NATICK, Mass. — The U.S. Army Garrison Natick welcomed a new member to the command team recently who brings with him years of leadership experience and a people first philosophy.
Raymond Santiago comes to the deputy to the garrison commander position with approximately 23 years of civilian government service. As a leader known for his ability to bring the workforce together, his top priority is to take care of people.
“My goal is to, first, take care of our staff; take care of our people,” Santiago said. “Give them all the tools they need so that they are able to do the same thing - take care of people.”
Raymond Santiago served three years as an Aerial Intelligence Specialist in the Army from 1989 to 1992. He was a navigator during the Gulf War in 1991 earning him the Air Medal for exceptional wartime services.
Now joining the command team for USAG - Natick, Santiago said he wants to use his vast experience to develop the garrison by fostering professional growth.
“In addition, I want to help this place continue to grow,” said Santiago. “I know we are small. However, I want to work on growing our staff and conquering those challenges.”
Santiago has a list of his initiatives, but at the top of his list, he said, are education, leadership development and taking care of our people, as the number one priority. Santiago said that he aims to create a positive environment that encourages growing leaders into a subject matter expert in their field.
“It doesn’t matter what level you are within our organization there’s a civilian education course from foundation to continued learning for senior leaders, I really want to push that to the team,” Santiago said. “Let them know that it is there, encourage them to apply, and support them in all that they need to get that training. And that includes having the rest of the team help while they are gone.”
Santiago also emphasizes his approachability as a leader who is available to the team he serves.
“I’m very approachable and open. I really like to hear ideas,” he said. “I’ve been around the world. But by no means do I know everything. I will not be the subject matter expert on every subject. I need you, our team to be subject matter experts to come to me and say these are the recommendations. Knowing that I am open and ready to sit down for that type of dialogue.”
Santiago said his leadership philosophy is as a coach and a mentor and emphasizes a team approach to complete the mission together
“We cannot do anything without each other. It is our job to help everybody on the team to become an MVPs,” Santiago said “Think of me as the coach. But I am more than just a coach. I am a player as well. I’m not the one from the sidelines saying do this do that. I’m the one from the sidelines saying it’s my turn let me jump in there.”
As Santiago looks to the future of the Garrison, he stressed it is full of positive possibilities.
“We have such a great mission here,” Santiago said. “Taking care of not just the Soldiers and family members. We’ve got the other agencies here as well, and we need to do that as a team.”