PM Profiles: Meet Lance Roeske

Criterion | Profiles

PM Profiles: Meet Lance Roeske

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Criterion’s program managers play a critical role in helping our Federal government customers meet their mission objectives. Each brings a unique perspective and background to their jobs, a combination of technical expertise and problem-solving capacity that helps Criterion develop and implement creative solutions to the challenges our teams face every day.

Today, we would like to profile Lance Roeske, a program manager for our Department of Energy customer. Lance is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with 12 years of experience as a project/operations manager and network administrator. He specializes in policy and governance and Capital Planning and Investment Control (CPIC) programs. Lance holds a master’s degree in secondary education from State University of New York-Brockport as well as a bachelor’s degree in English from the same institution. He is also a veteran of the US Army Reserves.

What would you consider is your key subject matter expertise?

I have performed a wide array of activities in my 20 years in this career field, which has led to expertise in multiple subject matter areas. But, pressed to choose one, it would be that from which the others originated: pure, sound project management. Having planned and executed projects of all sizes and types and in all different environments, I have a well-developed toolbox from which to pull to help nearly any team environment.

What is an important lesson learned in that area that you apply frequently to add value to your customers?

An important lesson gained from my years in project management is that it is far more beneficial to both personal growth and to the customer to learn how to accomplish every element of the task at hand rather than farming out portions to others. Following this approach promotes respect from one’s team and ownership of the intricate aspects of the project, helping me to make better decisions. As a Program Manager, I regularly mentor team members to make the effort to attack difficult and unfamiliar tasks, rather than asking others on the team to do it for them. Ultimately, they may need assistance, but by attempting it first, they develop confidence and respect from their peers and customers.

Do you have a particular approach to solving problems?

I try to mitigate risks to prevent them from becoming problems in the first place. By applying a risk management mentality to all things, one can generally avoid many potential problems. When this is not possible, my approach is to meet with one or two other subject matter experts who may have analogous experiences that may contribute to resolution options. In the end, we are more likely to effectively resolve the problem.

What drives you? What is the key to your success?

What drives me is people. I have always been driven to coach and mentor others, having been a high school teacher, youth group leader, coach, parent, and manager. Ensuring my teams have what they need to effectively accomplish their jobs and ensuring that they are successful is always my top priority. This appreciation and concern for my teams and customers has been at the root of my success from the very beginning. I sleep better at night knowing that my team is also sleeping well. 

What do you feel is your greatest achievement in your role here at Criterion?

Assisting my predecessor as deputy PM. Having familiarity with the landscape due to being aboard the previous contract, I was able to see that they were successful in their daily activities and able to achieve the goals and objectives of our customer. It was a good feeling knowing that I was able to contribute to their success, thereby contributing to the success of our customer.

What is the craziest job you ever worked?

The craziest job I ever worked was a temp job at a cabbage factory while in college. I was dropped off by a friend and they gave me a hard hat, ear plugs, and protective eye gear, and then told me to stand on the conveyer belt with several others. When the truck dumped the cabbages onto the belt, I was to punch out the center of the cabbages with a spike. It was not long later that first morning when I asked the guy next to me when lunch was. They answered that lunch was when they rang the bell. I answered. “My bell just went off” and I walked out, tossed my protective gear in the bushes, hopped on an outgoing cabbage truck, and rode it into town.

Tell us something about yourself that may surprise your coworkers.

I am a Halloween fanatic. I have put together Halloween events on grand scales and have storage facilities full of props. I have always been a fan of horror movies and all things Halloween!