Experiences at Willamette Help Flynn as V.P. and General Counsel for Pacific Power

Experiences at Willamette Help Flynn as V.P. and General Counsel for Pacific Power

Former Bearcat Baseball Player has Law Degree from George Washington University

By Katie Huber '13, Writer

SALEM, ORE. -- Ryan Flynn 97 learned at a young age that business success requires hard work and preparation.

At age 11, he devised his first business venture a lawn mowing, water sealing and furniture staining service called Mow n Hoe. By creating fliers and advertising his services, he earned the business of five neighbors.

Today, as the vice president and general counsel for Pacific Power, Flynn serves a much larger customer base providing electricity generation, transmission and distribution to more than 730,000 people in Oregon, Washington and California.

Flynns impressive career accomplishments havent gone unnoticed. In 2013, he was recognized among Portlands 40 Under 40 by the Portland Business Journal an annual salute to individuals younger than 40 who are making an impact and building influence in Portlands business community.

Ive always aspired to be in a position where I make decisions to benefit people, Flynn says. With all of my jobs, Ive learned to work hard and treasure the relationships Ive built not in an agenda-driven way, but through having a genuine interest in what people do.

Developing Lasting Connections

Even as a high school senior, Flynn recognized the value of relationships and he knew he would find lasting connections at Willamette University.

Having grown up in Corvallis (Oregon), I remember looking up to the high school kids who went to Willamette, he says. I knew that at a school like Willamette Id have the ability to establish relationships, not just with my fellow students, but with my professors.

Once at Willamette, Flynn also developed a network of supportive teammates as a catcher and designated hitter for the Bearcat baseball team.

During his junior and senior year, Flynn was named Honorable Mention NAIA All-America and All-West Coast as a designated hitter, and was All-Conference as a sophomore, junior and senior.

When he graduated, he held Willamettes all-time single season records in hits, doubles and runs. Today, Flynn still holds the Willamette record for doubles in a single season (17 in 1996), and he appears in the record book in four other categories: batting average (.390 for 77 at bats in 1996), runs (40 in 1997), runs batted in (46 in 1997) and home runs (9 in 1997).

Though excelling on the baseball field required a significant time commitment, Flynn was equally dedicated to academic success.

Ryan showed an earnestness and interest in what he was learning that changed some of my early and unfair assumptions about athletes, says politics professor Sammy Basu, who served as Flynns advisor and mentor. The athletes themselves put pressure on one another both to be team players and to get their coursework done.

Flynn says the organizational skills he developed on the baseball team have lasted well beyond his collegiate years.

Playing at Willamette struck a balance between school and sport it was competitive, but it didnt overwhelm other parts of your life, either academically or socially, he says. It took learning time management, categorizing and focusing on what had to be done, planning ahead and preparation which are all skills that I apply now in my career.

Experiencing the Political Process

Not only did Flynn develop life skills in the classroom and on the baseball field he also gained on-the-job experience as an intern at the Oregon State Capitol.

In Willamettes legislative internship course, Flynn a politics major used his professors connections to obtain a competitive internship. As an intern for Rep. Bob Repine, R-Grants Pass, Flynn wasnt just doing administrative work he was meeting people and learning the behind-the-scenes workings of state politics.

Willamette has had a long and rich relationship with the State Capitol, and generations of our students have benefited from that relationship in the form of substantial internships, Basu says. Students find themselves working in legislative offices, communicating with constituents, tracking bills, conducting background research and attending closed-door party meetings.

Interning at the Oregon State Capitol reaffirmed Flynns interest in politics and inspired him to move to Washington, D.C. after graduation along with his wife Bonnie (Bauer) Flynn 97.

Once in DC, he landed a legislative aide position with Rep. Robert F. Bob Smith 53, R-Oregon, and he obtained a law degree from George Washington University.

Politicians and legislators really decide and write the law, so a law degree opens a lot of doors to careers in public policy, he says.

Leading the Team

After living and working in Washington, D.C. for nearly seven years, Flynn returned home to the Pacific Northwest, where he worked as an attorney at Davis Wright Tremaine and then at Pacific Power.

In 2012, Flynn moved into his current role as vice president and general counsel at Pacific Power, part of PacifiCorp. There, he manages the companys legal and compliance risk by providing guidance on state and federal regulatory, litigation and company policy matters.

Flynn attributes his success in this leadership role to the teamwork and time-management skills he developed as a Willamette student-athlete.

It is important to know your strengths and weaknesses, but also to understand the team around you, he says. I enjoy putting the people on my team into positions to succeed and have the freedom to make difficult decisions.

Former Bearcat baseball player Ryan Flynn '97 is vice president and general council for Pacific Power.