When Ryan Phelan and John Caldwell joined their email agencies to create RPE Origin in 2020, they pooled decades of email experience and a shared focus on helping enterprise companies achieve success in email.
Now, after four years of swift growth, RPE Origin has taken the next step in its evolutionary process as Ryan takes the Chief Executive Officer chair.
Ryan succeeds industry legend John Caldwell, who will become Executive Chairman. It’s a transition that has its roots back when the two struck up a friendship at industry events and then worked together on email projects over the next two decades..
John launched his Red Pill email agency in 2004, while Ryan founded Origin Email after building a career that combined in-the-trenches email experience with strategic marketing development and professional services management.
Moving into the CEO slot has been a smooth process, Ryan reports.
“There are two types of CEOs in a transition like this,” he said. “One is the founder who knows he has taken his company as far as it can go. The other is the one who hangs on too long and gets in the way of growth. John is definitely the former.
“John is one of the most brilliant people I know,” he said. “It has been my pleasure to work with him, to have the benefit of his unique perspective, and to continue to draw on his vision: to build a company where people enjoy work, respect their colleagues, and serve great clients.”
A company culture that serves the team of 27-plus employees and partners along with clients is one of RPE Origin’s strengths and something that will not change under his leadership, Ryan said.
”We hire smart people and then we don’t micromanage them,” Ryan said. “We don’t dictate hours. Our people get the work done. We have fought for our employees to be respected by peers and clients alike. We’ve created a tightly knit group of people who respect each other and rise above the usual office politics.”
That company culture is one of the drivers behind RPE Origin’s quick success. “I’m the new CEO, but I am backed by the smartest, kindest, and most dedicated people in our industry,” Ryan said. “I could not do my job without these team members. They do an exemplary job for me, our team, and our clients.”
Although the leadership at the very top has changed, Ryan said, RPE Origin’s focus remains the same: “We will grow and evolve while continuing to focus on our skill set, which is serving enterprise companies that rely on email for their success. That’s our strength.
“We don’t just ‘do’ email as a bolt-on service the way it is in other agencies. We know email, and our clients come to rely on us for that expertise and understanding.”
Having a deep bench of team support also positions RPE Origin well to help clients succeed even as the email world changes. “Email continues to present opportunities as well as challenges for our enterprise clients,” Phelan said. “I’m looking forward to working with our RPE Origin team to help our clients continue to drive more success with their email marketing programs.”
As Executive Chairman, Caldwell will step back somewhat from his agency duties to devote more time to Alan’s Artisan Soaps, a business he founded with his son, Alan, to sell small-batch soaps using only 100% natural ingredients. The company also provides jobs for people with special needs to give them work experience and help them live meaningful and productive lives.
But, in moving on, John is confident that the agency he and Ryan formed is in good hands and ready to meet future challenges.
“I have known Ryan professionally and personally for years,” John said. “Ryan’s appointment formalizes the process we began when we joined our agencies together, and I am excited to see the next step in the evolution of RPE Origin and our shared goal to serve the email marketing needs of our enterprise clients.”