Will Ritter

Will Ritter, co-founder and CEO of Poolhouse

Title: co-founder and chief executive officer of Poolhouse, an advertising agency in Richmond

Born: 1983 in Worcester, Mass.

Education: bachelor’s degrees in political science and communications from Northeastern University in Boston, 2006

Career: janitor, family metal manufacturing business, 1999; snowplow operator, 2000; concert security guard, 2005; stand-up comedian, 2006; intern in the Massachusetts governor’s office, 2006; special assistant, Romney for President ’08, 2007; director of operations and advance, Romney for President ’12, 2011-12; press secretary and communications director for various campaigns, 2012-13; co-founder and CEO of Poolhouse, 2013-present

In which part of the metro area do you live: South Richmond

Best business decision: “Starting an ad agency with Tim O’Toole when people told us to wait 10 years.”

Mistake you learned the most from: “Fireworks. Ones purchased for say ... a presidential victory celebration. Cost more to dispose of without lighting them off than it costs to light them off.”

What is the biggest challenge/opportunity in the next two to five years?: “The biggest opportunity is that causes, campaigns and brands are relying less and less on institutions (media, political parties) and want to take their ideas and budgets straight to the people via advertising. The biggest challenge is that, in an extremely fractured media landscape, informed consumers have a lot of other places to put their attention, sometimes simultaneously, so grabbing that attention and getting them to engage with an idea is harder and harder.”

First job after college: “Stand-up comic.”

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently: “I would have bought every vacant lot in Scott’s Addition in 2013.”

Book/movie that inspired you the most: “The Path to Power,” by Robert A. Caro. “There is no power greater than the human will, or, put differently, there is nothing worse than an industrious jerk.”

Favorite/least favorite subject in school: Favorite: English literature; least favorite: physics.

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