GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOO)D - Dr. Tom Ryan has accomplished a lot since high school.
Though many may not recognized his name, it's likely that nearly everyone is familiar with at least one of his creations. He is the mastermind behind the McDonald's McGriddle breakfast sandwich and he is the sole creator of the stuffed-crust pizza.
Grand Rapids West Catholic students had the opportunity to hear from the celebrated alum Friday. He was honored by his alma matter for his delicious contributions to business.
"It's just a dream come true and a really humbling experience," he said.
Ryan said West Catholic is where his passion for chemistry was born.
"I can tell you the key to success and the magic in finding that: Listen to your heart. Passion counts a ton," Ryan said.
Ryan turned his passion and education toward food and made a mark.
He shared his story with current students Friday, hoping to inspire them. But while he encouraged students to commit to their passion, he also had a word of warning.
"Don't make any long-term decisions too fast," he said.
Ryan practiced what he preached. At age 47, in the midst of an incredibly successful career with McDonald's, he rolled the dice and left for a dream. He founded Smashburger -- the fastest growing concept restaurant ever.
"We have 240 stores in 32 states and four countries outside the U.S.," he said.
Catching lightning in a bottle more than once in a lifetime isn't easy. Tom Ryan says it's impossible without the final piece of advice he gave students:
"Happiness counts double. So write that one down on a book cover someplace," he said.
A man is in jail, allegedly connected to 14 burglaries that occurred in Cass County this month.
A sheriff's deputy car and a Michigan State Police SUV were among the damaged vehicles.
Broadmoor Avenue has reopened after it was shut down due to a four-vehicle crash in Caledonia.