Neil Patel

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want help with your fundraising or acquisition, just book a call click here.

In the dynamic world of entrepreneurship, few stories are as compelling as that of Ryan Sitton, the visionary founder of Pinnacle. This company has become a game-changer in the reliability systems industry.

In this exclusive interview, Ryan Sitton shares his remarkable journey, from the early days of bootstrapping to the revolutionary strides Pinnacle has taken in transforming industrial reliability.

Join us as we delve into the lessons learned from failures, the nuances of building a thriving company culture, and the unique approach to giving back through employee ownership.

Listen to the full podcast episode and review the transcript here.

Detail page image


The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks

Humble Beginnings and Early Lessons

Ryan Sitton’s roots trace back to Irving, Texas, where he was raised by parents who were not only educators but also instilled in him a love for learning and problem-solving.

Growing up with a modest lifestyle, Sitton’s advantage lay in a household where teaching and hands-on learning were the norm.

Ryan learned to deal with a gamut of tasks ranging from cooking and fixing the water heater to changing the oil in cars. Ryan’s parents prioritized intellect, math, and science, laying the foundation for his future pursuits. He calls it “the languages of smart people.”

They were the first ever in their families to go to college, which was a natural progression that led him to pursue engineering in college, a path influenced by his family’s emphasis on education.

Navigating the Corporate Landscape and Facing Adversity

Entering the corporate world, Ryan gained valuable experience working for major oil and gas companies like Oxy and Marathon. Working in big industrial facilities over three years taught him important lessons.

In 2001, he went to work for the founder of a small consultancy company, Berwanger, Inc.

The company grew to 100 people, and watching the founder, Pat Berwanger, Ryan learned the pros and cons of founding a company. However, it was a pivotal moment in 2005 when he started a new division of that company.

Pat supported Ryan with a couple of employees and gave him the opportunity to start a business wing under his guidance. However, he faced a significant setback – getting fired from a company he had contributed to significantly.

The experience, though initially devastating, became the catalyst for a transformative period of self-reflection and resilience. Inspired by his friend, Randy Merrywin, Ryan updated his resume and started looking for new jobs.

The Birth of Pinnacle and Weathering Challenges

In 2006, armed with resilience and a newfound determination, Ryan embarked on the journey to establish his own consulting company, Pinnacle.

Bootstrapping the venture from the ground up, he faced financial challenges, relying on a $10K minivan fund to sustain the business during its nascent stages.

The early years were marked by sacrifices, with Ryan not taking a paycheck for six months. However, his strategic vision and commitment to excellence laid the groundwork for Pinnacle’s future success. By 2007, the company had hired 10 employees and snagged a bunch of new contracts.

For the initial 8 years, Ryan rolled back revenues back into the company. In a good, profitable year, they would make $3M but leave it standing in the operating accounts to hire talent, develop software, build websites, or purchase marketing materials, thus scaling the company.

See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Or Acquisition Efforts

  • Fundraising or Acquisition Process: get guidance from A to Z.
  • Materials: our team creates epic pitch decks and financial models.
  • Investor and Buyer Access: connect with the right investors or buyers for your business and close them.

Book a Call

The Unique Business Model of Pinnacle

Pinnacle’s specialty in reliability systems emerged as a critical player in the industrial landscape. Its teams gather the original documentation and data about client plants and build models to develop a detailed maintenance or reliability plan.

These plans help them work out the frequency with which they need to inspect the components of the machinery and conduct maintenance and upgrades.

Ryan explains how, over the last 18 to 20 years, the company evolved from basic models to sophisticated algorithms and software programs.

Pinnacle’s teams go into the plant and do all the heavy lifting to set up the systems and have them up and running. They get all the data and set up the engineering so the system can direct them to optimum functioning.

Pinnacle’s core service involved developing reliability plans for complex industrial facilities and revolutionizing the maintenance strategies for large-scale operations.

Ryan could see the gargantuan potential for addressing the reliability challenges faced by major industrial players like big oil and gas, chemical, and mining companies.

He envisioned how Pinnacle could grow to a $100M business if they could work out how to package their solutions and take them to customers.

Resisting the Temptation of External Capital

As Pinnacle gained traction, Ryan found himself fielding numerous offers from private equity firms, strategic buyers, and major industrial companies.

However, a combination of factors, including a lack of desire for a lavish lifestyle and an unwavering confidence in the company’s potential, led Ryan to resist external investment.

This decision proved to be a blessing, allowing Pinnacle to maintain its focus on long-term goals without compromising its vision.

A Dive into Politics and Lessons in Leadership

In 2014, Ryan took a detour from the business world to venture into politics, getting elected as the Texas Railroad Commissioner. This experience exposed him to the intricacies of politics, teaching him the importance of patience, empathy, and a long-term vision.

Ryan recalls being impressed by one of President Barack Obama’s opening speeches, in which he talked about raising taxes and needing the rich to pay their fair share.

Ryan started to think about how, for example, Pinnacle made $1M in profits, of which he paid $400K in taxes and rolled back the remaining $600K to create more jobs.

Interacting with state officials during his stint in politics impressed Ryan with the fact that the world of politics moves slowly. Competing agendas define the landscape, and entrepreneurs can do a better job of serving the population by making the right decisions.

Politics taught Ryan how to understand people he will never see and meet through what’s happening in their landscape. The lessons learned during this period would later impact his approach to leadership upon returning to Pinnacle.

