There’s a good chance, unless you’re from the neighboring town of Silver, like Ryan Welch’s wife, Amanda, that you’ve never heard of Turbeville, South Carolina. Ryan was born and raised in this small town, where there was (and still is) one stoplight, one post office, one grocery store, and (as he likes to joke) 12 cops ready to pull you over if you aren’t abiding by the 35 mile-per-hour speed limit across town. Today, it is the last dry town in the state of South Carolina. Despite its quirks, Ryan is thankful for his upbringing in Turbeville—his experiences there instilled the hard work and respect he has for others today.
Growing up on a farm with his parents and older brother, starting at age 12 Ryan was expected to work during the summers and on weekends. At that age, waking up at the crack of dawn to cut wheat and perform other tasks was a big pain for him, but now Ryan looks back with gratitude. It helped reinforce what his parents were always telling him—while they weren’t strict, moral values such as respecting others, working hard, and taking care of others were always emphasized. Working in the fields at a young age helped Ryan understand these things better. Besides, it wasn’t all bad. Ryan has always loved being outdoors—from playing sports (he played football, baseball, basketball, and ran track) to fishing and hunting (he says there is nowhere in the world he is happier than when he is out calling ducks), he has always found an excuse to get outside. Baseball, in fact, became a very big force in Ryan’s life. Playing at Carolina Academy in high school, his team was runner-up for state champions his junior year and his senior year they won state and he was named the SCISA 2A Statewide Baseball Player of the Year. He continued to play ball in college for a year, until he was injured. However, the biggest influence baseball had in his life was not on the field, but actually off, in the dugout.
At the age of 11, Ryan and friends were waiting in the dugout, watching the older boys practice and waiting for their own practice to start. To pass the time, they took turns jumping up to hang onto the rafters, moving further back each round to see how far they could reach. The first couple of jumps went fine, but another time around Ryan didn’t manage to grip the rafter correctly and his whole body fell, first hitting the steel bench and then crashing onto the concrete floor. He was revived in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, where he received care from a man named Dr. Nasso. Ryan spent three days in ICU, and the clot that had developed in his brain, miraculously, dissolved. His story would be featured in an ad for Carolinas Hospital System for years to come. This would change Ryan’s life—from then on, he wanted to be a neurosurgeon, so he could do for others what Nasso had done for him.
After getting injured playing baseball in college, Ryan changed his trajectory to focus more on studies and transferred to the University of South Carolina to study biology, but he would have another change of direction that following summer. He was taking classes (“I always have to stay busy, or I get into trouble!”) and living with a roommate who brought him to the NAI Avant office to interview to be a runner for the summer—an activity to take up time when he wasn’t in class. Ryan got the job almost immediately. Being a runner allowed Ryan to meet Paul Hartley, who took him under his wing. By the end of the summer, Ryan had applied to business school and was enrolled to double major in both business and biology, while still working for NAI throughout his college career. He moved into Property Management with the company immediately after graduating, and signed a contract saying he would stay with NAI for a year (if the year didn’t work out, Ryan would return to neurosurgery and follow that path back to medical school). After this time passed, he not only found himself the Regional Director of Property Management at NAI, but he had made the move to Charleston, SC, while working on transitioning to brokerage.
It was in Charleston and working in brokerage where Ryan met Thomas Buist. Both were approached by Reid Davis, who within a month had moved them to what then was Anchor Commercial, and now is Lee & Associates Charleston. Ryan learned quickly in his brokerage career that he liked industrial commercial real estate, not just because there was always something new but because he felt good about working on projects that were creating jobs for others, helping people and the economy. Since joining Reid and the rest of the Lee Charleston team, Ryan says his work has been fun, but nonstop. He credits Reid, Milton Thomas, and Bob Nuttall, along with his serious drive and work ethic, with the success he’s had in his career and considers the people he works with as family. He knows, because of his childhood, how to respect every member of the team, as they are all spokes that make up the wheel. In 2018, Ryan not only earned his SIOR designation, but was named Principal and had a daughter, Anna Briggs Welch.
In addition to working hard, Ryan is a member of the Coastal Conservation Association and a guide at the South Carolina Waterfowl Association. He and Amanda were married in 2016 (although they have known each other for most of their lives, having even dated in middle school!). The family’s two Boykin Spaniels are always making Anna laugh or out in the field with Ryan, hunting, fishing, and helping him retrieve ducks. He sticks to the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated, and when he needs inspiration he thinks of his favorite Ralph Waldo Emerson quote: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”.