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Alumni Engagement

Going Places 2011: Ryan Garriock

January 1, 2011

Ryan Garriock, Owner
Garriock Insurance
1997, Business Administration

It isn’t too often that you hear of parents trying to convince their kids not to go to medical school.

But in the case of Red River College alum Ryan Garriock, co-owner of long-running Winnipeg brokerage Garriock Insurance, that bit of fatherly advice proved especially fortuitous.

Garriock, who now runs the family business along with his younger brother, Wade, was actually considering becoming a doctor until his father took him aside for a little heart-to-heart.

“My dad sat me down one day and said, ‘Look — you’re going to be in school for the next six or seven years if you want to be a doctor, and when you’re done, you’re going to have some pretty serious student loans,’” Garriock recalls.

“He said, “Why don’t you go to Red River College and take their Business Administration course, and if you work hard enough — and if I think you’re ready, and you’re the right guy — then you can buy the business from me?’”

After considering his options, Garriock chose to take his father’s advice, enrolling at RRC in 1995 and graduating with his diploma in Business Administration two years later. Having taken a few university courses while still toying with the idea of medical school, Garriock found himself far more impressed by the sense of community that was — and is still — prevalent at RRC.

“It’s more of a street-smart approach, which helped me relate to the material a lot better,” says Garriock, one of only 17 brokers in Canada to achieve the prestigious CPIB (Canadian Professional Insurance Broker) designation.

To be fair, Garriock probably had a bit of an advantage over some of his classmates, having spent the majority of his adolescence working at the family business. (Garriock’s father, J. David Garriock, took over the company from his own father in 1980, and Ryan remembers biking directly from school to the family’s Charleswood office to help with the backlog of Autopac renewals every February.)

Ryan and Wade were made third-generation co-owners in 2002, when their father — himself an RRC alum — abruptly handed over the reins.

“My dad came in one day and said, ‘You know what? I’m going to retire today,’” says Garriock.

“(He said,) ‘There’s nothing else I can teach you — it’s time for you guys to sink or swim.’”

At Garriock Insurance, now in its 60th year of existence, employees pride themselves on being able to provide innovative solutions that meet the diverse needs of their growing customer base. Over the past two years, Garriock and his brother have managed to double the size of their operation, and at last count, their annual sales exceeded $15 million.

In addition to his responsibilities at work, Garriock also serves as the Chair RRC’s Alumni Board — a position that allows him to stay connected to past and future generations of RRC graduates.

Click here to learn more about RRC’s Business Administration program.