Idaho was Soon Jae Yoo’s second visit to the United States, but the flight from Seattle to Idaho’s capitol city in a propeller-driven aircraft raised one nagging question, “Just how big is Boise?”
Pretty small, compared to Yoo’s home of Daejeon, Korea, where that city’s population is about 1.4 million – about the number of people who live in Idaho.
But as first impressions go, the Gem State made a good one in 2008.
“Boise was very beautiful,” Yoo said about viewing the City of Trees for the first time.
“The temperatures are higher here, but the humidity is much lower,” he said. “It’s possible to cool off in the shade.”
ITD, in cooperation with other state of Idaho partners, helped bring Yoo to the department as part of The Korean Government Fellowship for Overseas Study.
Since arriving, he survived a four-month crash course in English at Boise State University, and logged time at the Department of Administration Purchasing Office, SCORE (previously known as Service Corps of Retired Executives), and the Idaho Department of Correction.
During the coming weeks, Yoo will study the department’s business and procurement practices, tour some of ITD’s operations and gather experiences – like sitting behind the wheel of one of ITD’s massive snowplows.
In Korea, Yoo serves as deputy director for the International Cooperation Division of the Public Procurement Service, an agency housed in the Daejeon Government Complex.
That complex also is home to Korea Customs Service, Cultural Heritage Administration, National Statistics Office, Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), Small and Medium Business Administration, Korea Forest Service, Military Manpower Administration, and the National Archives and Records Service.
While Yoo has worked with business and procurement processes similar to those he’s observed during his stateside visits – the first in 2005 to the General Services Administration in Washington, D.C. – he said he is looking at how to make these practices more efficient when he returns to his homeland this spring.
Until then, ITD employees from Headquarters and District 3 have rolled out their welcome mats with plans in place to make Yoo’s time at the department meaningful and productive.
Human Resource Services Manager Mary Harker and her staff, Kathy Chase and the Business and Support Management staff, Steve Spoor and the Headquarters Highways Maintenance Services staff, Nestor Fernandez and the Roadway Design staff, and Karen Blunk and the District 3 staff are all contributing to Soon Jae’s ITD experience, explained Michelle George, ITD senior human resource specialist.
Human Resource Services is coordinating Yoo’s ITD experience and activity rotation.
“It’s been our pleasure to host Soon Jae,” said Harker said. “Our partners throughout ITD are always great to work with and have really gone out of their way to make Soon Jae’s time here as valuable as possible. I’m confident that Soon Jae will not forget his time at the department.”