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He once sold a home with a 1,000-foot-long tunnel!

posted Sep 26, 2014, 2:07 PM by Joyce Evans
You might know Dennis Ryan as co-host of the South County “Rally & Ride” weekly pitch sessions since January 2013.

But did you know that Dennis signed up for an accounting class in high school only because the classroom was full of girls who wanted to be secretaries, which meant he would be the only guy? Later in life, Dennis became a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

“As a teenager, I was not interested in school, in fact I never did any homework,” said Dennis, a native of Portland who grew up in San Diego’s San Carlos area and attended Patrick Henry High School. “At the end of my junior year, a counselor suggested that I attend a different school for my senior year. She was clearly trying to get rid of me.”

Dennis then attended Wright Brothers Career High School, a vocational school operated by the San Diego Unified School District. The school, now closed, was located near Highway 94, on the campus of Gompers Middle School.

After high school, Dennis attended Grossmont College and the University of San Diego, earning an accounting degree in 1981. He became a CPA in 1983.

Right out of college, Dennis landed a job with Kenneth Leventhal & Co., a firm specializing in accounting and consulting to the real estate industry. He found himself involved in auditing office and industrial parks and large apartment complexes. Today, the Kenneth Leventhal Real Estate Group is part of Ernst & Young, an international accounting firm.

After Kenneth Leventhal, he joined Trammell Crow Co., one of the nation’s leading developers and investors in commercial real estate. He worked his way up to regional controller over properties in Arizona and Southern California, including The Citadel, a former tire manufacturing plant that was converted to a retail center. Today, the 130-store Citadel Outlets is one of Los Angeles’ most popular shopping spots.

Dennis spent 10 years working with Trammell Crow. During that time, he met the love of his life, Fay, who also was working for Trammel Crow. Dennis and Fay recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. They have one son who attends college.

Dennis left Trammel Crow to attend graduate school full time. He earned a masters in business administration from Clairemont Graduate University. He studied under the late Peter F. Drucker, considered America’s leading management expert who turned modern management theory into a serious discipline. “It was an incredible experience,” said Dennis. “Mr. Drucker influenced or created nearly every facet of business management that is used today. I was very fortunate.”

With his MBA in hand, he returned to the real estate investment industry and was involved in buying and selling office buildings that had been damaged during the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Later, he was involved in the purchase, packaging and sale of 20 shopping centers to a San Diego-based real estate investment trust.

In 1999, he joined McMillin Realty, where he still is today. His background with investment properties was helpful in serving the local office of the U.S. Marshals Service. The feds wanted Dennis to help them dispose of properties that had been confiscated as a result of illegal activity. The properties included single-family homes, as well as apartment complexes. One property in the East County backcountry looked typical on the outside, but had a 1,000-foot-long drug tunnel that began under the staircase.

His work with law enforcement prompted him to earn a professional designation as a Certified Fraud Examiner with the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the world’s largest anti-fraud organization.

Dennis enjoys mountain biking and competing in races on the Southern California Cyclocross circuit.  Cyclocross is a timed bicycle race held over a one- or two-mile grass, dirt, mud, sand and pavement course that includes such obstacles as mud or sand pits, barriers, run-ups and fly-overs. The 56-year-old competes in the masters category for riders ages 55 and older.

His biking injuries have included a dislocated finger, numerous stitches and fractured ribs. “Crashes are fairly common,” said Dennis. “My goal is not to get hurt too badly and not to get lapped by the fastest guy. I do it because it’s good for my health. Most people my age can’t do it, and it is fun after it’s over.” His training routine for the 45-minute Cyclocross races includes six-to-eight-hours of riding each week.

Dennis said he enjoys PSAR because the association “is very service oriented. They really do care about their members, they offer services that help us in our business, and they are always friendly.

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 Don’t forget to read next week’s story. Hint: Her childhood job on her family’s dairy farm was to climb up the silo and push down the silage for the cows to eat.