Employee Spotlight: Joe Romano

At Larson Design Group, we believe that our employees are our greatest asset. In this feature, we profile some of the staff members who contribute to our success.

Joe Romano works as a project manager in the highway engineering department of our Lititz office. Joe studied structural engineering at Drexel University. He says he originally joined LDG because of its employees, and the company’s potential to grow in size and opportunities.

What was your first job? What did you learn from it that still influences the way you work today?
Growing up, like most, I had several different jobs. One of my first jobs was at ToysRus. I was tasked with restocking items and keeping the storage facility organized. I took my job seriously enough for a 16-year-old knucklehead, and I had fun at the same time–like having a football toss in the middle of the aisle with my buddies.

Sometimes when I was stocking shelves, customers would ask me to show them where an item was or how it worked, and I always obliged. One day, one of these customers was a ToysRus “secret shopper”. Without knowing it, I was rated on my general presentation, kindness, knowledge of my job, etc.

The store manager called his regular weekly staff meeting where he said he recently received a secret shopper score. Everyone usually hated this moment because it’s kinda creepy to think you were judged without knowing it. The manager said they graded me, and everyone but me sighed with relief! He was very proud to say that I scored a 99%. I asked why it wasn’t 100% and he said, per the printout, I didn’t smile enough. So, I spend a lot of time making sure I smile throughout the day. I honestly think it makes a difference; everyone likes working with a person who smiles!

What’s been the proudest moment of your career so far?
Easy–every time I see a finished construction project. From a small culvert replacement to a roadway widening/realignment, it’s kind of breathtaking. We really do cool work…well, the contractors do! Our drawings are really neat!

When you see germinating grass on a freshly graded project, it’s a sign of project completion. You can see the sight distance improvements because of a vertical grade modification. You can see the special inlet box required because the utility company gave you a hard time.

What trait do you admire in people and why?
Genuine caring! It cannot be faked. When you work with someone who genuinely cares, you feel appreciated, you feel like you’re being heard and you know they will put the same effort out as you. I have the pleasure of working with folks who care, and I believe that our culture is crafted by this peer-to-peer genuine care.

What advice would you give to people who hope to follow a career path similar to yours?
Plan your career and stay focused. If you let others choose your path, it probably won’t be exactly what you want. Choose where you want to be and where you want to be headed, then execute. If you’re unhappy, let your supervisor know. If you’re happy, let your supervisor know, also! I am saddened when I hear colleagues who do not have positive relationships with their co-workers/supervisors, yet they never tell anyone.

What do you enjoy about working at LDG?
The culture and let’s fly mentality! There is a great balance at LDG of keeping the employees happy and pushing employees to uncomfortable levels for the good of the company. Corporate services are always on the lookout for ways to enhance quality of life for employees. Also, we’re developing a culture of stepping out of our comfort zone to increase LDG’s market share. This combination makes it very exciting to work at LDG.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I am a hemophiliac! And, I always like to add that I married my date to the senior prom!

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