimV COO, Joe Caliri, says, “Ryan is a great example of someone who engages our SimV culture. He’s always the first to take on the hard problems, give back by presenting at SimV academy, engage with his team and leadership, and embrace our family-focused activities.” The change of pace from the rat race of northern VA to SimV’s close knit culture is just what he needed to stand out.

He loves that he works at a “company where people care so much about each other, God, and the balance between work and personal life.” His wife previously worked full time as a teacher in Leesburg to help support their family. Because they moved, she is now able to stay at home and be a full-time mother to their two girls, Ava and Isla. Raising a family on a single income only became possible after relocating to the Fredericksburg area and enjoying the more favorable cost of living it offers.

He speaks of the quality of life he has now that he gets to work at a place he enjoys so much. The principles on which SimV operates and the way our people “walk the walk” sets us apart from every other company he has worked for. He says that working for SimV has been much more than anything he could have hoped for. The decision to come work here 7 years ago paid off tenfold, all because of one risk.