An Eagle of Many Talents

With his day job as an engineer, a small business and a brewery in the works, MBA in Aviation major Ryan Harper is one busy student.

Worldwide alumnus and student Ryan Harper enjoys hiking outdoors when not working on his third degree from Embry-Riddle.
Worldwide alumnus and student Ryan Harper is currently working on his third degree from Embry-Riddle. (Photo: Ryan Harper)

Ryan Harper ('19, '21, '23) got his start in aviation in the Marine Corps as a Sikorsky CH53E helicopter airframe and hydraulics mechanic at Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464.

During his time there, one of his senior leaders recommended that he attend Embry-Riddle.

Given ERAU’s reputation and the flexibility that the Worldwide Campus offers, Harper has been able to complete his degrees while building a successful career.

So far, he has earned his A.S. in Aviation Maintenance and B.S. in Engineering Technology and is currently working toward his MBA in Aviation.

“I always wanted to be an engineer, but I had an aviation mechanic background, so naturally I started my engineering technology degree,” he said. “I was awarded a lot of credit for my background, so I completed those degrees simultaneously while working in aviation mechanic and engineering roles.”

Harper currently works as an engineer at Northrop Grumman, but his accomplishments don’t stop there.

When he found himself out of work at the beginning of the pandemic, he decided to start Harper’s Hops – a natural hair and beard care business that utilizes beer hops in each product’s ingredients.

“I had nothing else to do besides schoolwork and speculate what I really wanted to do in my life because working for General Electric Aviation was always the goal, but plans change and the Marine in me saw it as a challenge to better myself,” he said. “It was also a way for me to give myself a crash course into opening my first business at a forgiving micro level.”

Harper is also the senior business leader of Amp House Brewing – a new brewery that is scheduled to open in early 2023.

Along with his team, he plans to use this new development as a way to help revitalize the city of Hamilton, Ohio.

“I have a business partner who’s owned another local brewery and has been a beer brewer for over 20 years,” said Harper. “We plan on building a team of over 20 people from the local community.”

When it comes to his plans for the future, Harper is taking it one step at a time.

“Just when I think I have it planned out, my plans change and I find something that’s going to make a positive impact on myself and the ones around me,” he said. “For now, I’m focused on my career as an engineer, finishing my MBA and getting this brewery up and running.”

His advice for success?

“Don’t let education get in the way of what you want to do. Throw yourself into uncomfortable and challenging positions even if you don’t know how to do it. Cling to your mentors, community and resources you have available and let change become your impetus, not your resistance.”