Your Commissary – It's Worth the Trip!
FORT LEE, Va., March 22, 2012 – Four zone manager and 15 store director assignments highlight recent commissary management changes announced by the Defense Commissary Agency.
Zone manager assignments:
Store director assignments:
Ken J. Chastain, former Zone 30 manager, is now Zone 18 manager with oversight responsibility for eight commissaries in California. Chastain filled the position vacated by Robert Varela, who retired in 2011. Chastain moves into this role with 31 years of experience in the retail environment gained through positions in private industry and with military commissaries. Early in his career Chastain gained a solid foundation as an intern with Air Force Commissary Service at then Langley Air Force Base, Va. With DeCA, he has worked as a grocery manager, store administrator and store director in U.S. commissaries, and as a training and development specialist and a buyer at DeCA headquarters, Fort Lee, Va.
Arnielle M. Fernandez, former Zone 1 manager, is now Zone 8 manager with oversight responsibility for 12 commissaries in Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. She filled the position vacated by Don Johnson, who retired in 2011. Fernandez has 26 years of commissary experience beginning at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., as a cashier and administrative support clerk. She was one of DeCA’s first interns, entering the program in 1992. She has served as store director for four U.S. commissaries and as chief of the Performance Division at DeCA’s former Midwest Region.
Riccardo R. Lieffort, former store director for the McChord Field Commissary on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., is now Zone 30 manager with oversight responsibility for seven commissaries in Belgium, England and the Netherlands. He filled the vacancy created when Ken Chastain moved to California to fill the Zone 18 manager position. With 35 years in the commissary system, Lieffort’s career has progressed from a warehouseman to meatcutter, grocery manager and then as director of various-size commissaries. He’s gained a variety of experience working in stores both in Europe and the United States.
Michael W. Mertz, former store director of the Fort Meade Commissary, Md., is the Zone 1 manager with oversight responsibility for 10 commissaries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. A U.S. Army veteran, he began his commissary career in 1981 as a cashier at the Yongsan Garrison Commissary, Korea. He has served in a series of progressive assignments in Japan, California, South Korea and Maryland. The Fort Meade assignment was his third store director post, having successfully served as store director of the Sagamihara Commissary, Japan, and the U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan Commissary.
Joyce A. Adams is the store director at the Harrison Village Commissary, Ind. She took the reins last December after serving as store director of the Selfridge Air National Guard Base Commissary, Mich. Her commissary career began in Germany in 1983 and is highlighted by a series of progressive assignments, including experience as the store director of commissaries in Tennessee and England before her assignment at the Selfridge Commissary.
Brian K. Aipperspach is the new store director at the McClellan Commissary. He was selected after serving for a few months, as lead commissary management specialist for DeCA’s Pacific Area and three years as executive assistant to the former DeCA West director. He filled the position vacated by Nancy Robinson, who retired in December 2011. Aipperspach began his commissary career as a meatcutter at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., and earned progressive assignments becoming store director for the commissary at U.S. Coast Guard Integrated Support Command, Kodiak, Alaska. He has also worked as a commissary management specialist in the operations division at the former DeCA West.
Kuei Blossom is store director for the commissary at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. She was selected after serving for nine months as the store’s assistant director. She filled the position vacated by Donald Fleck, who is now store director for the commissary at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. Blossom’s commissary career began in 1983 as a sales store checker at the Los Angeles Air Force Base Commissary. She gained eight years of experience as a customer service manager before moving on to produce manager, store administrator and store director.
Arrie F. Carson is store director for the Fort Benning and Camp Merrill commissaries in Georgia. She was selected after serving two years as a commissary management specialist with the former performance and policy division at DeCA headquarters, and most recently as the lead commissary management specialist for DeCA’s Central Area. She’s been store director of commissaries in Germany, New Mexico and Virginia, and started her commissary career in 1983 at the Fulda Commissary, Germany.
Patrice M. Funderburk is store director for the Clear Creek Commissary on Fort Hood, Texas. She was selected after serving for more than two years as store director at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif. She filled the position vacated by James Thompson, who is now a commissary management specialist at DeCA headquarters. Funderburk started with DeCA in 1988 at the Rhein-Main Air Base Commissary, Germany. During her first six years with DeCA, she moved from sales store checker to assistant grocery manager. She spent 15 of her 24-year career with DeCA working in overseas commissaries in Germany and the Azores.
Frank Hart was selected as the new store director for the Chièvres Commissary, Belgium, when former store director, Sharryl Whitley, moved to Marine Corps Base Hawaii-Kaneohe Bay. Hart, who retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2009, arrived at Chièvres in mid-December and brings years of commissary experience from his enlisted days as a storeworker at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., where he began his commissary career in 1984.
