Meet Lighthouse Public Affairs' Ross Guehring, one of North Bay Business Journal's 2019 Forty Under 40
Ross Guehring, 38, partner in Lighthouse Public Affairs in San Rafael, is one of North Bay Business Journal's Forty Under 40 notable young professionals for 2019.
Responsibilities with your company: I'm a partner at Lighthouse Public Affairs, which is the largest public affairs consultancy in the Bay Area. As part of my role, I manage the operations and growth of our North Bay practice.
On any given day, I am working for various clients on government relations, PR, or community outreach. I do a great deal of work with real estate developers, tech companies, and other entities that face regulatory hurdles.
Essentially, it's my job to create and execute the public affairs game plan that will help our clients get government approval for their projects. I also help companies, schools, and other institutions to tell their stories. Sometimes that involves pitching the media and other times it's effectively communicating with neighbors and the general community.
How do you exemplify the spirit of being a top Forty Under 40 professional?: As a native with deep roots in the North Bay, I feel privileged to work on issues and challenges that help shape our region.
Years with company: 8
Length of time in current position: 3 years
Numbers who report to you: 23
Greatest professional accomplishment: Becoming a Partner at the firm and building a strong client base in the North Bay and beyond.
Greatest professional challenge: Explaining to people what “public affairs” is... But honestly, my greatest challenge is recruiting everyday residents to engage in the political process in order to support real estate development projects. The fact is, we live in a region that's generally resistant to change.
Best advice received: It's from a quote I read: “Make fear a tailwind instead of a headwind.”
Single most important event in your professional life in the last 12 months: It would be achieving a positive vote from a local City Council after 3+ years in the political process. We overcame an entrenched opposition group to an ambitious mixed-use project, which will create millions in tax revenue and hundreds of jobs.
What steps is your company taking to sustain your organization and morale in the current economy?: We are in hyper-growth mode, particularly with a new Sacramento office. We also are well-diversified in a number of different industries.
Next professional goal: To keep working on the largest local projects. And to become as well known as Riley Hurd.
Education: University of Arizona with bachelor's degree in political science; Marin Catholic
Hometown: San Rafael
Community/nonprofit activities: Marin Catholic Board of Regents; Novato Chamber of Commerce - Government Affairs Committee Member; San Rafael Chamber of Commerce - General Member
Mentor/admired businessperson: Sorry, I have three: Rob Muelrath, Brian Sobel, Alex Clemens
What is your most disliked buzzword?: Impactful
Typical day at the office: Much of my day is spent writing. That can be anything from sending a steady flow of client emails, strategy memos, PR materials, and the like. In between all of the writing are conference calls and in-person meetings with clients, community stakeholders, media members, and elected officials.
Best place to work outside of your office: The cafe inside Copperfield's in San Rafael. You can bring your laptop and look out the window to Fourth Street.
Hobbies: I love to golf when I can, exercise, and watch my daughters play sports and dance. The life of a suburban dad.
What you wanted to be when you grew up?: FBI agent
#1 thing you want to accomplish by the time you turn 40: Since I only have about a year left, I'll be practical. I am very focused on winning government approval on some very high profile projects within the next 12 months or so.
First job: Being an unqualified summer camp counselor for kindergartens.
Social media you most use: That would have to be NextDoor in order to help my clients avoid landmines.
Favorite book: “The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway
Favorite movie: "Braveheart" (with "The Big Lebowski" a close second)
Favorite after-work drink: A hazy IPA
Last vacation: Universal Studios for my Harry Potter-obsessed daughter
What does your mom or dad brag most about you?: That I married up and gave them two granddaughters.