A native Clevelander, Ingram grew up on the western edge of the Hough neighborhood, in a public housing complex at the corner of East 55th Street and Hough Avenue.
He attended the now-closed East High School, where he accelerated through its honors program—so much so that he graduated a year early at age 16.
The honors program at East High provided Ingram with opportunities to participate in development-employment programs and internships. It was during one of his internships that he got a taste of the opportunities available to him.
“I interned downtown at IBM and saw African-Americans working there as sales engineers in suits,” Ingram said. After the internship, Ingram said his goal was to learn enough about computers to return to IBM as a full-time employee.
After high school, he enrolled in an associate’s degree program at the Electronics Technology Institute to learn the ins and outs of computers while simultaneously working at a corner store across from NewsChannel 5.
Ingram’s outgoing personality and ability to sell himself, he said, helped him get his foot in the door at the station.
“Employees from the station would stop in and see my me with my bag of electronics,” Ingram said. “One of them told me about an opening in an entry-level job—one that I was fortunate to get the age of 18.”
During his first few years at NewsChannel 5, Ingram never let his foot off the gas—diligently working and soaking up knowledge about production; earning a bachelor’s degree in finance from Cleveland State University; and marrying his sweetheart Angela. (They have two sons, Rod Jr. and Evan, and a daughter, Shelby.)
His degree in finance paid dividends when he volunteered to represent employees at the station in contract negotiations. The negotiations were successful, which gained him respect among his colleagues and valuable experience in management.
Ingram continued to excel in management and audio/visual production, and resumed his formal education by returning to Cleveland State to obtain his MBA in marketing. At Newschannel 5, he achieved high-ranking positions, such as director of station operations and director of business development, through which he oversaw the production of newscasts and TV shows; redesigned business processes; developed multi-station operations models; negotiated partnerships and labor contracts; and developed distinctive web concepts and alternate advertising during a time when the Internet was just gaining popularity in households.
After 17 years at NewsChannel 5, Ingram took a new position when Dennis Kennedy, then executive director of the Ohio Lottery under Gov. Bob Taft, appointed him the lottery’s marketing director.
After Taft’s tenure, Ingram went on to Arrow International Inc.—a gaming solution company—and Gannett Co. Inc. before becoming the newest assistant dean for marketing and admissions at the Weatherhead School of Management in April.
“When I saw the open position in admissions and marketing at Case Western Reserve University, I knew I could use my innovative mindset to advocate for people and show them some of the things I’ve done to apply new solutions to ever-changing marketing and management needs,” Ingram said. “I want to be able to translate who we [the university] are and what we offer and be able to provide real value for business and prospective students.”
Learn more about Ingram in this week’s five questions.
1. If you could do any job in the world for one day, what would it be and why?
This may not be a job, but I would let every inner-city Cleveland kid know they are brilliant and that Case Western Reserve University is a real option for them.
2. What’s your favorite activity to do in Cleveland?
Anything that involves hanging out with my wife and [three] kids. My wife and I like to go out to dinner and Playhouse Square; my daughter and I go out for ice cream at Mitchell’s and ride our bikes; and my sons and I like to hit the links.
3. What’s your biggest pet peeve?
My own obsessive-compulsive disorder—constantly checking lights switches, locks, etc.
4. What is the best class you’ve ever taken—from elementary school through higher education—and what skills or lessons did you learn that you still use today?
The best class I took was “Managing Innovation by the General Manager,” at Cleveland State University while completing by MBA. I learned about disruptive and sustaining innovation and have been using the model I learned in that class ever since.
5. What is your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve?
My son Evan—a senior pre-med student—goes here.