Cynthia Hernandez is store director for the Fort Irwin Commissary, Calif. She was selected after working for six years at the South Post Commissary on Fort Bragg, N.C., first as store manager, then as store administrator. She filled the position vacated by Patrice Funderburk, who is now store director at Clear Creek Commissary, Fort Hood. Hernandez began her civil service career in 1978 as a contract control clerk at Norton Air Force Base, Calif. She joined DeCA in 1995 as the secretary at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. She gained commissary experience in Germany as grocery manager, store manager and store director before returning to the United States at Fort Bragg South Post Commissary in 2005.
Ed J. Koerner is store director for the Holloman Air Force Base Commissary, N.M. He was appointed after working for two years as store director at Naval Submarine Base New London, Conn. He filled the position vacated by Edwin Auld, who retired in 2011. Koerner served 20 years in the U.S. Army, working in logistics, subsistence and commissary management. He retired at the rank of master sergeant in 1992. With DeCA, he has served as store director for three U.S. commissaries and two in Japan, and he has four years of corporate-level experience from working at DeCA headquarters as a commissary management specialist.
Young S. Montney is store manager for the commissary in the Hannam Village housing area for military assigned to U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, South Korea. She was selected after serving for a year and a half as grocery manager at Orote Commissary, Joint Region Marianas, Guam. She filled the position vacated by Jeffrey Bailey, who is now store administrator at the Orote Commissary. Montney began with DeCA in 1998 as a sales store clerk in the commissary at Osan Air Base, South Korea, where she later served as store secretary. She also has experience as grocery manager at Camp Red Cloud, South Korea.
Ronald C. Smith is store director of the Marine Corps Base Quantico Commissary, Va., filling the position left vacant upon the retirement of Carrie Butler. He assumes the job after serving as deputy director for resale activities and nonappropriated fund activities in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy. A retired Air Force officer, his association with commissaries spans to the Air Force Commissary Service, and he is a former zone manager and store director.
John O. Twigg Jr., who has been the grocery manager at Kelley Barracks, Germany, since September 2010, takes over the store director position there since Hart’s move to Chiévres Commissary. Like Hart, Twigg was a commissary officer while on active duty with the U.S. Air Force. He began his commissary career in 1980 as a storeworker at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas. He’s held positions as produce worker and manager, resale worker, receiving branch supervisor, product coordinator, store manager and commissary officer. Twigg retired from the Air Force in 2004.
Patricia A. Ward is store director for the Mitchel Field Commissary, N.Y. Ward became director in January after working as the store manager of the Naval Support Unit Saratoga Springs Commissary, N.Y. She began her commissary career in 1986 at Fort Richardson, Alaska. As a spouse of a career soldier, she progressed in her career through commissary jobs in Georgia, New York, Alaska and Panama.
Ervin L. White is store director for the Laughlin Commissary, Texas. He previously served for three years as store manager for the commissary at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. He replaced Buddy Kolath, who is now store director for the commissary at Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill. White began his career with DeCA in 1993 as a storeworker at Darmstadt, Germany. His experience includes quality assurance evaluator, electrician, perishables manager, grocery manager and store manager. He has worked in both stateside and overseas commissaries.
Sharryl F. Whitley is store director for the commissary at Marine Corps Base Hawaii-Kaneohe Bay. She moved to Hawaii after serving for two years as store director at the Chiévres Commissary in Belgium. She filled a vacancy left by Jeff Dusich in early 2010 when he became store director at the Camp Courtney Commissary on Okinawa, Japan. Prior to Whitley’s arrival, Sharon Chai served as acting store director. Chai has since retired. Whitley has more than 20 years of experience with DeCA, having started as a cashier at the Tarawa Terrace Commissary in N.C. She has also worked in commissaries in Germany, Belgium and England in the positions of accounting technician, store manager, store administrator and store director. She also worked at the former DeCA Europe region, as a commissary management specialist, for three years.
Richard W. Yocum is store director for the commissary at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah. He filled the position vacated by Mary Carter, who retired in 2011. Yocum, who retired from the U.S. Air Force at the rank of master sergeant in 2003, served seven years with the Air Force Commissary Service, five years with DeCA and eight years with Air Force Services. In military commissaries, he gained direct management experience working stateside and overseas in troop support, customer service, produce and grocery departments. His years with Air Force Services, as lodging superintendent, dining hall manager, troop support supervisor and food service superintendent, provided additional experience. Yocum has also worked in private industry, with Dunham and Smith Agencies and Dixon Marketing, as base manager at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Commissaries provide a military benefit and make no profit on the sale of merchandise. Authorized patrons purchase items at cost plus a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. By shopping regularly in the commissary, patrons save thousands of dollars annually. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America's military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.
Kevin L. Robinson
(804) 734-8000, Ext. 4-8773