When Andy Ross, AssetWorks Regional Appraisal Manager for the Jenkintown, Pennsylvania branch made the shift from professional minor league ice hockey to property valuations, he traded hip checks for data checking and one-point goals for project milestones. It became a winning opportunity.
It will be twenty years ago this December that Andy started life as an AssetWorks field appraiser, ultimately transitioning to his management role in 2015.
It may seem like ice hockey and property valuations stand a world apart, but Andy focuses keenly on the commonalities—one shared point being the amount of travel both involve. Donning ice stakes by the time he was five years old and inspired by his hometown Philadelphia Flyers’ Stanley Cup win, Andy played hockey locally throughout his formative years until he was recruited at the age of 18 by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. After just three years there, he had skated his way into the NHL minor leagues, getting his start in Erie, Pennsylvania and carving a successful career path with hockey franchises across Tennessee, Oklahoma and finally Texas.
It was in Austin, Texas that two Philly high school friends working at AssetWorks called Andy about an opportunity within their property valuation team. One of those friends was Melvin Ngayan, now Director of AssetWorks Appraisal Services — East. The career change turned out to be the right play at the right time for Andy, and soon he was on the road in a new position — valuing properties.
Andy continues to view his business travel with a sense of adventure. “You get to see different parts of the country… unique historic buildings. You’re in the middle of Florida on the beach one day and in the hills of West Virginia the next.”
And his work has allowed him to leverage another skill honed through hockey: his ability to relate to people. “I’m not a salesman type, I’m just good with other people. Playing hockey in the minors those years, we did a lot of community service work. It was how we developed our fan base. We spoke at schools, radio and on TV and that helped me learn to speak publicly and get along well with other people in the professional world.”
Today, Andy leads a team of five young, eager valuation specialists and distributes his time between data reviews, teaching and training, project planning and some field valuations—employing those people skills every day.
After twenty years, he continues to find importance in his team’s work. “As long as there’s bad weather and Mother Nature’s strong arm, people need property appraisers. And there are only a few companies out there that can do what we do.”
When Andy’s not at AssetWorks, he seeks balance through seasonal activities with his wife Kathleen, step-daughter Natalie (25), daughter Alexis (14), son Cameron (13) and youngest daughter Tenley (10). “My wife owns a dance studio, so in the summers, I’m a prop dad. I drive the trailer to competitions and stage the props. In winter, I coach my son’s hockey teams. He’s been playing hockey himself for seven years now.” Andy enjoys the occasional game of golf when he can find the time, and he appreciates the flexibility of working remotely at the family’s Jersey Shore home. He says the kids can take advantage of the beach and Andy gets a recharging change of scenery while he keeps everything moving forward, still hitting those goals with his team.