Women in WWII: SRP employee Martha Ross

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Shown here in 1952, Martha Ross received her 15-year pin from General Manager Rod McMullin and SRP President Bill Pickrell.

Women in WWII paved the way for women to serve in the military for generations to come. One such woman from SRP’s history is Martha Ross, who came to work for SRP in 1937.

She was the only female from SRP to serve in World War II.

Women in WWII: answering the calls of duty

Initially, Martha Ross was the secretary to Fred C. Henshaw, Secretary of the Salt River Valley Water Users’ Association. It wasn’t long, however, before another duty came calling for Ross.

In 1943, she joined the Women’s Army Corps and was the only woman from SRP to serve in WWII. When the war ended in 1945, she came back to SRP where she stayed for nearly 20 more years.

She served as secretary to the President and General Manager and worked under three SRP presidents during her tenure. In that role, she witnessed several key developments in the company’s history as it adapted to a growing and changing Valley.

Historic accomplishments by SRP women in honor of Women’s History Month

Ross went on to retire in May of 1963, though she remained active in SRP retiree social groups. She made a lasting impression during her two and a half decades with SRP. Her peers respected and admired the leaders she worked closely with.

Ross’ career also highlights the strides women were making in the workplace in the middle of the 20th century, helping to advance opportunities for future generations of women.

There are a few other women in SRP history who made landmark career moves. In 1942, Nina Duncan became SRP’s first newsletter editor and was recognized for her work on the publication out in the community.

Shortly after, Louisa Simmons became the company’s first female electrical engineer. More recently, Sara McCoy was named SRP’s first female plant manager.

A lasting legacy for outstanding employees like Martha Ross

Today, an employee-led group called SRPVETS works to foster a leadership culture for veterans hired at SRP. The group provides networking, leadership, educational and other growth opportunities to its members.

Of course, we’d like to think that Ross would have been a member of this group if she were an employee today.

In any event, if you’re looking for an inclusive employer that supports women and veterans in the workplace, be sure to visit SRP careers.

Jodi

Jodi

Jodi is a Historical Analyst with SRP’s Research Archives. Jodi is a native Phoenician and two-time graduate of ASU, where she earned a Master’s degree in Public History. She researches and writes about the history of water and power in the Valley.

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