SUNY Canton
Rick Patri

A 'Reel' Success Story

Rick Patri '91

Outdoor enthusiast and entrepreneur Richard S. Patri '91 has turned a favorite childhood hobby into a successful career as the Chief Operations Officer of one of the most popular websites in the sport of fishing.

A native of Syracuse, Patri grew up fishing with his family on Oneida Lake, so when he successfully pitched the idea of to investors five years ago, he was on his way to carving out his space in the industry.

The website, which has amassed more than one million Facebook fans and 60,000 Twitter followers, provides the most comprehensive collection of fishing reports in the country, as well as tips and techniques from professional anglers.

Patri's business acumen developed over many years working in sales and marketing for large corporations and startups, but he admits he was unsure of a career path when he graduated from high school.

"The moment I stepped on campus, I immediately had a sense that it was a perfect fit for me."

So when the time came to choose a college, he selected SUNY Canton because he was confident he would receive the tools he needed to begin a successful career. “I knew the quality of education I would receive would be second to none,” he said.

He was impressed by SUNY Canton’s close-knit community and the College’s reputation for providing hands-on instruction. "The moment I stepped on campus, I immediately had a sense that it was a perfect fit for me," he added.

After graduating with an associate degree in Individual Studies, Patri earned a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees from Northeastern University. He then went on to work as a senior executive for companies such as RAND and Oshyn.

During his success at FishHound, he started the digital agency Dustland, whose clients include Volkswagen and Taco Bell. He also created Lucky Tackle Box, a subscription service which introduces fishing gear to more than 20,000 customers.

When asked what advice he would give college students about achieving success, Patri advised to emulate the habits of successful entrepreneurs, and more importantly, not to be afraid to make mistakes. “Every time you make a mistake, it’s an opportunity to learn something,” he said. “Sometimes you have to fail ten times before you succeed.”