Biography

About Scott

Lynn Ourth graduated from Graceland College, situated in Lamoni, Iowa, in 1953 and headed to the University of Missouri to embark upon his doctoral studies. Soon after his arrival in Columbia, he was introduced to Ellen Armstrong, an intelligent and attractive nursing student from Taylorville, Illinois. They were married in 1957 and on February 7, 1959, Ellen gave birth to their first child, a boy they named Scott. Stephanie would be born in April of the following year, with Susan to join them in February of 1966.

Scott with sister, Stephanie, in 1964.

Scott with sister, Stephanie, in 1964.

Dr. Ourth was hired as an associate professor by West Virginia University in 1962, and Scott attended elementary school in Morgantown, West Virginia. The family moved again in the summer of 1970, this time to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Scott attended junior high and high school in Chattanooga, graduating from Hixson High School as vice-president of his class in 1977. After spending childhood summers with his grandparents – paternal on their Mississippi River farm, maternal in the coal fields of central Illinois – Scott returned to his Iowa roots as a freshman at Graceland College. His generation represents the third of his family to study on the Graceland campus. Scott framed houses and worked as a lifeguard to pay his way through school. He graduated as a Dean’s List honoree and student body president in 1981.

Someone from Scott’s family has been present at Graceland since 1924. Scott at Graceland in 1980.

Someone from Scott’s family has been present at Graceland since 1924. Scott at Graceland in 1980.

After college Scott worked on the line in an automotive production plant while taking graduate courses at Central Michigan University. In 1986, Ourth moved to Washington, DC, where he worked for several years as a congressional press secretary and policy analyst. He was soon invited to serve as senior advisor to a number of national congressional and gubernatorial candidates. After gaining valuable experience on Capitol Hill and the national campaign trail, Scott went back to work in construction, this time as a heavy equipment operator and maintenance specialist. He recalls his years building highways, bridges, and airports as among the most informative and rewarding of his life. During this time, he gained valuable insight into the struggles, hardships, and values of working families.

In 1997, Scott returned to Iowa to work as an advisor to several elected officials in a number of capacities. A long-time advocate for persons with disabilities, Scott went back to Michigan from 2001 to 2004 to help expand and improve supports and services for persons living with disabilities. It was there he met his wife, Heather. They married in 2002, and Scott brought his bride back to her native Iowa.

Scott and Heather Ourth fishing for King Salmon on Lake Michigan

Scott and Heather Ourth fishing for King Salmon on Lake Michigan

Ourth spent 2005 and 2006 as assistant secretary of state for operations for the State of Iowa. His primary responsibility was to foster partnerships with county officials throughout Iowa, making certain all 1,788 federal polling places were accessible to persons with disabilities. Today, every person in Iowa living with a disability, including blindness and hearing impairments, can cast their vote independently with their privacy preserved.

Scott served as Warren County public affairs director from 2007 until 2011. He has written over $1 million in successful grants for the county. His work has resulted in community improvements such as the geothermal retrofit at the Annett Nature Center and the one hundred-foot, 20 kilowatt wind turbine that now powers that entire facility. He secured $100,000 to underwrite the renovation of the old People’s Bank building on the Indianola Square. This wonderfully restored building is now the Warren County Courthouse Annex.

Scott is currently heading up a three-year, multi-phase effort to pave the pedestrian walking areas at the Warren County fairgrounds, financed entirely by grants and contributions. Upon completion, this project will allow every Warren County resident to easily access and move about the fairgrounds. He worked with the DNR and the Iowa legislature to secure $750,000 to rebuild four cabins at Ahquabi State Park, originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corp. Scott and his multiple community partners have many other innovative improvement projects in the works.

Scott Ourth above tree-line, preparing to summit Katahdin, the highest peak in Maine and the first place in the United States touched by the sun each morning.

Scott Ourth above tree-line, preparing to summit Katahdin, the highest peak in Maine and the first place in the United States touched by the sun each morning.

Scott is a past vice-president of the Disability Rights Iowa Board of Directors (formerly known as Iowa Protection & Advocacy Services, Inc.), which is the only disability advocacy agency mandated by Congress. He served on the Graceland University Alumni Board of Directors from 2003 until 2011, and is the recipient of the American Cancer Society Distinguished Service Award and the American Heart Association Director’s Award. He has served on the Warren County Leadership Institute Board of Directors, and is a member of the Indianola Noon Lion’s Club. Scott has served as the Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator for Warren County. Scott currently owns and operates a professional writing and communications company.

In 2002, Ourth hiked the 2,300 mile Appalachian Trail – nonstop – to benefit children with developmental disabilities. He twice swam an eleven-mile section of Lake Huron – again nonstop – to benefit the American Cancer Society.

Scott Ourth lives in Ackworth, Iowa, with his wife, Dr. Heather Ourth, and their son Logan, a eighth-grader at Indianola Middle School. He is an active member of the Community of Christ church, and is an accomplished outdoorsman. Scott enjoys reading history, studying the natural sciences, extended canoe, hiking, and camping excursions. He is a published author.

Scott Ourth at home on the Iowa prairie.

Scott Ourth at home on the Iowa prairie.