Sam Ross: Master of Business Administration, 1973 | Co-owner of HealthPro Brands, Cincinnati
One and Done | A native of Compton, Calif., Ross received his bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Cal-State University in 1970 and headed straight Cincinnati for a career at Procter & Gamble. To this day, P&G remains his only job interview.
Time Management | Ross started graduate school at the University in 1971 and, using evenings, weekends and vacations, completed his M.B.A. in 1973. “Xavier was perfect for me,” he says. “The course work was hard, but extremely fulfilling. When finished, I knew—and so did my superiors—that I was ready for the next level. I became a lifetime fan of the University during that period, and I remain a huge supporter. Perhaps someday I’ll see some of my students graduate from X.”
As Designed | Ross began his P&G career as an assistant art director, then moved through the design ranks, ultimately becoming design manager for the company’s fabric and homecare global division. As such, he was responsible for the look of some of the company’s biggest brands of the day, such as Tide, Ariel and Downy.
Branching Out | After 31 years, Ross left P&G in 2002 and became co-owner of HealthPro Brands, a company that acquires consumer product technologies and trademarks and grows them into viable businesses internationally. Its signature product is Fit fruit and vegetable wash, a product that removes wax, dirt, soil and other residues from these food items. “Right now we are in about 400 stores, online at www.fitwash.com and having a great time growing a business,” Ross says.
From the Heart | One of the projects closest to Ross’ heart is work as a teacher at St. Peter Claver Latin School for Boys in Cincinnati’s inner-city Over-the-Rhine community. The school provides a rigorous course of study and Christian character development aimed helping the young men rise to professional success. Ross began by volunteering 20-plus hours a week at St. Peter Claver, but that recently increased when it started a Boy Scout troop and he became a scoutmaster.
Building a Foundation | “St. Peter Claver is the cornerstone of a plan for the renaissance and renewal of Over-the-Rhine,” Ross says. “We have 22 students in grades K-5. Often, the only folks our students see making money are involved in less-than-acceptable ventures. They see poverty, homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse and inadequate housing. We believe the young boys at the school are the future of the community. It is our vision that the boys we teach today will return someday as leaders.”