Ryan grew up on his family's farm in Scott County, coming from a family that has lived in central Kentucky for over 200 years. Ryan completed three undergraduate majors and two graduate degrees in just four years at the University of Kentucky, graduating in 2006.
In 2008, Harvard University awarded Ryan a full scholarship with the Zuckerman Fellows Program, which enabled him to continue his studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Kennedy School of Government, and Harvard Law School.
In 2009, he graduated from Harvard with a Master’s degree in higher education before moving back to Kentucky to finish his last year of law school. Ryan was elected to the Kentucky General Assembly in 2010, representing Scott, Owen, and Fayette counties.
Ryan served as vice-chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and served on the Agriculture and Small Business Committee, the Tobacco Master Settlement Oversight Committee, and the Banking and Insurance Committee.
In 2015, Ryan was elected Kentucky’s Commissioner of Agriculture. At 34, Commissioner Quarles is currently the youngest statewide elected official in the United States.