By Sgt. Thomas J. BrandonDecember 14, 2017
USAG YONGSAN - Housing Division Chief Pedro Saldana Jr., a Syracuse native, has won the Installation Management Command Housing Executive of the Year award Nov. 9, 2017.
"This award in our field is actually the highest award you can get as a housing division manager," said Saldana. "It's including the United States, Europe, and anyone who is a housing division chief world-wide. This is our biggest award for housing, period."
Saldana is responsible for housing in both Area I and Area II. Area I is all unaccompanied and holds about 15,000 beds. In Area II there are both accompanied and unaccompanied service members and holds about 6,000 beds and 552 Army family units.
All facets of housing management on the executive level, like a general manager, have three branches that they manage. They house unaccompanied soldiers, accompanied soldiers, furnishings, and various amounts of services to family members.
"I am responsible for overseeing all of this," said Saldana. "I oversee budgets and numerous other things. This award covers all of that. "
There are six areas that the award takes into consideration. In addition to all of the individual accomplishments, the awards factors in the participation of the garrison and its community members.
"Yongsan is very unique to the Army because we are the only true Army traditional housing," said Saldana. "In the U.S., everyone has gone to privatization. There's a contractor who does the day to day stuff.
"Unlike anywhere else, Yongsan is very traditional because we run the housing operation," Saldana said. "We have our counselors out there. We have our folks deal with us rather than a contractor."
The Area I and II Housing Division also includes an engineer inspection branch that works on issues for Army family housing. The various barracks that house service members fall under the Directorate of Public Works. If a work order is submitted, DPW will take care of issues with the barracks.
"The housing division team is the folks doing all the work," said Saldana. "They are the ones who are out there doing day to day stuff, talking to you directly. It allowed me to organize the structure so we can give the best customer service possible. My team is the one that won this award not me. I'm just representing the team."