Steve Ross was born in Farmington, Missouri in 1972. The child of a family of educators, Steve learned the value of education at a very early age.
He went to grade school in Osceola, Arkansas, just north of Memphis. There, he learned the value of community. Osceola, like many other small towns at the time, was suffering from a diminishing manufacturing and agricultural base due to the recession and the beginning of outsourcing. Yet the citizens of the town came together and persevered. This experience shaped his thinking and helped him realize the power and importance of community.
In 1984 his family moved to a small house in downtown North Little Rock. Steve saw, first hand, the impact of poverty and want on people, and the way that circumstances leave people feeling helpless and hopeless. While living there, Steve interacted with and knew people from all walks of life. Steve believes that “bad neighborhoods” don’t really exist. People can find themselves in “bad” circumstances, but the human spirit can rise above all hardships, if given the opportunity to succeed.
After graduating high school, Steve attended Arkansas State University on music and academic scholarships. His family, though highly educated, lacked the financial resources to provide assistance for his collegiate education. At the end of his second year at ASU his financial aid was cut after the Federal Government reduced Pell Grant funding. Despite taking on jobs and fighting to stay in college, eventually the strain proved too much. In December of 1992 he withdrew and moved back to Little Rock.
Undaunted, Steve created a new vision for himself, partnering with a friend in 1995 to open a retail art gallery – Gallery 26 – in Little Rock. At age 22, he and his partner wrote a business plan and secured a Small Business Association loan to begin their endeavor. Five years later, Steve decided it was time to pursue other opportunities. Gallery 26 will be celebrating its 17th anniversary in February of 2012.
Steve then embarked on a career in event production, a longtime interest of his. This opportunity took him all over the country and the world as a sound engineer, video director, and production coordinator. In 2004 he accepted a position with Nolan’s Audio Visual, a production and equipment rental house located here in Memphis. After one year, he went to work for himself in the freelance market, and continued successfully in event production on his own through 2010, before returning to work again at Nolan’s.
Steve has always had an interest in politics, policy, and how these interact with and impact the lives of regular people. In late 2006 he began writing about his thoughts on the intersection of politics, policy and people at his personal blog. As time passed, Steve’s appreciation of the delicate balance between good policy and political outcomes gained notice. City Councilman Shea Flinn and Mayor Pro-Tem Myron Lowery nominated him to the Metro Charter Commission in October of 2009, though City Councilman Joe Brown who called him “just a blogger” blocked his nomination. Despite this setback, Steve continues to write about state and local issues. His detail-driven posts dig beneath the surface issue into the underlying core often ignored by traditional media.
In late 2009 Steve embarked on two of the most ambitious projects of his life: parenthood and completing his education. He and Ellyn Daniel began dating in 2009. They fell in love and now make a home together along with Ellyn’s beloved 4-year-old daughter Frances, dog Pita, and cat Goose in the Idlewild District of Midtown. Continuing the tradition of his family’s pursuit of higher education, Steve returned to college at the University of Memphis in January of 2010 to complete his degree.
Today Steve continues his work in the event production industry and is engaged in several policy research projects. In addition, he is a Senior Political Science major at the University of Memphis and is scheduled to graduate in Spring of 2013.