Wendy Roberman, Management/Budget Analyst for Fire & Rescue, Albemarle County
Where were you born (and raised, if different)?
I was born in Temple, TX, and raised in Jericho (Nassau County), NY. Both of my parents were from Brooklyn, but my father was stationed at Fort Hood and he brought his new bride with him. My mom didn’t like Texas at all, but did like the hyphenated names for girls, which weren’t common in Brooklyn. So she named me Wendy-Jo (which is still what my family calls me).
When and why did you move to the Charlottesville/Albemarle area?
I moved here in 1994 to be part of a new “intentional community” forming in Nelson County, called Deer Rock. Intentional Community is the more PC name for commune, like Twin Oaks in Louisa and Shannon Farm in Nelson. Deer Rock didn’t’ survive past 5 years (it’s really hard to start a whole community!), but I was completely in love with the area (living in Crozet then) and my son, Joseph, was doing well in the Western Albemarle Schools, so we decided to stay.
What neighborhood do you live in now?
I live in Woolen Mills.
Family (spouse, kids, etc.)?
My husband, Ted Millich, and my son, Joseph Roberman.
What is your alma mater and when did you graduate?
I graduated from the University of Maryland in 1976 with a B.A. in Music.
What were you doing before you came to work for the county?
I was a Human Resources Manager with LexisNexis, and when I started with the County in 2000 I was also in Human Resources. I moved to Fire/Rescue in 2007. After 20+ years in HR, it seemed like a good time to try something new.
Your job title is Management/Budget Analyst for the County Fire & Rescue Department – what, in your own words, would you say you do?
As the Management/Budget Analyst for the County Fire/Rescue Department, I oversee the annual budgeting for the department’s operating and capital budgets, working closely with the Chiefs of Administration, Prevention, Training, Operations and Volunteer Services to ensure appropriate funding levels and fiscal oversight throughout the year. In addition, I do research and bench-marking of our peer localities in areas such as expenditures, policies, and staffing. I oversee the EMS Cost Recovery (ambulance billing) program, support the volunteer stations and squads of the Fire and EMS Board, help write grants, and of course, “other duties as assigned.”
What is the best part of your job? The most difficult part?
Knowing that I contribute in some small way to a fire rescue department and system which is made up of amazingly talented people who serve the County citizens with the highest level of care possible every single day. The most difficult part is also what’s interesting and rewarding: nothing stays the same here for too long, challenges are the norm, and everyone seems to operate at warp speed.
How does your job most directly impact the average person?
I provide behind-the-scenes support for the folks who usually engage with the public, such as the firefighter/medics and fire marshals, investigators, and inspectors, who do their jobs with the focus, competence, and resources the public expects.
What is the most interesting project or work experience that you’ve had while with the county?
The most interesting work for me is when we periodically get to lift our heads up from the day-to-day challenges and problem-solving to focus on strategic planning for the whole system. Fortunately, it’s part of our culture to do this both regularly and as-needed.
What is a little-known fact about you?
I owned and operated an apple cider business in Nelson County for two years with a 2000psi hydraulic cider press and an assembly-line bottling machine. When things went wrong, I felt like I was in the episode of I Love Lucy on the candy wrapping line, with cider, bottles and caps flying off into space!
What do you do outside of work hours – hobbies, etc.?
I travel: my favorite places so far are Kenya, Nepal, Israel and Cuba. I Hike: local trails (plug here for Albemarle County Parks & Recreation!) and on the Appalachian Trail, etc. Gardening: currently growing 10 kinds of fruit in our tiny city yard in addition to an annual vegetable garden, and starting to educate myself about and grow native plants. Volunteering: Habitat for Humanity Women Build, Paramount Theater usher, Live Arts set builder, LEAP, McIntire School of Music, etc. And, most importantly, music: it feeds my soul. Currently learning to play drums thanks to a loaned trap drum set from a friend and it’s crazy fun and a great stress relief.