Ryan Martin: Spirit of Gainesville nominee

Published: Monday, September 9, 2013 at 11:54 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 9, 2013 at 11:54 a.m.

In looking for the Spirit of Gainesville in Entrepreneurship, look no further than Gainesville’s “Most Eligible Bachelor”, the CEO and founder of Florida Sustainables, Ryan Martin.


Ryan Martin


Category: Entrepreneurship

About Ryan Martin

Occupation: CEO of Florida Sustainables

Years in Gainesville: 13

Ryan started Florida Sustainables (www.facebook.com/floridasustainables) after inventing a new family of green plastics while a Ph.D. student in organic chemistry at UF, and also while studying intellectual property law. Florida Sustainables is an award-winning entity on the cutting edge of green materials, innovating plastics that have the same useful properties as fossil fuel-based plastics, though made from sustainable, renewable sources and degrading safely in the environment orders of magnitude faster than the fossil fuel counterparts we are used to. Ryan is passionate about mitigating the plastic debris crisis around the world, especially in marine environments.

For their innovations, Florida Sustainables has garnered considerable attention, including, among other things, being awarded a World Economic Forum Young Scientist/Entrepreneur Award, Florida Newsmaker of the Year for Science/Innovation, The Cade Prize for Innovation, and Florida High Tech Magazine “Face of Technology.” This year, Ryan was named a Distinguished Lecturer at Roger Williams University, an honor previously earned by world-renowned chemist and Nobel Prize winner Roald Hoffmann.

Florida Sustainables has two main focuses: (1) researching and commercializing green polymer technologies; and (2) community involvement through educational outreach programs and cleanup efforts.

Ryan can frequently be found encouraging STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education in students by speaking and giving fun and engaging workshops at schools and museums, volunteering for science fairs (including the Alachua County Science Fair), and has served as a judge and keynote speaker for Florida's Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. Ryan also has been an invited guest speaker at UF to teach on innovation and entrepreneurship, and was an invited speaker at Global Entrepreneurship Week as a panelist in the “Energetic Entrepreneurs” forum. Wherever he goes, Ryan brings positive recognition to Gainesville and to our community spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Ryan is a true adventurer with a unique and varied set of skills, lives life abundantly, and is deeply committed to innovation and community. You’re just as likely to find Ryan flying planes, sailing, doing obstacles races, or SCUBA diving, as you are to find him hanging out with friends at local establishments. He is also one heck of a cook!

Ryan came to Gainesville as a UF undergrad, a National Merit Scholar, a Hugh O'Brian Youth Leader, and a Boys State Alumnus. As a Gator, Ryan excelled both in and out of the classroom. Ryan majored in biochemistry and was an honors student who used his knowledge and love of chemistry to help develop and test a highly effective polymeric sensor for chemical weapons of mass destruction. Ryan was the Varsity Men's Captain for the UF Rowing Team, as well as a leader in his church, leading a bible study and several mission trips both in the US and overseas. Ryan was also a frequent volunteer for the University Homeless Council. In addition, Ryan has personally served his community and state by being a volunteer prison minister since 2003. Ryan has counseled numerous inmates and encouraged them to be better husbands and fathers and to become productive members of society. Ryan even found time to spend a summer in New York City studying acting and has landed work on stage, film, and TV, including among other things a few episodes of All My Children. A self-taught guitarist, he also occasionally performs on GROW Radio, Gainesville’s premier internet-based local radio station.

Ryan is a successful “Renaissance Man” who is bringing recognition, money, and jobs to our area. He embodies the Spirit of Gainesville in so many ways, and would be an excellent recipient of this award, and ambassador for our community. And I’m proud to call him my friend!

Nominated by Alexander Pemba

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