Commercial Real Estate Agent & Property Investor
By: Frank Morris Lopez
Awards & Recognitions:
LEADS 2.0 Fellow
Recipient of the Steve Joncas Community Connector Award by the Greater Lowell Community Foundation
Vladimir Saldana considers himself someone who’s passionate about community and committed to making a difference in the lives of others — and his work shows just that.
Born in the Dominican Republic, Saldana has been living in Lowell since age 9. He’s currently a commercial real estate agent and property investor at the EdgeGroup, where he advises customers on brokerage transactions and supervises maintenance activities at multiple properties.
But that is only the tip of the iceberg.
Saldana previously served as the North regional director for Congresswoman Lori Trahan, representing Massachusetts’ 3rd District, where he played a pivotal role in supporting local businesses and residents affected by the Merrimack Valley gas explosions.
“Congress is one of the strongest institutions of government. To bring underrepresented folks to the front of the table — and as an immigrant myself and the son of an immigrant — it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” he said.
Before that, Saldana was a project manager for Lawrence CommunityWorks, where he managed the construction of five new homes for low-income families. “I think these projects have a larger meaning because they aren’t driven by profit. They are driven by community needs,” Saldana said.
He also founded Fortaleza Inc., an advocacy group working towards the removal of the barriers and inequities that impact the education of Latino and Hispanic students and the opportunity gap. In addition, he serves as the first Latino vice-chair of the Greater Lowell Boys and Girls Club.
But one of his greatest accomplishments, Saldana says, was changing the way Lowell votes.
Communities of color comprise 41% of Lowell’s population, but saw little representation in local elected leadership, Saldana said. “It was a system failure.”
Working with others in the community, he and a coalition sued Lowell for voter discrimination. After two years of litigation, the city settled — changing its electoral system from entirely at-large to a hybrid system with representation from the city’s neighborhoods and districts, allowing for more diversity in government.
“It’s a generational impact,” Saldana said. “I get really emotional about it, because community representation means a lot to me.”
And it’s service to the community, which Saldana says, “is the rent we owe to be a part of the society in this world. We all owe this rent in service. It’s why we’re here.”