30 in Their Thirties 2015


(page 9 of 30)

Ryan Holdan // 36

Founder and President | Paymasters Inc., Birmingham | Employees: 12 | Revenue: $3.6M | 

University of Pennsylvania

On the outside, it sure seemed like Ryan Holdan had it made. He was a recent graduate of an Ivy League college, in his early 20s, and living in Santa Monica, Calif. “I was right there on Ocean Avenue,” he recalls, “right across from the Pier. I could see it from my window.”

Holdan was working for CIBC World Markets, the investment-banking branch of a global Canadian bank. 

“They were big into casinos,” he says, “and I was in the gaming, lodging, and leisure industry. The money was awesome, the hours were horrible.”

It wasn’t long before Holdan learned something about his job — and himself, too — that caused a change in his career path.

“There’s a pecking order in corporate America, and that really wasn’t something I wanted to do the rest of my life. I thought investment banking was going to be the greatest thing that ever happened to me, but I realized what I really wanted to do was to start my own business. I wanted to live and die by my own sword,” he says.

So Holdan literally moved back into the Bloomfield Township house of his youth. “It was a little bit humbling, sure,” he says, “but I was young enough to take the plunge and I saved every penny.”

Holdan started Paymasters Inc. when he was just 25, and since then he’s taken what was a modest payroll company and turned it into a growing enterprise in the industry, largely by cornering a very specific client — restaurants.

“This is more fun than just normal payroll; it’s more complicated and challenging. We like to think of ourselves almost as an elite team. We have special software just for restaurants, and we spend gobs of money doing everything in our power to educate and train our clients and ourselves so we can help them stay in compliance.”

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Roll 'Em

The film industry in metro Detroit, which is very much alive despite the end of sizeable state incentives that were designed to attract top-flight actors and directors, can draw big-budget production companies like Disney and Warner Bros. by building up a creative infrastructure.

Q&A: Chris Thomas

Chris Thomas is a co-founder of Fontinalis Partners, a venture capital firm in downtown Detroit focused exclusively on investing in technology companies that improve next-generation mobility.

Line of Flight

A longer runway at Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, new golf courses and wineries, upgraded resorts, and revamped marketing campaigns are attracting more tourism in northern Michigan.

Integrating Circuits

Not since Detroit absorbed California hot-rod culture have the Motor City and the Golden State embraced each other so tight. The quest to perfect self-driving cars and find innovative mobility solutions made it happen. Is this the biggest story in American business?

2018 Champions of the New Economy

For the ninth straight year, DBusiness has selected five regional executives who are driving growth in the technology sector.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Wayne State’s Graduate Supply Chain Program Ranked Among Top 25 in the Country
    Wayne State University’s graduate global supply chain management program is among the...
  2. Belle Isle Conservatory to See Almost $2M in Renovations
    The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Thursday announced the Anna Scripps Whitcomb...
  3. The Corner Apartment and Retail Project at Old Tiger Stadium Site in Detroit to be Completed in February
    The former Tiger Stadium site in Detroit received the city’s first modular home drop today as...
  4. Bloomfield Hills’ Center Rock Capital Partners Acquire American Piping Products
    Center Rock Capital Partners LP in Bloomfield Hills today announced it has acquired American...
  5. Universal McCann Will Open Office in Downtown Detroit to Oversee Quicken Loans’ Media Planning and Buying
    Detroit-based Quicken Loans Inc. today announced a long-term agreement with Universal McCann (UM)...
  6. The Kiefer Foundation in Plymouth Expands Efforts to Combat Distracted Driving
    The Kiefer Foundation in Plymouth, which trains and educates teenage drivers and their parents...