Jun 27

Rob Morris was the North Carolina editor for The Virginian-Pilot for 12 years. Before that, he held a variety of editing and writing posts at the Pilot in the Hampton Roads area for 15 years and played a role in numerous award-winning projects and breaking news stories. He was a reporter and writer with The Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette and the Daily Press in Newport News, Va.

During his career, he has led coverage of major hurricanes, blizzards and a riot at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, an investigation of police brutality and a scandal in the Virginia Beach mayor’s office. He helped cover a historic United Mine Workers strike in the late 1970s and followed then-Gov. Jay Rockefeller during his second campaign for governor of West Virginia.

Some of his more memorable interviews included Ted Kennedy, Loretta Lynn, Jack Palance, Sen. Sam Ervin, TV comedian Jimmy “JJ” Walker and a rock musician or two. But the most rewarding ones were with real people on news beats and as a roving state reporter in West Virginia and later Virginia. He started in the newspaper business as a clerk in the Washington Bureau of The New York Times.

Rob lives in Nags Head with his wife, Patty.

Russ Lay grew up in a career Navy family, spending most of his youth and early adulthood in Hampton Roads.

He majored in political science (B.A.) and International Studies (M.A,) at Old Dominion University, with sub-concentrations in History and Economics. After college and a short stint interning with Rep. G. William Whitehurst, R, Virginia 2nd District, he entered a career in banking. He was with First Virginia Bank from 1980 to 1983. After a nine-year stint in Atlanta with Georgia Federal Bank, he came to Dare County and opened BB&T’s first local office as a city executive and commercial lender in 1992.

Stints with First South Bank (regional executive) and Georgia Federal followed, interspersed with an Internet project job for the former Insider’s Guide.

In 2008 after saying good-bye to banking, Russ began studying to become a fully licensed mortgage broker while teaching political science and international studies a College of The Albemarle. He is completing graduate-level economic courses at East Carolina University.

Russ is active in politics and civic groups. In addition to a deep personal connection to the area, he brings significant background in the political and economic history of the Outer Banks. He served on the Virginia Beach Republican Party City Committee for five years and was president of the College Republicans at Old Dominion. Locally, he is a member and former president of First Flight Rotary Club and serves on the Citizens Advisory Committee and the Fireman’s Relief Fund for the Town of Nags Head, the steering committee of Wings Over Water and the Legislative Affairs Committee of the Outer Banks Homebuilders Association. He is a member of the Dare County Shrine Club and Manteo Masonic Lodge 521, where he served as Master in 2008, as well as the Nags Head Surf Fishing Club and the N.C. Beach Buggy Association.

Russ edited several local blogs before launching his own solo effort (Russ’s Outer Banks Journal) in 2008.

His wife of 25 years, Rose, is a partner and CPA in the firm of Burgess, Lowman & Lay, P.A. in Kitty Hawk. They live in Nags Head with two cats and sooner-or-later, some new canine members. They enjoy the beach, surf fishing, bird watching and travel. Russ is also a fan of good wines and cigars, political journals, music, electronic gadgets, shortwave radio, South Park, and The Onion Internet site.