In the fourth and final part of our Faces of Ross Group series, we are excited to introduce you to our Ross Group Development team. This group was created in 2012 in order to diversify product lines following the 2007-2008 financial downturn and to capitalize on Ross Group’s expertise in documenting projects in accordance with Federal requirements. This group has had a profound impact on downtown Tulsa over the years, providing needed office space and apartments.
First up, we’d like to introduce Property Manager Melody Allwine. Melody’s role is a hybrid of property management and asset management, which is essentially looking at a property’s performance and setting goals for that property.
Before coming to Ross Group, Melody worked with her family to manage short-term rentals like Airbnb. A former Ross Group employee reached out through Airbnb to ask Melody if she would be interested in managing an Airbnb for Ross Group. Six months after working with the Airbnb property, Melody began to work in full-time property management for Ross Group. For the next five years, she worked in property management and always had an interest in the development side of things. She sought out opportunities to learn more, which led to her current role.
Melody believes Ross Group’s size and emphasis on historic renovations differentiate the company from other firms in the industry. “From a development perspective, Ross Group is different than other companies because we’re smaller and are able to do more interesting projects because of our size.” Additionally, not all developers are familiar with historic tax credit programs so Ross Group’s ability to use these programs also sets the firm apart. “I believe Tulsa is a better place because of it,” states Melody.
According to Melody the Exchange at Sinclair project is the most interesting project she has worked on to date. “This was my first time being involved with a project from the start. Even just getting to see parts of the development process that I hadn’t seen before, was a new experience.”
Outside of work, Melody likes to spend time with her daughter and fiancé. She enjoys crafting with a purpose, such as creating elaborate decorations. Last year she built eight sleep-over tents and a fashion show runway for her daughter’s birthday.
When asked what i most people might not know about her, Melody revealed that she used to perform in singing competitions all the way to a national level, and she sang on her worship team throughout high school.
Melody says the best advice that she has received is, “Tomorrow is a new day; even in the bad days, tomorrow starts over.”
Next up is Ross Group Development Property Manager Shannon Weatherford. Shannon was introduced to Ross Group when she received a call about a receptionist position from her former coworker and current Ross Group recruiter, Shea Light. Intrigued by the opportunity, Shannon finished her degree in business administration at Northeastern State University and started working at Ross Group. While working in reception, she enjoyed working with Melody, so when the opportunity came to join the Development group the rest was history.
Like Melody, the Exchange at Sinclair project is the most exciting project Shannon has worked on thus far. She says seeing the process from the beginning of demolition through the construction has been fascinating.
Shannon believes Ross Group’s care for work-life balance sets it apart from other companies in the industry. “Work-life balance at Ross Group isn’t just valued, but it’s advocated for.”
Shannon’s hobbies include traveling, spending time with her dog Loki, and working out.
When asked what most people might not know about her, Shannon replied “I went to nursing school for three years. So, I know random medical terminologies.”
Shannon looks forward to the future with Ross Group Development and the opportunity to continue learning. “In my role there’s a new experience every day.”
Our third profile is Rob Allwine, Ross Group Development’s Facilities Manager. Rob joined Ross Group’s team almost three years ago through a third party as a maintenance coordinator. In this role, he focused on maintaining Ross Group properties in excellent condition and keeping tenants happy. Rob says that role helped him develop the skills he needed to move into his current position.
Rob spends his time outside of work occupied with family activities, such as school events and going to the park. He also enjoys playing Dungeons and Dragons with his friends and restoring his Toyota Van.
We end our Ross Group profiles with our very own CEO, Warren Ross.
One thing that Warren believes sets Ross Group Development apart from others in the industry, is their enjoyment in solving difficult problems, such as navigating the complexities that come with historic redevelopment. Products such as the Tulsa Club Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton; the Exchange at Sinclair; International Harvester (Ross Group’s headquarters); and The Midland (Consumer Affairs) are the reward of a job well done.
Warren says the Tulsa Club Hotel was a fun project due to its complexity, and that it is one of the most interesting development ventures he worked on in his career. The building has an incredibly rich history: having survived three fires, the historic tax credit consultants said this was the second worst building they had worked on. The art deco architectural design by Rush Endacott, Rush (architect: Bruce Goff) is the most obvious highlight of the property. The structure was a major component that interested Warren. “It is robust and amazing; the structural steel columns are amazing, I like the bones of a building.”
Looking towards the future, Warren is excited to focus on optimizing Ross Group assets for future market opportunities, stating that, “Our industry is surviving the current interest rate environment.” However, he did express concern about the commercial real estate market in light of long-term changes brought about by the pandemic.
Outside of work, Warren enjoys spending quality time with his family and focusing on fitness. We inquired about what most people might not know about Warren, and he revealed a story from his childhood. At the age of 3 or 4, he ran away from home because he couldn’t go with his sister on the bus to school. Young Warren was discovered several miles away, tangled in a barbed wire fence, playing with his loyal canine companion.
Finally, Warren shared two pieces of advice that have affected him over the years. The first, from Jim McKay, reminds us that “Our greatest hopes and fears are seldom realized.” The second emphasizes the importance of taking ownership and accountability in the workplace. “Not my job doesn’t work here.” - David Thomas, Ross Group’s former CEO (deceased), a best friend, a brother.
This second piece of advice exemplifies the approach the whole Ross Group Development team takes to their jobs. As they develop and renovate historical structures in Tulsa, they are beautifying the community, and bringing hundreds of jobs to the area, and a providing a positive economic impact to the region.
We hope that you have enjoyed getting to meet some of the exceptional people on the Ross Group Teams over the last four months. These are just some of the talented individuals who make up our company and produce outstanding projects for our clients.