Meet Roman Casey!
Roman answered the phone cheerfully when I called for our Staff Spotlight interview. I ask how things were going at Foothills Green and how he’s settling in, having joined our property management team just a few short months ago. After a minute or so of catching up we get into our spotlight questions.
“So where are you from?” I asked.
“I am from Butte, Montana,” he responded, “it’s a pretty small town of about 25,000.”
“Oh wow! What inspired you to move here to Colorado?” I asked.
“I always wanted to get out of the small town. There just wasn’t a lot going on and not a lot of growth. I used to frequently visit my sister who lived here in Colorado. I always loved it here. One day I finally just decided it was time to move on. I put in my two-week notice at my job in Montana and moved out here in my car with no job. It was April 1, 2000.”
“A memorable day it seems for you to remember the exact date!” I said. “How long did it take you to find a job out here?” I asked.
Roman poked fun at the dated method of using the classified section of the paper. “Well, it might be an unknown method to many these days but I read the classifieds,” he said in a marveled, exaggerated tone. “There was a position open for a paralegal in a local law firm that I applied for and was hired. So, luckily for me, I wasn’t unemployed for any extended period of time. I was able to find a job pretty much right away.”
We joked about how now you can apply for jobs in a matter of seconds through various internet job posting services. After a minute or two we got into his career path as a paralegal.
Growth as a Paralegal
“So how long were you in the legal field? Was it just a quick first job to get you settled in or did you stay in that job field for a while?” I asked.
“I was a paralegal until 2018.”
“Oh wow, so you stayed in the field for a number of years. How did that shape you?” I asked.
“Well, firstly, working as a paralegal gave me the exposure to the property management side by means of doing evictions. Obviously, the legal team is very engaged in the evictions proceeding through the court dates and communicating with the sheriff. So I got a lot of connections with different property management entities through that process.”
Roman beat me to the punch on the next question, “I ended up getting a job with Volunteers of America doing leasing and management. It came around the time that the lawyer I was working with closed down his practice so it wasn’t necessarily that I left to work in property management. But it seemed like a timely transition.”
“I was noticing that the legal side was much more cut-and-dry, it was a simple matter of ‘are we getting our money? If not, proceed to eviction.’ There was no taking into consideration anything else, no matter how important it may be to the outcome. Things like job loss or sudden medical debt, family crises didn’t get considered or weighed. I wanted to work in a setting that could consider the resident, or the people you work with.”
It was a really insightful and well-spoken response. It is also one that I commonly hear when speaking with Archway team members. It’s one of the things that attracted me to Archway.
“Have you always had a heart to help others? Or did you just discover it as you were working as a paralegal?” I asked, one of my favorite questions for our team members.
“I’ve always been this way. I’ve done a lot of volunteering in my life as well as selecting jobs that have benefits outside of just the money. I just want to treat others as human beings, to have a caring heart. That was definitely instilled in me from my parents.”
Transitioning from VoA to Archway
“So what made you transition to Archway? It seems like you weren’t with Volunteers of America very long,” I asked.
“I didn’t have a good experience with VoA,” Roman started, “It just seemed like as much as they wanted to have this altruistic mission of helping others, that wasn’t what was happening when you got on the inside and could see how people were treated and how situations were handled. I felt very undervalued as an employee, and I wasn’t alone. That had ripple effects on the quality of work many people were producing.”
Roman briefly explains the quick and seamless process of finding work with Archway. It seemed like the type of organization that he wanted to be a part of. But he didn’t understand how much he would feel welcomed and at home until he started working with us.
“I love working with Archway,” he says. “I have never worked with an organization that cares so much about its employees. And what we are able to accomplish is amazing. We have a mission with a similar heart to the mission of VoA, but we are best in practice. We are actually able to do it, it’s not just lip service.”
And the sentiment is shared by residents at Foothills Green. Just after this phone call with Roman, a resident emailed into Archway to share lengthy feedback about how great Roman and Mike, maintenance tech, have been for the community at Foothills Green. She stated that ‘he is a very patient, kind and a great listener. He thoroughly hears one’s concerns and addresses appropriately in a very timely manner. He has done an amazing job putting in work orders to really make a difference on our property in many aspects and it truly shows.’ Of Mike, that he ‘has a way of expressing his hard work in a way that shows he is invested in resident needs and wants everyone to remain happy here. He’s firm and many respect his giddiness, professionalism, and attentiveness with requests and concerns. He truly loves what he does, and it shows.’
A Jack of All Trades
I asked Roman what he likes to do in his free time, how he gets away from work and enjoys his time off. What I then learned is that he is the man of a thousand certifications.
“Well, I’m a big volleyball player; I’m a certified volleyball referee; I have a boot camp instruction certification; I have a Pilates certification; I’ve got my bartending license.”
“Wow!” I said, “What inspired you to get all these certifications? Do you have a bucket list of being certified in everything?” I said, chuckling.
“You know, they’re just things that come up that I’d like to do and that I enjoy. It just so happens that they come with certifications.”
And his motivation to always put his best foot forward and give his best work shows in these areas, as well. He explained to me how much he enjoyed teaching boot camps, that he had the highest attended boot camp at the Arvada Y they had ever seen. He had waitlists to get into his classes.
“Why did you stop?” I asked.
“My body wasn’t too happy with me after a while. I was doing that in addition to playing and reffing volleyball multiple nights a week over in Aurora. I just needed to take a break somewhere and then COVID hit.”
“Have you always been into volleyball?” I asked.
“Oh yeah, I played a lot in Montana in bar leagues. I actually wasn’t doing any reffing when I first moved out here. A friend got me onto a team with Volleyball of the Rockies in Aurora, and soon I was playing quite a bit. When I was sidelined with an injury, they asked me if I’d like to ref since I was already there.”
“So by the end of it, I was working my full-time job, bartending for 20 hours a week, teaching boot camp for 8 hours a week, and reffing and playing volleyball. It was a lot.”
“No kidding! Why were you bartending at the time, was it just to make some extra money on the side?” I asked.
“Actually, I initially got the job bartending as a volunteer,” he said. “I was at the VFW, or Veterans of Foreign War. I really liked being around the guys. They were really good people and it was a way for me to just give my time and my help to them.”
One Day at a Time
I asked him about his mottos or codes to live by.
He pondered for a moment and said, “To me each day is a new adventure, or at least that’s how I try to see it. Every day that I wake up I’m just thinking about that day, taking it one day at a time, excited about what can unfold.”
We talked about many people that we see that don’t seem to be happy or enjoy each day. Maybe because of what they do or circumstances they’ve found themselves in.
“I get it,” Roman said. “I used to be one of those guys. I didn’t enjoy what I did and it just made it hard to be excited about each day. Archway has really changed me. My roommates notice it too.” He lives with his brother and nephew. “They see how happy I am and how pleasant it is to be around me. And I can feel it, too. I’m excited to drive to work. I’m excited about what each day could bring, not dreading it. Not drowning in monotony.”