FEATURED /// May 12, 2021
The Perfect Fit
Two decades ago, Ryan Angold was a new Navy SEAL who had just joined his new team at Little Creek.
He was quickly sent off to get fitted for 5 different mission wetsuits, armed with only a small piece of paper with a company name and a Great Neck Road address written on it.
“Atlantic Diving Supply.”
When he finally walked out of the store with those wetsuits, he never would have guessed that two decades later his career would come full circle, with the small Great Neck Road dive shop growing into a Top U.S. Defense Contractor and Ryan as its Senior Vice President for Market Sales.
And those wetsuits? He’s still got them.
“They still fit!” Ryan says with a laugh.
Ryan grew up in Grass Valley, Calif., the second oldest of seven brothers, all of whom went off to traditional colleges. Unlike his brothers, Ryan was more interested in going to a military academy where he could play Division 1 sports. On the day he graduated high school, he was accepted to the Naval Academy, where he’d earn an engineering degree, and later graduate from BUD/S -- Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL Training - before going on to become a Navy SEAL.
Being a Navy SEAL was a job he loved, but after 8 years, his career was cut short by a freak parasailing accident on the Chesapeake Bay. His head hit the water hard, and he was dragged through the water as his wife watched helplessly from the beach. He stayed conscious and did everything he could to keep calm and stay positive. But the dislocated neck and crushed spinal cord left him little ability to move, and doctors at the Richmond VA Medical Center questioned whether he’d ever walk again.
But Ryan did walk out of that Richmond hospital about three months later, applying the same determined mindset that made him a successful Naval Academy graduate and SEAL. A few functions were still off. It took a whole year to get his arm function back so he could hold things properly, for instance. But his military career -- the one he’d dreamed about since high school -- was over.
It’s almost hard for Ryan to believe that he’s now spent more of his professional career outside of the military than in it. Like so many veterans and so many of his colleagues at ADS, he wasn’t sure what to do after the military before he found ADS.
He had gone to the Naval Academy right out of high school, and never really had anything other than part time jobs. He did have that Naval Academy engineering degree, but after putting his wife through multiple deployments and his broken neck, he didn’t want to make her move again. She grew up here, and they loved the area and the water. They wanted to stay.
And like those wetsuits he’d gotten two decades earlier, Atlantic Diving Supply offered the perfect fit.
“Back then, it was wet suits that fit for every mission and that worked great,” Ryan says. “ Today, ADS provides customized solutions across 8 major categories for all branches of the military. But the heart of what ADS does hasn’t changed - providing the best most customized equipment and solutions for our country’s military.”
At ADS, Ryan discovered a rewarding career in a fun, competitive environment. His first career may have been sadly cut short, but like so many of his veteran co-workers, he’s proud to be able to continue supporting the military.
Ryan is also proud to work at a company that gives back to the military communities it serves. He plays an active role in the local Word of Honor Fund, facilitating milestone events for the surviving children of fallen Navy SEALs and Special Operations personnel. He’s also very proud of the ADS Mission GiveBack Foundation, including its effort to support college scholarships for the children of fallen, missing and injured service members.
“I love working for a company that gives back,” he said. “ADS is a great fit for me.”
Just as it’s always been.