Ross joins Current staff



FORT MADISON – The  Pen City Current announced on Tuesday that Shawna Ross, a staple in the advertising and marketing of local business, has joined the company’s sales team.


Ross, a former sales and marketing consultant at the Fort Madison Daily Democrat and Bonny Buyer, has joined the company after nine years of working with local businesses.

Lee Vandenberg, Sales Manager at the Current, said Ross’ history and passion for helping her customers will be an immediate asset to the new company started in December.

“Shawna has always had her clients’ best interests at heart and has always said her number one priority was doing what was right for the customer,” Vandenberg said. “It’s that passion that makes this a great partnership. Not just with us but with this community and we’re thrilled to have her on our team.”

Ross’ love for serving the public started in August of 2003 when she began working at the Hill Side Inn as a waitress and then bartender. She stayed there until owners John (Biff) and Beth Rippenkroeger sold the operation in October of 2010. In January 2008 she took a position with the Bonny Buyer when it was housed in West Point and then moved onto the Daily Democrat after a year.

“Lee Vandenberg, then Advertising Director for the Democrat and then publisher, Gary Milks, advanced me into one of two outside sales position within the advertising department where I stayed for seven years,” Ross said.

“The seven years I spent in that position allowed me the honor of servicing the area businesses and getting to know all the amazing people that make up this business community. I never really viewed myself as an Advertising Sales Representative as my title warranted. I viewed, and continue to view, myself as more of a Marketing Service Representative and Consultant, a marketing tool if you will, to all the businesses I service,” Ross said.

Ross said her main career joy is helping area business owners find new avenues to market their business and to help them create new and exciting messages. She said she’s proud that many of her customers consider her a close friend or even extended family.

“It is no secret that the digital and social marketing world is essential to the growth of all businesses. Partnering with Pen City Current was an essential move for me to make. I knew when I left my previous position that I didn’t want to give up the most important, and hands down the most valued, part of what I do; forming and nurturing the bond and relationships with area business owners. In addition to my partnership with Pen City Current I have taken on the favorable task of helping some of the businesses in our area enhance their website and social media presence,” she said.

“I worked with Chuck Vandenberg in my previous position and he felt an overwhelming need to make the print papers and their websites viable. Much to my pleasure and the pleasure of our community, Chuck did not give up on that desire and formed with Lee, the area’s first-ever digital news product.”

Ross said when she first heard about the Vandenberg’s effort she was excited about the potential of the business.

“I knew it would be a fun, fresh, and more importantly, a viable avenue for our area businesses to advertise with. I am beyond excited to be a partner to Pen City Current. Not to mention how honored I feel to be a part of a family-owned and ran news outlet. What is most exciting is being able to witness the astounding growth of the company even in its infancy.”

My husband, Zeke, worked for the Democrat. Starting as the all-lovable newspaper delivery boy and moving onto the press. It was his driving force that helped me make the decision to work in the same industry. For almost four years he has been employed at the Ft. Madison DuPont plant and has held the title of the all-lovable boiler guy for a little more than a year.

I met my husband when I was 8 years old as he stood on the front porch of my childhood home here in Ft. Madison visiting with my sister, Stacie, and a group of their friends. It wasn’t the most pleasant of meetings as he somehow irritated me and I took it upon myself to kick him off my porch. His reaction, well, he called me a few choice names (all innocent). We became good friends about 5 years later and began dating when I was 17. We married in February 2003 after the birth of our daughter, Aniah. We went on to have our son, Cuyrin and I suppose the rest is history.

Shawna and Zeke have two children Aniah and Cuyrin, both teenagers. Ross said.

Aniah shines far beyond her 15+ years and is very involved with extracurricular activities and groups at the High School. Making Freshman Class President this year and being involved in Key Club, Book Club, Large and Individual Speech  Group, Drama Club, Show Choir, Marching Band, and Jazz Band.

Cuyrin, just shy of 13 years of age, is giving his sister a run for her musical talent. He is also a multi-instrument kid, playing the piano, the tuba for Concert Band and sousaphone for Marching Band, the bass guitar for Jazz Band and is more recently learning to play the harmonic and preparing to learn the acoustic guitar. He’s also involved in sports. He is our sporty kid, enjoys hunting with his Dad and his dad’s “Army Buddies” and looks forward to one day taking on the Wally Burger Challenge at the Fort Diner.

“To say I have been blessed with an amazing family is an understatement.  My entire family, extended and immediate, most of whom go unnamed in this article, has really encouraged me to take this necessary step in my career. To me their support means the world.
So, if you’re a business owner looking for fresh and creative ways to market your business and be able to see the results of your advertising or if you just want some tips, give me a call. I enter with a smile, a notebook, a listening ear and ideas to help you grow your business!”

Shawna can be contacted on her cell phone at (319)470.0622 or email her.




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