It’s hard to imagine having a conversation with Greg Romberg and not hear his uplifting laugh. Even when discussing the most serious of subjects, he can find a morsel of humor (or is that irony) in just about everything. But then, Greg has spent most of his adult life working with the state legislature; he better be able to laugh.
Greg is a lobbyist and President of Romberg and Associates that has represented for over 30 years, corporations, trade associations and governmental entities at every level of government. That’s a nice way of saying that he repeatedly gets to know the ever changing population at the State House along with individuals in countless businesses and works to get good ideas implemented and bad ideas set aside.
He has some other accomplishments worth mentioning, including serving as the vice president of the Jefferson Group, a governmental relations firm; he was the founding executive director of Mayor Webb’s Office of Regulatory Reform, acting as liaison to the business community and formed a program that, in just two years, streamlined Denver’s development process. As director of the Colorado Office of Regulatory Reform, he provided comprehensive business startup information to more than 100,000 entrepreneurs.
Greg also filled the post of legislative liaison for the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies and budget director for the Colorado Department of Health. When asked about specifics, he shrugs, clearly not impressed with this impressive list of accomplishments.
Greg sits up a bit straighter and a light comes into his eyes when he starts to talk about his volunteer history. Both Chair and member of the Bergen (Elementary Schools) Leadership Council, Vice Chair of the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board, Board of Trustees of Denver Options, member and Vice President of the Evergreen High School Foundation and Leadership Council, he wasn’t done yet, Chairing Great Outdoors Colorado committees and serving as Board Trustee of Historic Denver. In a nutshell: Greg cares and is willing to put his efforts where they are most needed.
Yet, he still rests back against his chair and lays a relaxed arm on the table. The conversation turns to his family and he gets a really charming grin on his face. “My great grandfather on my dad’s side had a cigar factory in New York…, my father studied animal husbandry at Colorado State University…, my grandparents invented the snap buttons on western shirts and in 1926 drove a Roadster across the country to Colorado.”
Asked where he attended school, he didn’t answer as most would, he answered sincerely, “Eugene Elementary in Denver.” By 1966 Greg’s family had made Steamboat home. “There were 1,800 people then and only two hotels that stayed open year-round.” His political career, of sorts, started when his mother suggested that he make a pot-holder (the kind made from cloth rings stretched across a small metal frame) as a gift to Anne Love, wife of Governor John Love. “Years later she moved in across the street from my parents.”
Politics “was not really part of (Greg’s) household growing up. My dad was on the school Board, but not when I was still there.” But Greg is involved in politics at all levels; that all familiar laugh was heard again as he recalled, “…holding up signs, standing on the corner down by El Rancho with Joan Fitzgerald.” Politics sends you to odd places.
In fact, Greg “was going to be a math teacher and a coach, but my Political Science teacher was really great, so I ended up changing my major.”
Greg worked in state government for ten years. “I was 23 years old and I ended up staffing Wellington Webb around town. He had let his license expire and didn’t want that coming up in his campaign. I drove him all over the state.” Greg was well aware at the time how much he was learning, simply by being near Webb. “When he gave a speech, my job was to watch the reaction to his speeches from the crowd.”
He had been juggling working in Denver while living in Steamboat and when he and his wife, Laurie were expecting their first child, they began to look for a home in Denver. “At the time, the [Denver] teachers were disgruntled. So I went out on my own, which meant driving over Rabbit Ears Pass in the winter one or two times a week. Greg worked on a huge land development program. “It’s a funny thing about Colorado – everyone wants to be the last one in.” When he realized that both his parents and Laurie were catching flack due to his work, “I knew that I couldn’t put my parents and family in controversy. Two years of commuting was just too much.”
The Rombergs packed up and moved to Evergreen. “We felt like we were pretending that we were still living in the mountains. Evergreen was the perfect compromise. We live in the mountains but can easily commute to the city. You see people that you know and that makes it a small town.”
With regular exposure, Greg was offered different career opportunities but, “I didn’t want to be an employee.” Romberg and Associates has excelled. “I’m lucky, I have really great clients.”
Greg and his family are also lucky in that he and Laurie and their three girls all love to travel, which they’ve done together often. As for the future, “I’m content with whatever comes.” That was when he offered his biggest and most sincere smile.