Principal, director of landscape architecture, EnSite
Jonathan Romine knew he wanted to be an architect since he was 6 years old.
Romine grew up in rural northeast Indiana, but he traveled to Chicago when he was a little boy and visited the Sears Tower, the tallest building in the country. “I was one day going to design and build one,” he decided then. “I was always fascinated with Legos and big buildings.”
Romine still likes tall buildings, but an architecture-school professor persuaded him to consider landscape architecture.
In 2004, armed with a degree in landscape architecture, Romine accepted a job at Johnson Engineering in Fort Myers. “I bought a house at the peak of the market and got stuck here,” he chuckles.
By 2009, Romine had formed his own firm and joined EnSite, a firm that had started four years earlier. “It was not a good time to be in our industry,” he acknowledges.
But while the recession proved painfully slow, Romine says that gave him time to volunteer by mentoring at-risk youth. “It was a great time to relaunch the business because it gave us an opportunity to do things differently,” Romine says. “It’s probably the most rewarding thing that I do.”
The volunteering has paid off in additional work for EnSite. “It’s amazing how many people want to hire people with a commitment rather than price,” Romine says.
Romine counsels entrepreneurs who don’t have big marketing budgets to get involved in charitable work. “The best thing you can do is not spend money, it’s to spend time,” Romine says. “It turns into work.”
— Jean Gruss
Name: Jonathan Romine
City of residence: Cape Coral
Twitter handle: @rominejl
Title: Principal, director of landscape architecture
Birthplace: Goshen, Ind.
Years on the Gulf Coast: 11 ½
Marital status/children: Married to beautiful wife Megan, father to Ava
Alma mater: Ball State University #chirpchirp
Best place to network: Community organizations
Coolest business experience: Receiving the business partner of the year and Education Commissioner’s business recognition award in 2012 for our commitment to public education.
The most important business lesson I’ve learned: You are the company you keep so surround yourself with positive people.
One website that makes your job easier: LiquidPlanner.com
One community group you’re most involved with: So many, but The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools is at the top.
Favorite off-hours activity: Travel and family, friends time
Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: My 101-year-old grandmother who passed away earlier this year and Frederick Law Olmsted.
What you would be doing if you could pick another career: I am not certain I would pick another career. I wanted to be an architect from the time I was six years old during a visit to Chicago and touring the Sears Tower. While I am a landscape architect instead of an architect, the realm of opportunities this career has created keep the energy high and continues to be fun.
Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done: Traveled to Abu Dhabi for a business trip five weeks after my daughter was born. It was a culture shock.
What’s at the top of your bucket list: Four-to-six week family vacation in Europe without an itinerary except a round of golf on the Old Course at St. Andrews.
What new skill would you like to learn: As a self-proclaimed DYIer, I would like to learn finish carpentry skills.
Who would play you in a movie about your life: Jake Gyllenhaal
If I had a magic wand I’d: Pay K-12 educators the money they deserve and take the politics out of public education.