Before taking command of the Studies Weekly ship, Ed was heavily entrenched in sales as a door to door salesman. Studies Weekly began as a project with its first operations in his garage in the late 90s.
Now, two decades later and fueled by Diet Coke and immense passion, Ed has grown his garage project into a successful multimillion dollar company (and we work in a building now, please don’t worry about us).
When I first stepped into Ed’s office, he asked me why I think his office is the biggest one. In my head, I thought, “Because you’re the most important person here?” but I knew Ed wouldn’t say that. He laughed a little and said, “They give it to the person with the most room for improvement.” Because that’s the kind of guy Ed is. Humility is his trademark and every step of the way there is always something that can be done better, and there is always, always room for a higher, loftier goal.
From Humble Beginnings to Company CEO
Ed started out as a door to door salesman in college and realized after he graduated that his part-time summer sales job was far outpacing his full-time job. So he graduated, quit his full-time job, and was a professional door-to-door salesman for over a decade. There was no way he could have known 20 years later that he would be a company CEO of his own making, running a million dollar education empire, and that he would have such an immense passion for aiding in children’s learning.
From a tiny garage to a beautiful building at the base of the Rocky Mountains, Studies Weekly has undergone changes more than just in size, although our physical growth is impressive. Studies Weekly began as a print product in just Utah and Texas. It has grown to be officially adopted by 7 states, and 1 in 7 students in the U.S. use Studies Weekly every day.
Our publications are not just in print anymore, either. Millions of students across the country at many types of schools are using the Studies Weekly online component. In addition to the online learning tool, we have nearly 4,000 original videos on virtually every imaginable topic.
A Friendly and Passionate Heart
As Ed and I talked about where he wants to go with his company and about the things that he most wants his team members to learn, it struck me profoundly how much he cares. That may be just the quality that is most impressive about Ed Rickers. It would be difficult to find someone who cares a fraction as much about their company as he does.
And it’s not just about the job for him. It’s not only about career growth. If you happen to cross paths with Ed during the work day, expect him to spend some real time with you. One thing he loves about what he does here is spending time with people around the company. He likes to hear about what they’re doing, how they feel, and what’s going on in their lives. In a company of over 100 people, making each one feel noticed is no easy feat. But he pulls it off.
I love having the opportunity to make a meaningful difference for so many kids. When you can make a product and publish it, and see millions of kids benefitting from it, that’s really satisfying.
Ed Rickers, President and CEO
Ed’s advice to anyone interested in a career at Studies Weekly (and why wouldn’t you be?) is to get to know the product. Go out into the warehouse and talk to the people working there. Read the product. Ask the graphic designers and illustrators what they’re working on. Go and watch some of the videos that our robust video department has created. Ed encourages all of his team members to do this, to ultimately “be a product of the product.”
Ed Rickers’s father-in-law, Paul Thompson, published the first Studies Weekly publication in 1984. Thompson produced the first issue after realizing there was no adequate textbook available to teach his fourth grade class. With the same will and determination that Ed has now, he set up Studies Weekly as a family business. As company CEO, Ed expanded Studies Weekly to Florida, Arizona, and gradually began building other state-specific publications.
Find out what your real purpose is and do it. Everyone’s purpose is different. People find meaning and purpose in lots of different ways. However you do it, do it. Whatever your meaning is, your purpose in life, just follow it. Put it into action and operationalize it. For me, it’s all about making a difference through education.
In case you wondered, Ed’s ambition is not restricted to the United States. He’s not the type to ground himself in his too-large office waiting to improve. Oh, no. Ed dreams of an international product provided at low- or no-cost to developing countries all over the world. And nobody here doubts that he can do it. Ed Rickers makes it clear: with a big heart, bright mind, and a lifelong passion, there is no end to what you can do.