Our editor Richard Fidler celebrates the retirement of the man who ‘shaped the Sheffield media scene’

The man who shaped the Sheffield media scene, and also this writer’s career, has announced his retirement.

Martin Ross is a familiar name and face to many business people across the city region but he will be enjoying a well-earned rest from the hurly burly of commerce to enjoy spending more quality time with his wife Val, children and grand-children.

In an age of constant communication via social media and messaging apps, not to mention how we discover news and information on the internet it is hard to imagine what the world was like when Martin stepped away from journalism to form one of the city’s leading public relations agencies in 1997.

Out of a shoe box sized office in The Workstation above the Showroom Cinema, Hurndall Ross Media began setting the agenda for how businesses communicated with the media and their customers.

Alongside business partner and fellow former journalist Alison Hurndall, Martin very quickly built a firm which was well connected and respected across the region.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and there have been no shortage of imitators over the years, although none have done it quite like Martin and HRM.

Hurndall Ross Media became HR Media Ltd in the late 1990s and with that name it flourished working with seemingly every business or organisation in Sheffield. The likes of Westfield Health were clients for two decades.

And others such as B Braun Medical and Sheffield City Trust are approaching a similar milestone.

I first walked through its doors in the summer of 1998 on a 10-week work placement from university and while it would be incorrect to say I never left – there have been long spells away running my own firm and being a journalist at The Star – it would be true that the early years I spent with Martin and Alison shaped my career.

With Alison’s retirement in 2010 Martin continued as managing director until 2019 when I took over as chief executive alongside my colleague Allie Dransfield to run the business. Martin has remained as an invaluable consultant to HRM PR | Creative throughout 2020.

Martin has been incredibly successful with HRM. But aside from the business lessons the biggest takeaway I have from working with him is his sheer sense of decency.

Trust is very important in the PR industry and I can say with hand on heart that I’d trust Martin with any problem or issue I may have (there have been several of mine to test this theory, believe me!).

I’ll end with a genuine thank you to Martin, not only from me but on behalf of everyone he has had a positive impact on.

Enjoy the next chapter which should be slightly less stressful, you deserve it!

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