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Employee Spotlight
The Store

NDVS/SB Administrative Assistant/Store Manager
Coach, Dog Dad, Human Dad Ryan with his wife and four sons. Ryan, Katie, and Michael are seated behind a table. The other 3 sons are standing behind them. Michael has a Mayville State football jersey on the table in front of him. He has just signed a contract to play football there after high school.

Did you know that NDVS/SB has a goalball coach? Did you know that NDVS/SB has a Store? Did you know the same man is behind both of these surprises? Ryan Torgerson serves as the NDVS/SB Golden Guides coach and is the manager of the Store. During program weeks, Ryan works with the different student groups during their recess or phy ed time. In elementary, the students simply learn the rules and enjoy the game. But by middle and high school, the practices are more competitive. And when students from the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired come to Grand Forks for the February tournament, many of the students take it very seriously. 

“It is a joy to have Ryan as a part of our programming through goalball. The students really enjoy Ryan, and I think he enjoys getting to interact more with the students in addition to his regular duties of running the Store,” says Cindy Williams, Coordinator of Student Programming. Ryan does indeed enjoy his time with the students. “I love being the goalball coach. Watching the students improve over the years and the excitement many have when it is time to play gives me a sense of accomplishment. I also like that it provides a change of pace from my daily tasks and gets me out from behind my desk. I look forward to it every program week,” he says. Find out more about Ryan and his work in the Store, on the goalball court, and in his garage, by reading on.

How did you end up at NDVS/SB?
I was looking for a change and saw NDVS/SB was hiring a maintenance position. I was hired in December 2014 and stayed in that department for a little over a year, and then transitioned into the Store Manager/ Administrative Assistant role here at NDVS/SB. I have been in that position since April 2016.

What is your role at NDVS/SB? 
I have a bunch of different roles here at NDVS/SB. I would say the main one would be the Store Manager. I help clients purchase magnifiers, canes, and a large variety of different items for the visually impaired. I am also the goalball coach for our programming students. It is so rewarding to be able to help students learn about the sport and watch as they laugh and enjoy it. I also help the Business Manager with bill pay and travel vouchers.  I am also part of the Loss Control Team and Public Awareness Team. 

What keeps you excited about your job? 
Being able to help our clients get the assistive items they need. It is so rewarding to see the smiles on their faces when they leave with the item they were searching for. I also love getting to work with the students and teaching them about goalball. It is such a fun sport that helps get our students involved and active. 

How do you choose which new products to sell in the Store?
I like to get ideas from teachers and customers for new products. I also ask around to see if anyone has heard of any cool new gadgets. I do quite a bit of searching online, and if there is something inexpensive and interesting, I may buy it and have people test it out to see what they think of it.

What are the most popular items in the Store? 
Our most popular items are probably the Eschenbach hand-held lighted magnifiers. They are simple yet effective for most individuals.

Tell us about your life outside of work. 
I have been married to my wife Katie for 19 years, and we have 4 sons together, Michael (17), Matthew (15), Ryden (14), and Rypton (11). I am sure most of you have met Floki at the school, but if you haven’t, he is our fifth son and is a 2-year-old Labradoodle. My hobbies are working on my cars and my house. I have 5 classic cars of my own. I also like going to car shows around the area. 

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