Pro­duc­tion mogul

Af­ter grow­ing Ross Video from a fam­ily firm into a global gi­ant, David Ross has earned CEO of the Year hon­ours

Ottawa Business Journal - - FRONT PAGE - BY PETER KOVESSY pkovessy@obj.ca

Three years ago, when Ross Video pur­chased a Florida-based sports pro­duc­tion firm, CEO David Ross made a bold pre­dic­tion.

“We’re just get­ting started,” he told OBJ in 2013.

It was an am­bi­tious out­look for a 39-year-old fam­ily busi­ness that had al­ready snapped up seven other com­pa­nies in four years.

But true to his word, Mr. Ross was just warm­ing up.

The com­pany, which de­signs and man­u­fac­tures equip­ment for live events and video pro­duc­tions, sub­se­quently con­tin­ued its ac­qui­si­tion streak, played a cen­tral role in the pro­duc­tion of some of the most-watched live broad­casts on the planet such as the Su­per Bowl and even won an Emmy.

Along the way, Ross Video hired dozens of new staff mem­bers, grow­ing its head­count to some 640 em­ploy­ees, and main­tained an av­er­age growth rate of 18 per cent. Its rev­enues are now ap­proach­ing the $200-mil­lion mark.

In hon­our of his busi­ness achieve­ments and com­mu­nity in­volve­ment, Mr. Ross has been named the Ot­tawa Busi­ness Jour­nal Ot­tawa Cham­ber of Com­merce 2016 CEO of the Year and will be hon­oured at the Best Ot­tawa Busi­ness Awards (BOBs) gala at the Westin Ot­tawa on Thurs­day, Nov. 10.

“It’s not easy in tech­nol­ogy to have a com­pany sur­vive as an in­de­pen­dent busi­ness for 42 years,” said Mr. Ross, who was named the firm’s chief ex­ec­u­tive in 2006. “The ac­com­plish­ments of Ross Video wouldn’t have hap­pened with­out a fan­tas­tic se­nior man­age­ment team over many years, the en­tire man­age­ment team that kept the wheels on as we con­tin­u­ally evolved and grew, and em­ploy­ees get­ting the work done and con­tin­u­ally go­ing above and be­yond.”

The CEO of the Year award is a joint ini­tia­tive of the Ot­tawa Busi­ness Jour­nal and the Ot­tawa Cham­ber of Com­merce. Past re­cip­i­ents in­clude Ot­tawa Sports and En­ter­tain­ment Group CEO Bernie Ashe, Minto’s Roger Green­berg, Halo­gen Soft­ware’s Paul Loucks and Ron Zam­bonini of Cog­nos.

“We are thrilled to rec­og­nize and hon­our David Ross for his vi­sion, pas­sion and lead­er­ship,” said Ian Faris, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Ot­tawa Cham­ber of Com­merce. “He has el­e­vated Ross Video to new heights, not only ex­pand­ing across the globe but also revo­lu­tion­iz­ing the in­dus­try with new in­ven­tions and in­no­va­tions. He’s a re­mark­able global am­bas­sador for Ot­tawa.”

“Ross Video is one of those re­mark­ably suc­cess­ful com­pa­nies in Ot­tawa that some­how are not a house­hold name in the busi­ness com­mu­nity,” OBJ pub­lisher Michael Cur­ran said. “Be­lieve me, they should be. And this award should help to bring them even more into the spot­light.”

Mr. Ross started to dab­ble in pro­gram­ming in the early days of per­sonal com­put­ers in 1975 at the age of nine. While in high school, he won three na­tional en­gi­neer­ing com­pe­ti­tions in­volv­ing real-time pro­gram­ming and com­puter graph­ics.

He worked at Ross Video dur­ing univer­sity while com­plet­ing his com­puter en­gi­neer­ing de­gree and even­tu­ally joined the firm full-time in 1991.

Stay­ing cur­rent with the rapidly evolv­ing tele­vi­sion and broad­cast in­dus­try has been one of the keys to the com­pany’s suc­cess.

NEW BUSI­NESS MOD­ELS

“We’ve seen tran­si­tions from ana­log TV, to dig­i­tal, to HD, and now 4K and other new tech­nolo­gies,” Mr. Ross said. “Re­lated to that, we’ve also had to add com­pletely new types of ex­per­tise and busi­ness mod­els like ro­bot­ics, web, cloud, ser­vices, con­sult­ing and even be­com­ing a pro­ducer of TV shows.

“In tech­nol­ogy it’s of­ten grow or die, and keep­ing the pace up has been a big chal­lenge.”

Out­side the of­fice, Ross Video sup­ports several char­i­ties and food banks, in­clud­ing rais­ing more than $100,000 for the United Way.

Mr. Ross also sits on the board of In­vest Ot­tawa, where he helps to pro­mote the na­tion’s cap­i­tal as a busi­ness des­ti­na­tion.

“The ecosys­tem of firms from con­sul­tants, bank­ing, le­gal, ac­count­ing, and sup­ply chain makes Ot­tawa hard to beat,” he said.

The BOBs will also cel­e­brate the city’s top busi­ness per­form­ers in more than a half-dozen cat­e­gories and rec­og­nize the Life­time Achieve­ment Award re­cip­i­ent.

“It’s not easy in tech­nol­ogy to have a com­pany sur­vive as an in­de­pen­dent busi­ness for 42 years … In tech­nol­ogy it’s of­ten grow or die, and keep­ing the pace up has

been a big chal­lenge.”

— ROSS VIDEO CEO DAVID ROSS, THE OT­TAWA BUSI­NESS JOUR­NAL OT­TAWA CHAM­BER OF COM­MERCE CEO OF THE YEAR

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