Richard Ross grew up in Maumee, Ohio. Throughout his childhood, his mother knew that he would grow up to be an architect.
After graduating from Maumee High School, Ross enrolled at Owens Community College to pursue his dream of becoming an architect.
"I could always tell there was a difference between Owens and other colleges. It was a challenging environment and I learned a lot," said Ross. "Owens had a 97 percent job placement rate and I had a job as soon as I graduated."
Ross began his career with the firm Finkbeiner, Pettis and Stout as a draftsperson.
After a year, he moved on to Owens Illinois. Eventually, he was promoted to Associate Engineer. At the same time, he began attending The University of Toledo and building his first home.
He loved what he was doing. After six years at OI, he was ready to strike out on his own and decided to take a risk. He quit his job and began investing in the real estate market.
He bought several houses and a few parcels of land. In a short time, he owned 85 rental properties near The University of Toledo and rented primarily to students. His next business decision would bring him back to the place he started.
"I saw there was really a need and opportunity at Owens for a student housing community. I knew enrollment was growing and there were many students who traveled from more than an hour away," said Ross.
In 2007, Ross opened Owens Lake Commons, a student-centered community near Owens Community College. The property, located off Tracy Road, currently has housing for 327 students.
"I feel like everything came together in such a perfect way. When I began building Owens Lake Commons, I was working with my past professors from Owens, with the students and with the administration. It just seems like it was meant to be," said Ross.
Ross has always felt that it is important to give back to the community. In addition to his work supporting Owens, Ross is active in his church and participates in missionary outreach.