About Stew

Growing Up in Europe

Stew’s passion for travel and history was fueled by growing up in The Netherlands (Holland) and Germany during the 1960s. Multiple trips to London and Paris were the kick-starters to coming down with the history bug. It was also a time to develop an appreciation of fine art (Stew began collecting fine art at the age of sixteen). He has fond memories of spending his summers at international camps located in Switzerland and Denmark where he learned to play soccer and scale the inside of an elevator shaft.

Coming Home

Our family returned to the States just in time to wake up to the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King (ironically, we had moved to Europe shortly after John F. Kennedy’s assassination). Stew finished high school in Akron, Ohio and enrolled in the University of Michigan. While there, he developed an interest in geology and after his first two years in Ann Arbor, Stew moved to Southern California (he had had enough of the snow and ice).

California and Thirty Years Later

Stew finished college with a B.S. in geology from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). While attending CSULB, Stew met his future wife, Sandy. Following their graduation and marriage, they raised their two boys and daughter in north Orange County. Stew did not pursue geology rather opting for a career in commercial banking at Bank of America, Comerica Bank, and several independent banks. Sandy joined Kal Kan (the forerunner to Mars Petcare) in their research and development division after graduating with a B.S. in microbiology. During this period, Stew and Sandy pursued collecting fine art and traveling, centered on the United States.

Post California

By 2006, the Mars family made the decision to exit California and move the U.S. headquarters for Mars Petcare to Nashville, Tennessee. By now, all the children had left home and started their own families. So Stew and Sandy took this opportunity to leave California and they moved to Nashville. Within a year of the move, the Great Recession hit. Four years later, Stew left the banking industry and began to write books as well as continue to run Southeast Business Forums (SEBF), a senior-level networking company he founded in 2007.


After a 38-year career with the Mars family, Sandy retired from her position as chief scientist for the pet care company. Stew was now committed to writing the series of walking tour books as well as other projects through Yooper Publications® LLC. Making the decision not to retire in California, Stew sold SEBF and with Sandy, moved to Southwest Florida where they had purchased a waterfront condo almost six years earlier.

Second Careers – Author and Publisher

Stew was writing his first book, The Mindset of Networking® when he developed the model for the series of walking tour books based on key historical events in Paris, London, and Rome. He started up Yooper Publications® as a vehicle to publish his books. For those of you wondering what “Yooper” represents, it is the term that citizens of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula refer to themselves as—my father was born and grew up in the Upper Peninsula. To answer another common misconception, the logo is the Mackinaw Bridge connecting lower and upper Michigan—it is not the Golden Gate Bridge.

Sandy now handles most of the Yooper business including the technology side of things, the web/blog sites, and advertising. Stew has the easy job: he provides the content. Yooper is supported by a wonderful publishing team with extremely creative people and we would be happy to share them with anyone—just ask.

Sandy and Stew would love to connect with you.

Email us at stew.ross@yooperpublications.com or sandy.ross@yooperpublications.com

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Copyright © 2018 Stew Ross