November 17, 2005
John Ross is a freelance outdoor writer/photographer whose work appears regularly in Sporting Classics and Sports Afield. He is the author of a series of outdoor travel books: Sports Afield Guide to North America’s Greatest Fishing Lodge (w/Katie Anders), North America's Greatest Big Game Lodges and Outfitters (w/Jay Cassell), North America's Greatest Bird Hunting Lodges and Preserves, Great Water: Great Fish – the Worldwide Guide to Fly Fishing, and the TU Guide to America's 100 Best Trout Streams, which won the 1999 National Outdoor Book Award. His completely revised the TU Guide was released by Lyons Press early this summer.
A life member of Trout Unlimited, he presently serves as chair of the Virginia Council of Trout Unlimited, which received the Council Excellence award from TU for its efforts in supporting cold water conservation through work with the Virginia Assembly, development of a video on acid rain for community groups and school children, and stream rehabilitation projects.
In real life, he’s principal of RossWrites, a strategic communications consulting group serving colleges, universities and education associations. He writes extensively about higher education and co-authored PR and the Presidency: Strategies and Tactics for Effective Communications (CASE, 200) and The Quotable Graduate (Lyons Press, 2003).
Raised on the Holston River near Knoxville, Tennessee, Ross fished his way through East Tennessee State University (B.S. in journalism minors in geography and geology, 1969) and, as a reporter for the Johnson City Press-Chronicle, won a feature writing award from the Associated Press in Tennessee (1970). He began his higher education career as director of public information at Tusculum College (1970 – 1972), moved to Plymouth State (NH) as director of public relations (1972 – 1976), then to Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa. (1976 – 1984), and on to the University of Miami as director of media relations (1984 – 1987). There the news and information program he developed won the Gold award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
After serving as director of public relations for the University of Cincinnati (1987), Ross began communications consulting as vice president of College Connections, a New York City-based firm in 1988. He became an independent consultant in 1993 when he moved to Winona, Minn. to work on the development of an educational conference center. Returning to the East in 1995, he continued to consult with College Connections and George Dehne Associates before opening RossWrites in the winter of 2003.
Always active in community organizations, Ross led the campaign that has raised about $700,000 to renovate the community center in Upperville and served on the boards of two regional environmental groups: the Goose Creek Association and the Rt. 50 Corridor Coalition ($15 million federal grant for traffic calming).
Ross became actively involved with TU as newsletter editor for the Win-Cress chapter in Winona, Minn., newsletter editor and council delegate for the Rapidan chapter, and 1st vice president and now chair of the Virginia Council.
Married to Katie Anders, an actor and writer, Ross lives in the hamlet of Upperville, Va., about 50 miles due west of Washington, D.C.