Jenkins MBA student selected for Triangle Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” Leadership Award

Photo of Ryan Draughn and daughter Taylor at an NC State basketball gameMay 5, 2008 - Ryan Draughn, a student in the MBA Program at the NC State College of Management’s Jenkins Graduate School of Management, has been named a Triangle Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Leadership Award recipient for 2008. 

The award honors Triangle-area business people under 40 who play major leadership roles in their organization, have attained significant career achievements, and are heavily involved in community service.

As a student in the Jenkins MBA Part-Time Program, Draughn takes evening courses several nights per week while working full time as the IT director for Lee County Government, a position he has held since 2005.

At Lee County, he has supervised the launch of a new Voice-over-IP (VoIP) system for 225 employees, led the redesign of the county’s website and content management system, and saved the county around $7,000 per year by using Google’s free video service to share county board meetings.  Before taking the role of IT director, he held technical positions at Lee County and at Lockheed Martin.

Draughn hopes to eventually serve in a role such as CIO or CEO for “an organization in which the rewards are widely felt by common citizens or consumers,” he said, and that goal motivated him to seek an MBA. 

He said he chose the Jenkins MBA Program because he attended an information session on campus “and fell in love with the ideals and philosophy” of the program. He is leaning toward the MBA concentration in entrepreneurship and technology commercialization (ETC).  “I am extremely driven in process innovation, and the ETC concentration can help me implement more of the ideas I have for process improvements in a variety of industries,” he said.

“Even though I’m just completing my first year, I’m already applying coursework to my current job, which is rewarding,” Draughn said.  His previous education includes an undergraduate degree in business with a minor in management information systems, a master of science in industrial technology and many technical certifications. 

“Unlike my previous degree programs, the actual program and knowledge gathered is my motivation in the MBA program, versus the actual degree. This program has far exceeded my expectations, and I look forward to the days that classes are held,” he said.

In addition to the time Draughn devotes to his work for Lee County, his MBA coursework and his family, he has found time to stay involved in the community, one reason for his earning the 40 Under 40 Award. 

For a number of years, Draughn has volunteered for the Enrichment Center of Lee County, which raises funds to help senior citizens who need assistance in emergency situations. He also speaks to local civic groups and is a member of the Sanford Rosemont/McIver Historical Association. Draughn and his wife Laurie have two daughters, Haley and Taylor.

Draughn received the award at the 40 Under 40 Leadership Awards gala on Friday, May 2.  The gala is one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the year within the Triangle business community, and has taken place annually since 2001.

The following NC State College of Management alumni were also among this year's 40 Under 40 honorees:

  • James Kelly (’93, B.A., business management), chief financial officer for Kelly MarCom, Sanford, N.C., and county commissioner in Lee County
  • Raj Narayan (’98, M.S.M), associate director, Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science, NC State University
  • Troy Roberts (’95, B.S., business management), chief operations officer, Alliance of Professionals & Consultants, Inc., Raleigh


- story by Matthew Bruchon, communications intern