The new general manager of the Record Newspapers is a veteran community journalist who began his career as a printer's assistant in the pressroom at the old Kendall County Record office in downtown Yorkville.
Ryan Wells recalled he had recently graduated from Yorkville High School in 1995 when he was hired by former Record publishers Jeff and Kathy Farren to assist the Record's printer.
In addition to his duties in the press room, Wells said he gained his first professional editorial experience working for the Record as a sportswriter covering YHS sports and as a news reporter covering some Kendall County governmental meetings.
Wells continued his study of journalism at Waubonsee Community College and at Northern Illinois University. He went on from NIU to earn a bachelor's degree in business management from the University of Phoenix.
While attending college, Wells began working part-time as a reporter for the Elburn Herald. Wells continued his career at the Herald, rising from reporter to writing coach to editor. In 2011, Wells purchased and became publisher of the Herald. Last year, Wells sold the Herald to Shaw Media and became general manager for Shaw's Kane County Chronicle newspapers and Suburban Life Media in DuPage County.
Effective Aug. 1, Wells became general manager for the Record Newspapers, succeeding Steve Vanisko, who continues to serve as general manager for the Morris Herald-News and Joliet Herald-News.
Wells' Kendall County roots go deeper than his years at Yorkville High School and at the Record. Before his family moved to Yorkville, Wells said they first lived in Plano, where he attended elementary school.
Seated in his new office at the Record Newspapers in Yorkville at 109 W. Veterans Parkway on the second floor of the First National Bank building, Wells said he is pleased to have opportunity to work at the Record in Yorkville once again.
"It's really a special feeling to be back and working again for my hometown newspaper," he said.
Wells noted that growing up in Yorkville, Plano and Kendall County, he was a customer at many of the businesses that the Record Newspapers has long served.
"I think I've been in some of the businesses hundreds of times and now I get to help them and organizations like the Kendall County Fair with their marketing plans with our newspapers and on our website [KendallCountyNow.com]," he said.
Wells lives in Plano with his wife, Natalie, and their two sons, Ryan Jr. and Cayden.