CRANE, Ind. –
Naval Surface Center Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) Human Resources (HR) specialist Cyndi Rohloff spent 21 years in the Navy before retiring from the military and returning to life as a civilian. Now, she works at NSWC Crane in the Human Resources Division, Staffing and Classification branch as an embedded HR specialist in a role that supports the Electronic Warfare (EW) Mission Area.
“In the Navy, I was a career counselor…I did it all,” said Rohloff. “We did educational and career development, prepped them for retirement, sent them to school, helped them with retainment if they wanted to stay in, and helped them get to the next duty station. It’s very similar to what I do here.”
Rohloff’s husband worked at NSWC Crane and lived in the area, so after retiring from the Navy she moved the rest of their family to southern Indiana.
“I couldn’t find a position right away, so I worked at the base cafeteria until I was picked up by the Career Learning and Employment Center (CLEC) program that helps veterans with their post-military careers,” said Rohloff.
Rohloff had earned a degree in HR Development while in the Navy, so she applied for a position as an HR liaison with the Contracting department. After working there for a few years, she applied to and accepted a position to support Spectrum Department, where she has worked since 2014.
“It’s been self-motivating and fulfilling. I’m passionate about what I do,” said Rohloff. “Although my position has its challenges, there’s never a day that is routine. I don’t sit back, I deal with all kinds of situations and find a way to a solution,” said Rohloff. “We serve an important role in supporting the Warfighter, and that is to bring in talented personnel! We get people trained and on-board to make sure there is no gap in support and the Warfighter has everything he or she needs.”
Rohloff said her position is considered “out in the field,” making sure that the department she supports gets service immediately. She said the position takes a lot of networking with Administrative Officers (AOs), financial, and security to make sure her customers’ needs are met.
“Before COVID-19, I would walk around and check in with everyone all the time,” said Rohloff. “It’s so nice because I am able to get to know everyone and watch them grow, from new hire to wherever they are now in their career.”
Rohloff said she has watched one particular employee go from an intern to a high grade, and celebrated along with them from newly wed to welcoming children.
“I’m not from here…I’m from Las Vegas, so the people here are my surrogate family.”
Although casual face time is more difficult in the current environment, Rohloff still found ways to connect with her colleagues. This past Christmas, she drove around southern Indiana to drop off presents. Rohloff said generosity is a tradition passed down from her mother.
“That’s something I got from my mother, my love of giving,” said Rohloff. “Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money, but my mom still gave a lot. Even if it is something little, like a candy bar.”
“In the 70s and 80s, when I was growing up, things were not equal,” said Rohloff. “We did the best we could to hide our ethnicity. I wasn’t allowed to learn to speak fluent Spanish in our household. I was born with a different last name, but when my mom married her husband, he adopted us. When employers would call me, they would call my name and then be surprised when I would be the one to stand up. The way people treat you…it’s much better than it was back then.”
Rohloff said celebrating employees’ traditions and backgrounds is important because everyone is different. She said it is nice to see their traditions, how they grew up, and where they grew up. It is also one of the reasons she joined the Navy – to meet new people and go new places.
“I grew up Vegas, and we lived closed to University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). But I didn’t want to do gaming, or food, or work for the union,” said Rohloff. “I worked for Long John Silver for four years in the 80s, delivered newspapers, and babysat…all sorts of jobs. I joined the Navy because I wanted to meet other people with goals.”
Rohloff had two children, building a family while in the Navy.
“We are very blessed,” said Rohloff. “I like Indiana’s four seasons, the easy traffic, and how small Crane is compared to other places I’ve been stationed. But, what I miss the most is the food. When I go to Olive Garden, it just doesn’t compare. If I could ever get back to Naples Italy, I would. “
When Rohloff was in the Navy, she said her career-defining moment was making Navy Chief, or E-7.
“When you get to that stage of your career, it is life changing,” said Rohloff. “It’s a different uniform, more money, and a new type of leadership. Everyone in my mess were my brothers and sisters. I also have a community here that I can still talk to when I need things. The brotherhood still exists.”
As a civilian, her career highlight has been hitting goals for her department each year. She said hiring the right people and making those goals are gratifying.
Rohloff said her success is aided through communication with her customer to find common ground and resolve any issues. She also said being a people-person is important.
“You have to like people, period,” said Rohloff. “If you don’t like people, you don’t want to be in this business. I think everybody should try what they’re interested in before they buy. When there’s detail opportunities, do it. Test drive that car before you buy it, because it might not be the best position for you.”
Rohloff also attributes her success to living the Navy values.
“I live by those key things that I was raised on in the Navy – Honor, Courage and Commitment.”
About NSWC Crane
NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today's Warfighter.
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