By Jamie Salen The Pineapple Staff Writer
“I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.” – George Burns (1896 – 1996)
When it comes to looking to the future of Delray Beach, business owner and community activist Ryan Boylston has his glare set. Since purchasing a home in Delray Beach with his wife and young son in 2009, Boylston has helped establish a successful community newspaper, The Delray Beach Pineapple, open his own branding and design firm, FuturisticWoo, and landed himself as the youngest member on the board of the Downtown Development Authority, the newly established Vision Committee of Delray Beach and on the Pineapple Grove Arts District Board, where he serves as Vice President.
“Once you have identified a need, why sta”nd around and talk about it. Make it happen.” – Ryan Boylston
While many of the community leaders that have been featured in this column over the past year have been active members of the Delray Beach community for decades, it the short time since 30-year-old Boylston arrived on the scene he has accomplished more than most. “He is the type of guy who see’s something that could be improved and he just does it,” says Stephanie Immelman, Delray Beach resident and Destination Marketing Manager for the city’s Marketing Cooperative (DBMC). Since establishing FuturisticWoo in 2010, the boutique-branding firm has become one of the most sought after creative agencies in Palm Beach County and frequently offers it’s services free of charge to causes Boylston believes will improve the community. One such pro-bono project was the rebranding of Atlantic Community High School and the corresponding uniform design for the school’s football team. The daring and unique futuristic design garnered national attention for the school, receiving more online impressions than the top school in the nation – by more than double. What may have appeared as an unconventional and bizarre design, was in fact, a brilliant plan to brand the school as innovative, using nothing but a football uniform. The well thought out plan attracted the attention needed to bring funding to the school’s program. The plan worked and the mission was accomplished.
The school uniforms are a perfect example of the Boylston this community has come to know and respect. He is not afraid to take a gamble if the win is worth it for Delray Beach. It was one month from the day Pineapple Grove Arts District ‘Godfather’ and longtime resident Gene Fisher, introduced Boylston to Editor and Publisher Jeffrey Diaz, that the first issue of The Pineapple hit newsstands. What has become a must-read for locals and tourists alike, was just another solution to a need Boylston has helped fill. “It’s all about solutions. Once you have identified a need, why stand around and talk about it. Make it happen,” says Boylston. Another contribution Boylston and FuturisticWoo has made to the community was the donation of a new logo for the Delray Vocational School, following their name change to Tomorrow’s Promise Community School. “I actually went and experienced being a student for a day. It was pretty amazing to see how much pride these kids have in their school and it was important to me that the logo (created by FuturisticWoo’s Creative Director, Joe Benson) be about them as much the school,” explains Boylston. As a board member of the Downtown Development Authority, he takes an active role in shaping the strategy for downtown improvements. While some boards in the city are more apt to accept the status quo, Boylston fights everyday to make sure tax dollars and staff efforts are spent creating a better Delray Beach, and consistently puts the importance of healthy discourse above popularity.
Since joining the Pineapple Grove Arts District he has been an outspoken proponent of improvements for Artist Alley and other development efforts. His dedication to the community and fearless pursuit of a better future made him the perfect candidate for the newly formed Vision Committee of Delray Beach. Selected as one of twenty representatives, Boylston is tasked with creating a cohesive vision of Delray Beach for the future. For the past 20 years, Delray Beach has grown and changed shape. While many of the community’s most prominent citizens have worked tirelessly to create what we are today, it can be hard for some looking back to paint a realistic and hopeful picture of the future. With only the tomorrow in front of him, Boylston envisions the downtown as the heart of Delray Beach and he sees a rare opportunity to grow into a ‘mini-metro.’ “Like a true metropolitan area – we should be self sustainable,” asserts Boylston. “We need a balanced increase in business, retail and residential density.” For Boylston this doesn’t just mean clothing and jewelry for tourists, this means furniture, and household goods and grocery stores. He sees walk ability and ride ability, and efficient public transit. “Now is the time. We have the tools, both physical and intellectually, and I believe we can build on what we have.” There is no doubt that in the short time that Boylston has been a part of this community, he has made an indelible impact. For those looking to the future, it is not hard to picture him in every frame. As a young business leader he dared to start his own company in a time of economic strife and he never looked back. Boylston has put that same effort into the community he believes in, and we who live here are so much luckier for it.