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Industry Folks - Luke Roach,Willmeng Construction

image Luke Roach, Superintendent, Willmeng Construction, San Antonio, TX

SAN ANTONIO - After 10 years in the Army, three tours in Iraq and a Purple Heart, Luke Roach has made the difficult transition to civilian life much easier by finding his purpose in construction.






    The Georgia native ended his Army career in 2012 in Corpus Christi as a recruiter. But since his primary military occupational specialty was in the artillery, Roach separated because he would eventually have been sent back into the fray, “and I would have ended up in Afghanistan,” he said. He “decided I had deployed enough.”
    He went to work for a concrete firm in New Braunfels. During this time, Roach attended a software training session in Austin. Sitting next to him was a field representative for Phoenix, AZ-based Willmeng Construction.
    A friendship was struck up, and the Willmeng rep gave Roach some invaluable career advice.
    It’s now November 2017. Willmeng had a charter school project in San Antonio and they asked Roach if he wanted to help run it. Even though he was working in Houston for Hurricane Harvey relief, Roach accepted and started for them in December.
    Roach can’t speak highly enough of how being involved with construction has helped him transition to civilian life, which has been hard.
    After treatment as a Wounded Warrior at Ft. Sam Houston, Roach was put on nine different medications daily to help with his PTSD. The VA wasn’t being of much help to him, so Roach decided to wean himself off the meds and immerse himself in construction, which he finds very similar to the military.
    For instance, construction has definable goals and objects, like lay the foundation today. The Army does as well. Construction usually starts early in the morning and involves teamwork like your fellow soldiers in a platoon. Construction often times takes place in harsh environments, similar to being on a deployment. Construction has structure and definable hierarchies, like a military unit.
    Roach would love it if more veterans could get involved in the construction business to help them with their own military-to-civilian transitions. “If we were to get more veterans in the [construction] field, that would reduce a lot of our issues.”
    Roach is now the superintendent for Willmeng’s charter school project, with more to come here in San Antonio. His long-term goal would be to stay in Military City and be a part of Willmeng’s expansion here.
    Then, he wants to be in charge of all San Antonio operations, training a new crop of superintendents.
    As of now, being geographically separated from the home office in Phoenix hasn’t been a problem at all, as Roach has all the resources he needs readily available.
    The Army’s favorite expression is, “Hooah,” which is used in almost any context. When asked what exactly does “Hooah” mean, one soldier said it means, “Anything but no.”
    What a great attitude to have when it comes to construction.
    At ease. -dsz

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Author Info
Dan Zulli dan@constructionnews.net