Ryan Ries was ready to move on. The Sioux City native graduated from Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School in 2004 but elected not to attend college, instead working as a heavy equipment operator, door-to-door salesman and pizza delivery driver, The Press-Citizen reports. Those experiences allowed him to save money, and he grew interested in a career that would allow him pursue a longstanding interest in science. “It was definitely a good learning experience for me,” he said, “but I saw what career opportunities were open to me as someone who was relatively uneducated. I just really desired something that was mentally challenging and that I was passionate about.” So he went back to school — and founded a company. Ries founded Translacare in March 2011 after enrolling in UI’s neurobiology and linguistics programs in fall 2010. The company is developing its first generation of text-to-speech software aimed at adult or elderly users, a population he said is largely ignored in speech-aid technology development.

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