Ronald Stroman '74 was appointed the 20th deputy postmaster general of the United States, the second highest-ranking position at the USPS.
It’s been nearly 40 years since Ronald Stroman ’74 decided to switch majors.
The alumnus originally began his college career pursuing a psychology degree. But one conversation with his government professor, Jiri Horak, Ph.D., professor emeritus of government, changed Stroman’s path.
“I remember speaking with the chairman of the department, and we had a long conversation about what a major in government could offer,” the New Rochelle native recalls.
“He helped me see how government can be a tool that can shape, develop and move the country in a certain direction.”
Stroman’s new major propelled him into a career in government, and this past March, he was appointed the 20th deputy postmaster general (DPMG) of the United States Postal Service (USPS). It is the second-highest ranking postal position, and he serves on the Postal Service Board of
Governors and on Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe’s Executive Leadership Team.
“I was surprised to get the call,” says Stroman of his hiring. “They called to see if I was interested, and then I went on the interview, but I always thought they were going to hire someone from inside the Postal Service.”
For the past two years, Stroman was staff director and senior policy advisor for the House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. While on that committee, Stroman looked at proposals that would change the USPS services and procedures.
“I was already pretty familiar with postal issues when I took the job,” he says.
According to Stroman, as DPMG, he works closely with the mailing industry to help strengthen relationships and identify opportunities to improve interactions with postal customers. He also has the lead role in working with Congress to restructure the prefunding of retiree health benefits, adjust delivery frequency, and gain greater flexibility in aligning the Postal Service processing, distribution and retail networks.
But it’s a job that Stroman knows comes with some challenges, as he has the opportunity to oversee the second largest employer in the United States. The Postal Service has nearly 600,000 workers, behind only Wal-mart.
“I knew going in that the Postal Service was going to go through some major changes,” Stroman says. “But it’s an opportunity to change the process. It’s a major responsibility, and I’m looking forward to lending my expertise in this effort.”
It’s not just the amount of employees or challenges the Postal Service faces that has Stroman excited for his new position. It’s also the history behind the USPS that the Manhattan graduate relishes.
“This is the only government agency named in the Constitution,” he says. “The first postmaster was Ben Franklin. If you look at it from the founding of the Republic, you can see how important the post office has been historically.
“Just talking to people you can see how many people’s lives have been touched by the Postal Service, either by working there, receiving mail, through business relationships. It’s a huge responsibility, and I’m honored to be here.”
After graduating from the College, Stroman earned his Juris Doctorate from Rutgers University Law Center in 1977.
From there, he spent the next 30 years in government, legislative affairs and leadership before becoming DPMG. From 1978 to 1984, he was an attorney with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He then moved into a position as counsel on the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. He also worked for the Committee on Government Operations and became a deputy minority staff director for the Government Reform and Oversight Committee.
In 1997, Stroman took a director’s position with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Then in 2001, he joined the General Accounting Office as managing director for the Office of Opportunity and Inclusiveness, before returning to the House in 2009, where he served as staff director for the
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, prior to joining the Postal Service.
Who knows where Stroman would have wound up with a B.A. in Psychology. But without those conversations with his Manhattan College professors and the class discussions, Stroman may not have been convinced to pursue a degree in government.
“I remember taking reading courses, and we would read the Wall Street Journal in class,” Stroman says. “We would talk about the role of government and its relationship with the private sector.
“I remember it as if it had just happened yesterday. Sitting in those classes, discussing government and political science, reading the Journal — that has had a very powerful impact on my career.”
M Magazine Fall 2011