WASHINGTON (CNN) - Michael Strautmanis knew the Obamas before they were the Obamas.
While working as a paralegal for a large law firm in Chicago, Illinois, he met the then-Michelle Robinson and her fiancé, Barack Obama.
Strautmanis, 40, looked to the Obamas as both friends and role models. He and his wife got married the same year as the Obamas and followed their path into law.
Since then, Strautmanis has volunteered for Obama's U.S. Senate campaign, worked as a staffer in his Senate office and now serves as White House chief of staff for the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.
Through his years with Obama, he didn't imagine he'd follow him to the White House.