Meet Berwyn’s Entrepreneurs: Michael Ridge of Oppenheimer & Co. Inc.

Welcome to Meet Berwyn’s Entrepreneurs! Berwyn has become a hot spot for urban professionals, entrepreneurs and creatively minded individuals. From musicians to crafters, small business owners to dedicated team members, Berwyn is home to a remarkable group of movers and shakers who keep our community vibrant. This segment gives us a chance to get to know what makes our local leaders tick! Enjoy!

Meet Michael Ridge of Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. (500 W Madison Ste 4000, Chicago), est Jan 2006
Hometown: Burlington, Iowa
Current Residence (Town): Berwyn
All About Michael: I was born and raised in Burlington, Iowa which is located on the Mississippi River. Burlington was like a Norman Rockwell painting, beautiful and serene. Next up in my journey was the University of Iowa where I graduated with a Double Major in Broadcast Journalism and History. After graduation, I entered the U.S. Army, where I was a member of the 1st Infantry Division. My unit participated in Operation Desert Storm and soon after returning from Iraq, I was discharged from the military, bringing me to my next leg in my journey—Chicago. Chicago was always the place I wanted to move to as a kid. 25 years later, I am still here writing about it…which brings me    to Berwyn. Berwyn has been home for 15 years and I have embraced this community, serving on several boards and volunteering when the opportunity presents itself. In my free time, I enjoy BBQ, golf and working out. Friends and family are an important part of my DNA.

The Business Side: I have 24 years of experience in the Financial Services Industry helping families and businesses navigate the challenging financial and investment environment. My passion for this business started back when I was in the military, where I befriended a young financial representative who was working with members of the military. At that point I knew this was a profession that I could make a career out of and where I would have an opportunity to make a positive impact in people’s lives.

Describe yourself using 3 words.

Compassionate: Whether it is my personal life or professional life, I care about the welfare of people that I become connected with. If the situation warrants, I attempt to bring a positive outcome to their lives. This is a trait I learned from my father.

Humble: This trait was developed over many years. Whether it be the stock market taking a dive on a particular day or life in general I have learned things don’t always go your way and to appreciate the little things in life.

Focused: When I put my mind to a project or something I am passionate about, I am driven to finish that item that I am working on. This trait was developed thru my love of golf in, which you spend 4 to 5 hours challenging yourself to stay in the moment and take one shot at a time.

What inspires you? 

Individuals who are committed to helping others. I am amazed by the number of people who devote their lives to a cause they believe in. The selfless devotion that these people exhibit inspires me. Examples of this locally are the PAV YMCA and Youth Crossroads. Both organizations have amazing staff and volunteers who make a commitment to better the lives of people that they touch.

Tell us something that people might not know about you.

I am a big romance comedy buff.  By the end of these sappy movies I usually need a few tissues. 🙂 My favorites include When Harry met Sally and anything with Meg Ryan in it.

What are you not good at?

That is an easy one. Anything artistic. I believe I received a D in Art class in High School.

What is your fondest memory?

Returning from Desert Storm and seeing my Mom and Dad for the first time, knowing I was back home. I get teary eyed just thinking about it.

What is your greatest fear?

Failure is my greatest fear. I do not like the thought of not making something work. This is my hidden motivation that drives me every day.

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