He started to think about the greater good, which, in turn, influenced his decision-making in the company.

Ryan had brought in three external CEOs to run the company during his six-year absence, but essentially, only the core team continued operations. By the time he came back in 2020, the company had only grown by 50%.

Ryan identified areas that had eroded over time, emphasizing the importance of long-term thinking and its impact on organizational sustainability.

As the founder and leader of an organization of 500 people, he could see that his decisions would have a more significant impact five years down the line.

Vision for the Future – Revolutionizing Industrial Reliability

As Ryan explains, every object we use today, from glasses to computers, is manufactured in large industrial complexes. Reliability is the single biggest lever that most of those facilities can pull to compete and succeed.

Pinnacle ensures that supply chains are maintained and assures consumers that their basic needs will not be at risk. Plants and leaders in industrial spaces have the personnel and training systems but only need to partner with Pinnacle to infuse reliability into their operations.

Investing $1 in Pinnacle services assures returns worth $3 in cost savings and profitability. As Ryan envisions, 10 years down the line, the company will possibly be doing $2B to $3B a year in revenue but also delivering $10B to $15B a year in value to its customers.

Ryan sees Pinnacle as the go-to partner for industrial facilities globally, providing a seamless solution to enhance reliability, streamline maintenance strategies, and ultimately contribute to the success of its clients.

The company’s goal is to revolutionize the way businesses use data to make real-time decisions, ensuring a more efficient and reliable future.

Storytelling is everything, which is something that Ryan Sitton was able to master. Being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend Peter Thiel (see it here), where the most critical slides are highlighted.

Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.

Global Presence and Employee Empowerment

With approximately 500 employees worldwide, Pinnacle Reliability operates in every country where it has cultivated strong relationships. The excitement within the team is palpable, driven by a shared vision of making a significant impact on every plant they touch.

Their commitment to growth is evident, projecting a revenue of around $75M in 2024. Pinnacle has invested heavily in a new software application in the last three years.

It’s a cutting-edge advanced reliability modeling system called Newton that the world has never seen before and is beginning to go to market right now.

This software application represents a groundbreaking approach to reliability, setting Pinnacle apart as a leader in the field. The integration of services, technology, and engineering expertise forms a powerful package that contributes to their global success.

By 2025 to 2026, Pinnacle is expected to grow between 20% and 40% in terms of revenues, technology, total services, and solutions.

Ownership and Legacy Building

What truly sets Pinnacle apart is its unique approach to ownership. While the founder and his family own a significant portion of the company, a remarkable 75% is owned by employees.

This sense of ownership isn’t merely symbolic; it’s a strategic move to ensure the company’s legacy is carried forward by those genuinely invested in its success.

Ryan envisions a future where the company is eventually handed over to the next generation of employees. To achieve this, Pinnacle plans to sell the stock to employees at affordable rates, focusing on instilling a sense of stewardship.

This unconventional approach reflects a commitment to fostering a culture where individuals aren’t just employees but dedicated stewards of the company’s legacy.

Advice to the Next Generation

Ryan underscores the importance of building a company around a strong value set. Pinnacle’s core philosophy revolves around making a dollar by making their customers $2, aligning their business goals with creating tangible value.

Furthermore, the emphasis on swift action in dealing with employees who do not align with the company’s vision is a testament to Pinnacle’s commitment to maintaining a cohesive and aligned workforce.

Listen to the full podcast episode to know more, including:


Ryan Sitton’s journey with Pinnacle exemplifies the power of perseverance, strategic vision, and a commitment to long-term goals. From humble beginnings to becoming a trailblazer in industrial reliability, Pinnacle’s story serves as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs.

As Ryan continues to lead the charge, the future holds exciting possibilities for Pinnacle and the industries it serves.

Pinnacle Reliability, a powerhouse in the industrial sector, is carving a distinct path with its unwavering commitment to innovation, global growth, and a unique employee ownership model.

  • Pinnacle Reliability, with 500 employees globally, is making waves in industrial sectors, driving innovation in plant operations, and fostering a culture of positive impact.
  • The introduction of Newton, an advanced reliability modeling system, showcases Pinnacle’s commitment to cutting-edge technology, blending services, technology, and engineering expertise seamlessly.
  • Pinnacle’s revenue projection of around $75 million this year reflects its consistent growth trajectory, underlining its resilience and forward-focused business strategies.
  • The unique ownership model, with 75% of the company owned by employees, sets Pinnacle apart, fostering a culture of stewardship and ensuring a legacy that extends beyond the founder’s family.
  • Pinnacle’s visionary founder plans to sell stock to employees at affordable rates, emphasizing the importance of instilling a sense of ownership and responsibility among the workforce.
  • The company’s core philosophy centers on making a dollar by making customers $2, aligning business goals with creating tangible value in industrial reliability.
  • Pinnacle’s advice to the next generation emphasizes building a company around a strong value set and the importance of swift action in managing employees who do not align with the company’s overarching vision, showcasing a commitment to maintaining a cohesive and aligned workforce.


For a winning deck, see the commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400M (see it here). 

Detail page image


The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks

Remember to unlock for free the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.


Facebook Comments

Neil Patel

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want help with your fundraising or acquisition, just book a call

Book a Call

Swipe Up To Get More Funding!


Want To Raise Millions?

Get the FREE bundle used by over 160,000 entrepreneurs showing you exactly what you need to do to get more funding.

We will address your fundraising challenges, investor appeal, and market opportunities.