Get to Know a Cabinet Member: Dave Ross

Gov. Scott Walker’s weekly e-update includes a segment called “Get to Know a Cabinet Member” that highlights a cabinet secretary and provides a brief overview of the department he or she oversees. The Governor’s goal in presenting this information is to provide the public with practical information about state government operations, especially as we head into the next budget cycle.

Dave Ross – Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS)

Born and raised in Superior, Dave grew up in a small business family and was self-employed for over 20 years in an upholstery business. He served for two terms as Mayor of Superior and was also involved in a number of local economic development boards and Great Lakes initiatives.

The Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) is a small agency with just under 300 dedicated employees and an annual budget of about $66 million–but it has a large footprint. Among its responsibilities are the processing of thousands of applications for professional licenses and providing administrative support and legal services for dozens of professional Boards and Councils. In addition, DSPS provides services related to the construction and operation of buildings and ensures compliance with health and safety codes through plan review, consultation, inspections, and product evaluation. They also run a program that cleans up leaking underground petroleum tanks.

Dave and his team have been great at finding ways to reduce the burden on taxpayers while improving customer service and maintaining public safety. By merging two divisions, DSPS was able to save $1.3 million in staff and management costs. The merger also saved taxpayers approximately $27,000 per month in lease costs alone.

Dave was married in 1973 to his wife, Lynn, and together they have four daughters and 14 grandchildren.