Ryan Shea is the CEO of Entrepreneur Media. That’s the parent company that owns Entrepreneur Magazine and Entrepreneur.com. Originally from Irvine, California, Ryan Shea now lives in Eagle, Idaho. But decades before he ever became the CEO, his father, Peter Shea rescued the magazine from its near-apocalyptic collapse by saving it from bankruptcy.
But let’s rewind the clock a bit. And go back in time to before Peter Shea acquired Entrepreneur Media. Ryan Shea clearly got his entrepreneurial spirit from his father, Peter Shea. When Peter Shea was just a teenager, he was eager to work any job available. He tried his hand at it all. From washing cars to working in a self-defense school, painting houses, to eventually running a restaurant and even working in narcotics as a police officer.
But over time, he veered towards sales when he started working for A.B. Dick and Itek, a leading office supplies company. While working at A.B. Dick and Itek, he had an intuition. The idea was to create a new type of paper sorter that could sort coated paper. That led him to launch his first business in 1973 called, Gradco Systems.
Peter Shea, an avid salesman, went all in on Gradco Systems, traveling all over the world to pitch his new coated paper sorter. And it paid off. Gradco Systems became the largest manufacturer of paper sorters in the world and his technology was integrated into Xerox copiers. Roughly a decade after that, Peter Shea sold his shares in Gradco Sytems for a windfall of cash.
After Peter Shea cashed out of Gradco Systems, he took some time off from business. But that break didn’t last long. Like most famous entrepreneurs, you can only sit idle for a brief period before you get the itch to launch the next big thing. Especially after such a massive level of success. His interest turned to real estate when he started to purchase property and restaurants in the Irvine area.
Eventually, he saw an opportunity to buy, Stained Glass Overlay, a company with franchises he could sell to grow that business. Once again, he set out traveling and selling franchises. He sold 450 franchises and during that period advertised heavily in, Entrepreneur Magazine. The success of those ads outpaced any other advertising done during that period.
That’s why, when Peter Shea got wind that Entrepreneur Magazine was about to go into bankruptcy, he decided to save it by buying the company. He quickly cut costs and made a major overhaul to the staff. Peter Shea even elicited his wife, Lynda, to help sell ads. It quickly became a family-run business. And eventually, this strategy paid off.
The 1980s saw a major boon to magazine subscriptions and ad revenue quickly climbed. The LA Times even reported that the magazine saw an 82% increase in subscriptions to 325,000 total subscribers from 1987 to 1990. And Entrepreneur Magazine quickly soared in popularity as it made the top 10 list of hottest magazines in, Adweek.
Ryan Shea At Helm Of Entrepreneur Media
Peter Shea took Entrepreneur Magazine from a failing company and a shell of what it now is, full circle into a booming media empire. The growth of Entrepreneur Magazine was astronomical and it has been at the forefront of every major news story in the entrepreneurial world. I have long been a fan of this magazine and have always admired the quality of writing and reporting of business events and concepts.
Peter Shea eventually passed the torch to his son, Ryan Shea to helm Entrepreneur Media as CEO. The magazine has grown tremendously under the leadership of Ryan Shea and it is still one of the best-known and most sought-after magazines in the entrepreneurial space. Peter Shea passed away on September 21, 2023, and it was a sad day for the publishing world.
If it wasn’t for Peter Shea, Entrepreneur Magazine would not exist. Ryan pays homage to his father and is honoring his legacy by carrying the torch and ensuring that the magazine continues to grow. Today, the magazine is published in many countries under licenses such as Hungary, Russia, Mexico, and others. And its editor-in-chief is, Jason Feifer.