Wright-Ryan Marks 40th Year with Announcement of New Leader

March 7, 2024

Today, Wright-Ryan, one of the largest and most respected construction firms in northern New England, announced an upcoming transition in leadership as the company celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2024 and looks ahead to the next forty years. Alan Sparn, who has served as Wright-Ryan’s Chief Operating Officer since 2022, will succeed John Ryan as President beginning on June 30, 2024. At that time, John Ryan will continue as Chair of the company’s Board of Directors.

“This is a landmark moment for Wright-Ryan, one that has been years in the making, and one which comes after much thoughtful consideration,” Ryan shared, highlighting the company’s enthusiasm for Alan Sparn’s succession to the role of President.

Following a comprehensive three-year succession planning process, the company is well-prepared and excited for this evolution. Sparn has over 40 years of experience in the construction industry and proven expertise in building and leading effective teams. “Alan has exceptional leadership skills and deep industry knowledge. More important, his values and philosophies align with ours in terms of caring for people and doing the right thing. I have every confidence that he will lead Wright-Ryan into its next phase of growth and success,” Ryan shared.

“When I joined Wright-Ryan, I felt an immediate connection with this team and our surrounding community. It is a privilege to take on this new role at Wright-Ryan,” Sparn reflected. Prior to joining Wright-Ryan, Alan served as Executive Vice President for a New York-based construction firm, utilizing his seasoned knowledge to expand business opportunities and grow project teams. “Like John, construction has been a key tenet of my life’s work. I joined a mid-sized construction management firm in 1983 and have been involved in the industry ever since. As my career took me throughout New England and eventually New York, I always knew I wanted to be in Maine,” said Sparn. A New England native, Alan has a deep-rooted connection to Maine and a resounding respect for Wright-Ryan’s portfolio of work and collaborative company culture.

This cultural alignment reinforces the company’s purpose-driven focus on providing construction services of the highest professional standard that benefit Wright-Ryan’s team, their partners, and their communities. The company takes particular pride in its work to support the missions of dozens of non-profits and local organizations including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine, Maine College of Art & Design, the University of Maine System, Opportunity Alliance, Portland Stage Company, and Preble Street. Wright-Ryan is also known for completing a diverse array of challenging projects throughout northern New England with a specific focus on sustainable construction for community-based institutions – including groundbreaking work on the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine and the Tekαkαpimək Contact Station at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

Wright-Ryan and those whom the company serves will continue to benefit from John Ryan’s knowledge and expertise through his ongoing role as Chair of the Board. Ryan has led the company through four decades of unprecedented evolution and growth – including steadfast leadership through two economic recessions and a global pandemic, and the implementation of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) which has been an overwhelming success.

Ryan and co-founder, Tom Wright, established Wright-Ryan in 1984. Since that time, Wright-Ryan has grown to become a 100% employee-owned company of over 100 team members. “As Wright-Ryan celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, I feel immense gratitude towards the Wright-Ryan team and our shared community for all that we have built together,” Ryan shared. Recent research cited by the organization, Certified EO, in a report1 dated February 27, 2024, underscores the rarity that less than 1 in 200 American businesses are employee-owned. Even fewer companies are 100% employee owned.

In his remarks to the Wright-Ryan team earlier this week, Ryan largely attributed the company’s success to the culture of leadership that exists throughout the firm. John emphasized, “With leadership coming from every corner of the company, and the unbeatable culture here, we are well prepared for a bright future. Our management team and business line leadership are deeply experienced, averaging well over a decade working within the company, and we have been very successful in recruiting and developing a new generation of leaders.” Alan Sparn echoed, “Collaborating closely with our team and our business partners, I am honored to guide Wright-Ryan forward, expand on the company’s legacy, and continue building for generations to come.”


This leadership announcement comes amidst Wright-Ryan’s 40th anniversary celebrations. Through a series of special initiatives planned for the coming months, the “Building for Generations” campaign will focus on the future of Wright-Ryan while shining a spotlight on the team members, partners and projects that have been integral to the firm’s success over the last four decades. Alongside the leadership announcement, Wright-Ryan has also shared an interactive timeline of the company’s 40-year history and released the first installment of a limited video series, featuring remarks on leadership from John Ryan, Alan Sparn, and other members of the team.

Learn more about Wright-Ryan’s 40-year history and watch the latest video by visiting www.wright-ryan.com/buildingforgenerations.

1Source: Certified EO – ‘Why Aren’t There More Employee-Owned Companies?’

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