200305AZW5010102 - Copy.jpgA worker with Balfour Beatty fixes a set of blinds in on-post housing. Fort Jackson leaders are serious about improving housing for the post's Families and Soldiers living in the barracks. Jennifer Ray and Hideki Tsuboi, at part of a DPW team that fixes work orders for Fort Jackson's Single Soldier Complex. (Photo by Mr. Ron Lester) 

By Alexandra Shea

Fort Jackson Leader

“Our job is to do small projects before they become bigger projects,” said Hideki Tsuboi. “We nip it in the bud.”

Tsuboi is half of a powerhouse duo who have reduced the wait time for repairs in the Fort Jackson Single Soldier Complex. Jennifer Ray is the other half of the team; both are preventative maintenance team members for the Operations and Maintenance Division of the Directorate of Public Works.

“When we first started, the backlog was pages long,” Ray said.

Tsuboi and Ray, who both began working for DPW around August 2018, were faced with many uncompleted barracks work orders. The two quickly established and implemented a plan of action.

A weekly schedule was set up for each of the barracks building and the two met face-to-face with each building’s barracks manager. The manager, a Soldier in charge of collecting and reporting maintenance and repair issues, works one day a week with the team to ensure they were provided access to the areas needing repair and a status of the work being done.

“We set the schedule up and the backlog has gone from eight pages plus to a minimal number in the queue,” Ray said.

The duo also go beyond the reported repairs to help ensure the queue number remains small, making the work order wait time short.

“We fix everything in the room while we are there,” Ray explained. “They (the Soldiers) are so focused on one issue they miss other issues in the room.”

“They will do an inspection and they will call in an item to be repaired,” Tsuboi said. “We find more and we can fix all of them while we are there.”

The duo also provide small conveniences that have a large impact on the Soldiers living within the units.

“We swap out so many refrigerator doors,” Ray said. “In the shared kitchen area the refrigerator doors are on wrong so if one person is gone and they have locked their door, the roommate can’t open the refrigerator.”

While the doors were not installed wrong, they often come preassembled with the door opening to the left. Tsuboi and Ray often switch the direction the door opens to help alleviate the frustrations of not having access to cold food and drinks when a roommate’s door is closed and locked.

Tsuboi and Ray have also listened to the desires of Soldiers living in the complex. The duo are currently working to trade out all the lighting within the complex. As old incandescent bulb lighting systems are fixed, they are replaced with LED lighting. This helps ensure Soldiers not only are able to navigate their way to their rooms at night, but also creates a safer environment.

“It’s like the sun out there with LEDs now,” Ray said.

Tsuboi added, “if we can fix it, we will.”

For those living in the Single Soldier Complex and in need of repairs or maintenance are encourage to contact their barracks manager.

“It’s quick and we are always here for them” Ray said.