VetsBuild Alumni, Class of 2013
Petty Officer 2nd Class, US Navy Veteran
US Navy Reserves
Occupation: Program Analyst, US Dept. of Veterans Affairs
Romann served two tours, totaling seven years, in the U.S. Navy – one world tour and one West Pacific tour – before entering the U.S. Navy Reserves and serving an additional tour in Kuwait. Having traveled the world at sea, Romann was accustomed to spending limited time with his family. However, during his deployment, Romann’s wife gave birth to their firstborn. Being away for the birth and infancy of his daughter was heartbreaking, but he continued his duties to serve his country.
Upon return to civilian life on Long Island, the transition for Romann - like many veterans - was not as easy as anticipated. Looking to further his career and prepare for the future, Romann enrolled in college. While obtaining his veteran ID card to receive tuition assistance, Romann was introduced to VetsBuild, United Way of Long Island’s program that provides career training for veterans in the green construction industry. Immediately, Romann enrolled in VetsBuild while remaining a full-time student at NYIT.
During VetsBuild, Romann’s support system grew instantaneously. He and his fellow VetsBuild students gathered outside of class time, forming lasting friendships. Romann describes the staff support as expert, “In addition to the instruction, if I needed transportation, they were there to help. Needed a resume? They helped me.”
In 2013, Romann graduated VetsBuild. The occasion was marked not only a milestone for personal achievement, but also marked a new family milestone - his second daughter was born a couple of weeks prior and the VetsBuild graduation marked Romann’s first family outing as a unit of four. Thereafter, Romann entered the construction industry installing residential and commercial solar panels. Capitalizing on the technical skills and networks he created while in VetsBuild, Romann transitioned into a new job as an OSHA safety officer.
Most significantly, Romann notes that VetsBuild helped him gain a job with The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as a federal grounds caretaker. He credits the skills he learned in VetsBuild with giving him the edge on his resume to land the job, in particular his OSHA Certification and ability to read blue prints. Three years later, Romann is still employed at the VA and recently received a large promotion into the role of Program Analyst/Budget, overseeing contracts and overall budgeting for the Long Island National Cemetery.
Today, Romann is flourishing. He lives happily with his wife and two daughters, now ages 5 and 11. He is carving his own career path, and excelling quickly, using the tools learned in VetsBuild.
Romann is the 2019 John Kominicki Memorial Rising Star Scholarship Recipient in recognition of his integrity, perseverance and commitment to advancing his education and leadership skills. This Scholarship recognizes an individual who, like John Kominicki, displays excellence in leadership and a zest for learning.
Editor's update: As of October 2019, Romann was promoted to Administration Officer within the VA and will be relocating to Columbia, South Carolina.
VetsBuild is a signature program of United Way of Long Island's Mission United, dedicated to providing job training in green construction, energy-efficient weatherization for veterans and their families at no charge to the veteran. VetsBuild represents United Way of Long Island’s commitment to addressing the problem of veteran unemployment or underemployment by changing lives and building futures for our local heroes. Upon completion, certifications may be granted, as well as connections to advanced training and educational opportunities.