MBA from AU helps longtime employee of Ohio business move into its chief operating officer job
C. Troy Ross gives Ashland University a lot of credit for his recent promotion to chief operating officer at Stow-based ACRT Services.
“I was lacking in some of the higher-level business strategic thinking and training,” said Ross, who has been with the company for 24 years. “The MBA at Ashland was integral in providing me with that training.”
ACRT Services offers expert independent consulting solutions to utilities and associated organizations throughout the United States, including vegetation management consulting, arborist training and utility metering services, according to its manager of marketing and communications.
Before Ross earned his Master of Business Administration in 2020 from AU, he did a lot of research to make sure he chose the MBA program that would help him the best. He considered costs, locations and timelines.
Living in Mansfield, he liked that Ashland was close if he wanted to take any in-person classes and knew several grads who spoke highly of their experience at AU.
The flexible online format was appealing, too. “The main deciding factor was the timeline,” said Ross, who specialized in project management. “Ashland offers the accelerated program, and I was willing to do more work over a shorter period of
Ross never regretted his decision. He said his instructors were all very knowledgeable and good to work with and interacting with other students across the country was enjoyable.
He said he already has used what he learned from AU many times since he graduated, has recommended the experience to a pair of co-workers and has added the knowledge he gained to his “servant” leadership style.
“My leadership style is a tapestry of my life experiences,” said Ross, whose background is in forestry. “It has been forged and molded by the experiences I have had, the people I have met and the training that I have received. I definitely think AU helped me add more structure to my leadership style and added a
project management mindset to it.”
When Ross joined ACRT in 1999, he moved from Ohio to Tennessee for an entry-level utility vegetation management job, according to a news release from the company.
As time went on, Ross continued to grow with the company – earning positions as a lead forester and operations manager to director of operations and president of ACRT, the release added.
Ross said he has enjoyed working at ACRT for more than two decades because of its people and its purpose. And he’s grateful for AU helping him improve his leadership role within it.
“ACRT Services is an employee-owned company,” he said. “We are made up of many diverse individuals that are coming together for a common purpose. Our work has meaning. We work with utilities to make sure that our communities have safe and reliable service. Every day is different.”
Jacob Moss, assistant director of AU’s MBA program, said AU loves celebrating the successes of its students like Ross. “Our program is designed to invite students from all academic backgrounds to go deeper into the world
of business,” Moss said. “Our curriculum acknowledges the time constraints of working professionals, parents and full-time students and ensures the academic requirements and professional networking experiences complement the personal and professional aspirations of our students.”