Ryan Chavez

What drew you to Dark Horse?

I’ve been in the biotech space for a while now and I very much enjoy working with the intelligent people you encounter in this field and focusing on projects that have the potential to have a meaningful positive human impact. There are huge strides being made both in areas like cell and gene therapy and at DHC—a fast-growing international thought-leader—the team is literally helping our clients make those huge strides. I’m at the stage of my career where I have the good fortune of being able to choose to join a company that is interesting to me personally and helping to make positive change, and that is why I chose to join Dark Horse.  I’ve worked with many of people at Dark Horse before and the chance to do so again was one I jumped at. I appreciate that the team members at Dark Horse are transparent but respectful with each another; I believe it helps us get the job done internally and also with our clients! Plus, the company is still small enough to have a family-oriented feel to it that’s not easy to find nowadays.

You’ve worked with both publicly- and privately-held companies over the course of your career to date: would you please walk us through that?

Right. I began my career at General Electric, for example, because I wanted to develop a finance and operationally oriented skill set to use for the rest of my career. I’ve traveled a decent amount both domestically and internationally during my prior roles so I’m familiar with the road warrior aspect of our consultants’ jobs. I’ve worked at a small, family-owned, private company, and I’ve held different legal and financial roles at multiple publicly held biotech companies. As CFO of a privately held company like Dark Horse, I enjoy having an entrepreneurial founder in Anthony Davies who understands the importance of investing in our people and systems to maximize our potential and our scalability. We can make smart growth decisions without worrying about quarterly performance.

You have a background in economics and you’re also a lawyer. Do you consider yourself entrepreneurial?

I was the first in my family to graduate from college but I come from a long line of entrepreneurs. At Dark Horse I am around so many bright people with masters’ degrees and Ph.D.s, which is not really something I was around growing up, but at the same time I believe I fit right in regarding Dark Horse and its entrepreneurial spirit. I look at Anthony, our CEO, and Katy, our COO, and I see a logical but entrepreneurial emphasis on business decisions being made on a daily basis. It’s fun to be around people like them.

How do you view yourself in a work capacity?

In the business world I am like a baseball infielder who can play shortstop, second base, etc. I can add value to a lot of different areas: strategy, finance, law, business transactions, operations. Plus, I like building relationships and fostering an environment where people want to be long-term. I’m not a specialist like many of our consultants are but I have a lot of different business experiences to draw from.

You’ve been a financial consultant for Dark Horse also, though, right?

Yes, I’ve done some financial analysis and modeling for DHC clients on occasion. Understanding how to value some of the capital allocation decisions our team is recommending to clients can help a client see the potential ROI on his/her decisions. So, that’s what I have worked on in the past from that perspective. I will likely get involved with future projects where our company performs due diligence to support client investment decisions.

On the personal front, you’ve mentioned that your kids are into sports. Tell us more!

Yes! My family is my top priority in life so I love being able to spend lots of time with my kids and helping them achieve their own goals. My son is a competitive junior golfer and my daughter loves soccer. I played a lot of sports growing up and nowadays I throw most of my energy and free-time into helping my kids. If I come into the office with a pulled hammy it’s because my kids are pushing me too hard on the field.

What was your sport of choice, growing up?

I played everything growing up and then spent one year playing college golf. It was the last sport I actually picked up; I started to play golf so I could spend more time with my grandfather. He was the kind of golfer that threw his club further than he hit the ball, but we had fun. Today, I mostly just putt and chip with my son. I love that competitive sports can teach kids life skills; the kids and I will talk about how something that happened in sports can be applied to future life events. A fun fact about me is that I was born on the same day as Tiger Woods…and then I played on the same team with him at Stanford for a year. I quickly figured out to focus on my grades after spending some time with him on the golf course.

[Ed. note: here’s a bonus picture, showing Ryan with son Eric (11) after a youth golf tournament.]

Ryan Chavez with daughter Brooke (almost 9) and wife Ruby, together after a youth soccer tournament

Ryan with daughter Brooke (almost 9) and wife Ruby, celebrating together after a youth soccer tournament.

(Check out the bottom of this page for a bonus picture!)

Ryan and son Erik (11) after a youth golf tournament

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