Dr. Juan Jordán Saiz Works Hard and Plays Hard
Originally from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian (SPHV) Dr. Juan Jordán Saiz has worked for FSIS for 7.5 years. A 1999 graduate of The University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez Campus with a degree in biology, Jordán Saiz earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree in 2005 at St. George’s University in Grenada, West Indies. He then completed his clinical rotations at Louisiana State University, School of Veterinary Medicine. However, his FSIS career did not begin right away.
He completed a residency in laboratory animal medicine at the University of Florida, Animal Care Services in July 2009. He worked as a laboratory animal veterinarian at Arizona State University’s (ASU) Department of Animal Care and Technologies from August 2009 to September 2013, where he ensured ongoing compliance with all federal, state, university and related welfare laws and regulations. Although he enjoyed his work at ASU, he missed Puerto Rico and wished to return home. After working as an emergency veterinarian in a private practice, he began his FSIS career in 2015 as an SPHV. He was mentored by relief SPHV Dr. Neftali Soto who was assigned to the establishment that became Jordán Saiz’s duty station. Their frontline supervisor (FLS) at the time assigned the two to work together. Soto provided on-the-job training, imparting his years of knowledge and experience to Jordán Saiz.
Current FSIS Responsibilities
Jordán Saiz’s current duty station is a beef slaughter establishment in Yauco, Puerto Rico, located in the Arecibo Circuit. There, he supervises and coordinates the work activities of FSIS food inspectors and consumer safety inspectors. When the FLS is on official duty travel or leave, Jordán Saiz may cover his duties, supervising veterinary medical officers and consumer safety officers, as well.
As SPHV, he ensures establishments in his circuit meet requirements of the Pathogen Reduction and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point regulations and oversees consumer protection by fulfilling the agency’s mission. As team leader, he works with and supervises other public health professionals to ensure assigned establishments comply with health standards and properly implement systems that control hazards from entering the food supply. Additional responsibilities include identifying and analyzing scientific issues and their impact on operations that are critical to the public health community, assessing establishments’ food safety systems and making recommendations based on critical thinking and findings. Jordán Saiz focuses on public health risks such as pathogen outbreaks and trends in noncompliance. He also communicates with other FSIS professionals (e.g., compliance investigators and enforcement, investigations and analysis officers) and FLSs from different circuits when concerns arise outside of his duty station. When African swine fever (ASF) was identified in the nearby Dominican Republic, Jordán Saiz worked with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to help contain the outbreak by coordinating with APHIS on blood sampling collection and helping to identify swine producers, as well as sharing ASF disease information with establishment management and producers and monitoring for clinical signs and symptoms.
Being Part of the FSIS Team
As part of the FSIS team, Jordán Saiz volunteers when help is needed, for example, filling in for a vacationing FLS. In Sept. 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, resulting in loss of electricity for approximately six months in several places on the island. Jordán Saiz rotated around the island during this time, helping in establishments that had generators supplying electricity.
Other volunteer activities include serving as a mentor to new veterinarians and inspectors throughout the United States for five years and speaking at leadership seminars and training events. In July 2022, he represented FSIS at the League of United Latin American Citizens National Convention and Exposition. He was a speaker on the leadership panel composed entirely of federal agencies and organized the FSIS exhibitor booth. Jordán Saiz and two FSIS laboratory employees staffed the booth and shared the agency’s mission and FSIS employment opportunities with convention attendees.
True to the agency’s Core Values, FSIS empowers Jordán Saiz through training and opportunities to meet with people from different areas within the agency. “Listening is how you learn and get inspired by their work, not just from people who are higher than you. Understanding the different skills fellow FSIS employees offer makes you a better asset to the agency,” he said. Jordán Saiz also believes his team is empowered through communication; they share work issues and ask questions. If Jordán Saiz does not have the answer, he will reach out to others with more experience and share his findings with the team.
FLS Dr. Khali Jones is Jordán Saiz’s supervisor. She describes him as, “an exemplary team member. He is very diligent and has a great work ethic. He received the Accountable Recognition Coin in FY22, as he is thorough in his daily supervisory and inspection duties and demonstrates excellent written and verbal communication skills. In FY22, Dr. Jordán Saiz was a great help to District Veterinary Medical Specialist E. Bryan Surgeon, DVM during humane handling and good commercial practices verifications in all slaughter establishments in Puerto Rico. He also represented FSIS’ Office of Field Operations during a recent recruitment event in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He represents the Agency very well and I am grateful to have such a dedicated veterinarian in the circuit!”
Work Hard, Play Hard
When he’s not fulfilling his SPHV duties, you won’t find Jordán Saiz relaxing by a pool. He enjoys challenges outside of work that push him to his limits like ultra-distance running and triathlons. In May 2022, he completed a series of six and one-half full Ironman triathlons in eight days on multiple Hawaiian islands, and four months later, he ran 150 miles in Kenya for a cause – supporting Kenyan park rangers who work to protect indigenous endangered species.
He is “Divertido Tio Juanma” (Fun Uncle Juan) to three nephews and one niece — ages 8, 6, 4 and 3 — and enjoys showing them how to paddleboard. Jordán Saiz also likes to prepare healthy meals, but never follows a recipe; he prefers to rely on inspiration to create the perfect dish. “It’s like therapy,” he says.
Dr. Jordán Saiz pictured on the equator during an ultramarathon in Kenya in September 2022.
Photo by Kenyan park ranger.
Dr. Jordán Saiz at a meat establishment in Yauco, Puerto Rico.
Photo by Jordán Saiz.