10 things ABOUT: Robert Ford

Photo by Liz Chrisman

Age: 57
Hometown & Years in the River Valley: I was born, raised, and educated in Russellville. In 1987 I moved to St. Louis for a job in the international travel industry and was fortunate to visit 80 countries. I returned to the River Valley in 2001 to be closer to family.
Occupation: Entrepreneur I guess you’d say. My partner and I recently sold Quiznos after 18 very rewarding years. I’m now returning to real estate after a 35-year hiatus.
Family: My parents live here in Russellville. I have one sister in Little Rock, one in Dallas, and a brother in NYC. I have seven brilliant nieces and nephews, and one absolutely perfect great niece!

1) What is your favorite book?

This always surprises people, but it’s The Stand by Stephen King. I read it in college, and it was the first book that made me think about what extreme polarization of a population might look like. It was a horrifying concept. My mind always goes back to that book when I see how divided our nation has become. A pandemic serves as the backdrop to the story, which was also pretty scary to imagine.

2) Dog or cat?

Both actually, but if I had to choose one, definitely dog. I love my “human pack,” and I’m intensely devoted to and protective of my peeps. When I look into a dog’s eyes I see the same.

3) What do you think is the most positive aspect of living in the River Valley?

The slow pace and the natural beauty. I try to soak in every view and savor each vista like it’s a delicious steak.

4) What’s something no one would ever guess about you?

I’m an introvert. I love people and get great joy from engaging with and serving people. But, man… I have to have time alone to recharge. Being onstage terrifies me, but still, I perform in The Nutcracker every two years. The five minutes before each show are agonizing. The time on stage is exhilarating. And the moment I step into the wings is a monumental relief. I guess you could say I’m an introvert determined to occasionally live as an extrovert.

5) What is your favorite music genre and artist?

My favorite genre is classic rock because I’m all about some nostalgia. I have Boston playing in my jeep a lot and you might catch me playing air drums on my dashboard if you pass me on the road. But my all time favorite group is Earth Wind and Fire. They are their own unique genre, and they transport me to the happiest of happy places.

6) What do you nerd out on?

Anything related to Planet of the Apes instantly brings out my inner 13-year-old nerd. I’ve seen every movie, every TV episode, and every cartoon from the franchise. I even have framed Planet of the Apes lobby cards in my bathroom.

7) If you could change one thing about the River Valley, what would it be?

I wish there were more employment opportunities for young adults. There are so many great things about the area, but every year we see bright young graduates move away for better-paying jobs.

8) Where is the one location in the River Valley you would tell a first-time visitor that they must go?

Mt. Nebo. It’s the one place we take every visiting friend every time they visit. The views are wonderful, and it just feels like a different era up there. I always say the temperature and my stress level drop 10 degrees on the drive up.

9) Pizza, tacos, cheeseburger, or fried chicken?

I love literally ALL food categories, but I could eat tacos every day of my life. The way they feel in my hand, the taste, the smell, the sound, the mood they create — perfection! Senior Bob’s Tacos was the first ethnic restaurant I remember from my childhood. I think that’s where it started.

10) What is your favorite quote? Could be from an inspirational person, could be an original.

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.” I wish people would say this each morning before leaving their house.