After 21 years working for the town, Ryan Cannon named Avon town manager
By Peg McRoy Glover
Ryan Cannon, Avon’s new town manager, is anything but new to the operations of the town. Hired in 1999 to be the assistant to the assistant town manager meant that he did various jobs. He helped research and develop the town’s first website, the town’s main corridor and the parks system.
He moved to Avon in 2003 to be closer to work, and 17 years later he and his family are happily immersed in the community. He, his wife, Colleen and their two daughters are parishioners at St. Susanna’s Catholic Church in Plainfield. Chloe, 14, attends Avon High School, and Paige, 11, attends St. Susanna’s Parochial School.
Cannon is an active volunteer at the school and coaches Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) basketball. He has been a basketball coach for many years because his daughters have played AAU and travel basketball. He coached his girls’ soccer teams when they were younger.
“We love it here,” he said. “We have stayed because we enjoy the many good things this community has to offer.”
Cannon believes his love for the community and his 21-year tenure with the town of Avon were his strongest attributes during the interview process.
“I know the town, council and employees. If someone else takes the position it could take that person six to 12 months to get up to speed.” Cannon said. “I have a diverse background and have done a little bit of everything. I believe this is the foundation that made me a good candidate to be the town manager.”
Throughout the years Cannon has developed good relationships with the leadership in other county towns. As town manager, he would like to strengthen those ties and grow Avon’s influence. Cannon noted that working with surrounding towns to grow strong relationships benefits them all because they can share and learn from each others’ successes.
“Ryan has proven himself to be both a great collaborator and strong leader. He has spent the majority of his professional life serving Avon,” said Nate Thorne, Plainfield assistant town manager. “He is a natural fit and will continue to represent the best of Avon and Hendricks County.”
Appointed as interim town manager after the position became vacant in June when Tom Klein exited the job, Cannon hit the ground running.
One of the first changes Cannon implemented is a staff restructuring in the building and planning departments and creation of two new positions. A planning and building technology position will support the planning and building departments. A communications specialist will handle town-wide communications, ensuring cohesive messaging and branding.
Cannon believes this restructuring makes better use of employees’ talents and strengths and will result in more efficiency. He is also creating an employee succession plan to ensure the town always has someone ready to step into the next role. It also builds in advancement opportunities for employees.
Out in the community, Cannon also has a part in developing two new parks and adding trails and sidewalks.
“Across the board people say they want more connectivity with trails, sidewalks and parks,” Cannon said. “These things make it feel more like a community.”
Will Lacey, Danville director of parks and assistant town manager, has worked with Cannon through the parks and trails meetings.
“Ryan is a good collaborative leader,” Lacey said. “He is always good to share his research and knowledge from what he has learned in Avon to help the group. I believe he will be a great town manager.”
Cannon acknowledges that Avon has challenges, and he is ready to meet those head on.
“We have a retail and residential tax base but not an industrial tax base,” Cannon said. “The council really wants to diversify that. It is what spurred the County Road 100 South and Avon Landing projects.”
Cannon brings years of experience as the director of public works to these projects. The multijurisdictional $18.5 million County Road 100 South road improvement plan includes Avon, Plainfield and Hendricks County. The land north of the road has 400 hundred acres prime for large warehouse distribution buildings.
Avon Landing, located north of County Road 200 North between Dan Jones Road and Ronald Reagan Parkway, is being developed for commercial, small industrial and light manufacturing businesses.
“This creates jobs and helps support and diversify our tax base,” he said.
Avon doesn’t supply utilities so this can pose a problem with development.
“The first thing a developer needs to know is if the area can get water and sewer,” Cannon said. “As town manager, I want to work on this and build stronger, better relationships with these utility companies and municipalities that service Avon.”
Amidst these many projects and accomplishments, Cannon remains humble, modest and self-motivated.
“I am a hard worker. That is my nature,” he said. “I live in Avon, and when I drive around and see some of the things I have accomplished, I feel good. I love what I do. Literally, every morning I get up and am excited to come to work. This job is fun because one never knows what challenges a day might bring. I am so glad the council has given me this opportunity.”
Getting to know Ryan Cannon
What was your childhood career ambition? I always wanted to be a soldier. My dad was in the Navy, and we always watched war movies together. I’ve always respected the bravery of soldiers to protect our freedom and their commitment to the man standing next to them.
What is your biggest non-work achievement? High school tennis city champ. I’m on the wall of fame at Bishop Chatard High School. It’s kind of my claim to fame that no one knows about other than my family, and they make fun of me about it.
What are you currently reading? “Resistance” by Jennifer Nielson. My 14-year-old daughter Chloe has really been into stories revolving around WWII and the Holocaust. The book is about a teenage girl living in Nazi-occupied Poland who joins the Jewish resistance. My daughter liked it so much she insisted I read it.
What is your favorite TV show? “PTI” (Pardon the Interruption on ESPN). I love the relationship between Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon. I love the banter between them regarding their opposing views. I respect that they can disagree with each other and still be really good friends and laugh at each other.
What is your favorite vacation spot? Indian Shores, Tampa. Fla. area. My grandparents used to live in Tampa and used to take me to the beach. The area is beautiful and not as crowded as a lot of other areas.