Features - A Day In The Life
Posted 01 November 2016
March 2014 Intake
Our second Day in Life of this month is Ryan Caudelle MBAIP (London, March 2014) who is a graduate of the University of Georgia. Ryan currently holds the post of the Georgia GOP State Victory Director where he oversaw six field staff operating out of over 20 offices across the state for voter contact efforts. Ryan describes how, "One day I could be recruiting volunteers to make voter calls, and the next I may have a rally for Donald Trump with 15,000 people in attendance where I would manage VIP's, Secret Service requirements and venue staff... On days we had a large event I wouldn't eat until after everything was done at night. And yes, I may have sent an intern or two out to get me food on occasion!" For the inside story on "one of the most well organized and well funded candidates in (US Election Campaign history)", READ ON
How did you get into this line of business?
I kind of fell into this particular role with the then Trump campaign as Deputy State Director. I had just got back to the States from Bangkok and was looking for a job in banking but this popped up and I thought it would fun for a few months. There had been an almost quiet movement in Georgia politics away from the so called Establishment and towards more business minded people. My international experience didn't help me as much with many voters but gave me credibility when talking to donors and elected officials who wanted to know why they should listen to a young man they'd never met before. Working in the financial sector in London on Dodd-Frank regulations and finishing up my dissertation in Bangkok gave me a unique story that helped tremendously when I was networking.
Let's talk about a typical day. What time do you get up?
As late as possible. I was responsible for running our main office so I had to be there at 9am every morning but I would often leave very late at night. During the last few weeks of the campaign I had another staffer open up the office while I started my day from home until traffic died down. That being said I was one of those people with two phones. My self designated 'work' phone was going off constantly with emails and calls and texts. I was often on one phone typing and the other talking to someone else. There were several staff changes and by the end of the election I was the only remaining original staffer in Georgia so if anyone had an issue they would call me.
What work tasks/content would make up a typical day at present?
Day to day is vastly different from one to the next. One day I could be recruiting volunteers to make voter calls, and the next I may have a rally for Donald Trump with 15,000 people in attendance where I would manage VIP's, Secret Service requirements and venue staff. To use a more 'business' term I would best be described as a Special Projects Director. Any given day I could walk into my office and get called in by one of my bosses just to be informed I had less than eight hours to prepare a venue for Newt Gingrich or one of the Trump kids. I would get everything done and make sure all of the stakeholders were happy and then be texted that plans had changed and to call the whole thing off because a natural disaster struck so there were no political events out of respect. The world of campaigning may not be glamorous but it certainly was an exercise in flexibility and being resourceful.
Where do you have your lunch?
Normally my first meal is at 4 pm. I try to go somewhere to sit down outside the office and catch up on emails on my phone or simply leftovers from the night before when we fed volunteers pizza. On days we had a large event I wouldn't eat until after everything was done at night. And yes I may have sent an intern or two out to get me food on occasion!
What time do you normally leave your workplace at the end of the working day?
Since the election is over I have much fewer hours but a normal day was 16 hours from 9 am to 1 am in the office, plus commute time everyday except Sundays when I didn't go in until 1 pm. It was over a year before I had more 48 consecutive hours off.
How often do you travel for work?
After the primary election in Georgia back in March, I moved my office from Atlanta to Tallahassee and then travelled to other states for their State Conventions to assist the local staff with delegate whipping efforts. During the summer I was on the road for about three months straight and afterwards when I finally came home I had forgotten which key went to my apartment!
What are you most proud of in your role to date?
I'm very proud of the fact that I am one of less than 50 people that worked on the Trump campaign from the beginning. I've been cursed at and ridiculed by both Republicans and Democrats for working for Mr Trump, but I can tell you first hand that his reputation for firing incompetent employees is very true. By the tenth day on the job, my newly hired boss and I had already accomplished more tasks than our predecessor in Georgia had done in half the time. Yet we still felt the pressure to continue to do more with less. We had fewer people with fewer resources and still managed to beat 16 primary opponents and in the general election one of the most well organized and well funded candidates in history. I'm proud to be a part of an organization that was able to win the presidency with roughly a tenth of the staff that our opponent had. It wasn't easy especially with the amount of bad press we had to deal with.
What's in store for you in the foreseeable future professionally?
Just about anything as the new President Elect has over 4,000 appointments to fill in across all Federal Government Agencies from NASA to the White House. I've applied for positions within in the administration but there are also more political races here in Georgia. My MBA has actually been an asset rather than a hindrance working in politics and hopefully I can continue doing more with less.