DeCA Director Joseph Jeu retires
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FORT LEE, Va. (June 6, 2017) – From teenage immigrant to director and CEO of the Defense Commissary Agency. It's been a unique journey for Joseph H. Jeu, whose path is now set in a new direction as he reaches the end of his government service.
"For me personally, I am living the 'American Dream,'" Jeu said during his retirement ceremony June 1 at Fort Lee, Virginia. "You see, my parents came to this wonderful country over 50 years ago [from South Korea], in pursuit of the American Dream. So did my wife's family, 40 years ago. We are the beneficiaries of their dreams."
Jeu retires after more than 38 years in civil service, the last six years plus as DeCA's director and CEO. Michael Dowling, deputy director and COO, has been named acting director until the process to select the next agency director is completed.
During his retirement ceremony, Jeu took the opportunity to thank the people who shared his passion for delivering the commissary benefit – the men and women of DeCA and their industry partners.
"I have been extremely fortunate to have worked with so many wonderful and talented people, and it is never about one person," Jeu said. "Rather, it is about everyone working together as one team with a purpose, dedication and commitment. We can and do accomplish so much more when we work as one team. We are doing just that with our ongoing initiatives to transform our business model and modernize our supply chain management system."
During his tenure at the helm of DeCA, Jeu guided the agency through several significant events: furloughs; government shutdown; and the start of the agency's roll out of its Enterprise Business Solution, the modernization of its supply chain management systems. The most significant, however, is the ongoing transformation of the commissary benefit from an "at cost" model to one that employs variable pricing and is integrating store brand items in its product inventory.
"As some of you know so well, these transformational changes are extremely difficult, challenging and hard work," he said. "To put them into perspective, they are more complex than the consolidation of four commissary systems to establish DeCA more than 25 years ago.
"We have overcome many obstacles and enormous external pressures. As expected with any major transformational efforts, we have had some hiccups along the way, but, we were able to address them quickly. Overall, I am thrilled to tell you that we are implementing these changes successfully."
Stephanie Barna, acting assistant secretary of defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, officiated Jeu's ceremony and afterwards spoke about his career. Her office has immediate oversight of DeCA.
"I believe, with every fiber of my being, that it is because of Joe Jeu, with his incredibly high standards of performance; keen business acumen; knack for innovation; consummate focus on the customer; his 'roll up your sleeves' commitment to sheer hard work; and last, but certainly not least, his stalwart integrity ..." Barna said, "that we are strong and ready to deliver a valued 21st century commissary benefit to the next generation of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, retirees and their families ... here at home and across the globe ... in war and in peace ... now and into the future."
Reflecting on the path that led Jeu to DeCA, Barna said it was groceries that launched him into the working world, and it's appropriate that he leaves as the head of an organization responsible for the military's grocery operations.
As early as 1975, Jeu started as a management trainee with Safeway Stores Inc., in Landover, Maryland. There, in just a few short years, he advanced to store manager.
In 1978, he began his government career as a commissary specialist with the U.S. Army Troop Support Agency's European Region and a year later was promoted as a commissary officer in Heidelberg, Germany, and later moved to TSA's regional headquarters in Europe.
By 1981, Jeu was assigned to the Pentagon where he served the next three years with the Department of the Army's deputy chief of logistics. In 1984, he joined Headquarters Marine Corps, where he managed the Marine Corps Commissary System that included 15 commissaries and two commissary complexes.
Jeu was promoted to head of the Marine Corps Services Branch in 1987, where he managed the Marines' garrison-level vehicle fleet, personal property and food service programs. He also continued control of Marine Corps commissaries until Oct. 1, 1991, when the creation of DeCA consolidated the four services' military commissaries into one organization.
Jeu was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in 2000. He then started his 10-year tenure with GSA beginning as the assistant commissioner for transportation and property management for the organization's then Federal Supply Service, also known as FSS. Four years later, he was promoted to assistant commissioner in the office of global supply, where he managed the FSS stock and other programs that support federal activities worldwide, which include the Department of Defense, Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Forest Service wildfire suppression program.
He is the recipient of the 2009 Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executive Service. As a Meritorious Presidential Rank recipient, Jeu was recognized as a leader in the top 5 percent of the federal government's Senior Executive Service. In June 2010, President Barack Obama appointed him as a member of the Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled. He has also received the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award in May 1987 and the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award in July 2001.
Jeu graduated from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1975 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. In 1991, he completed the Harvard University Senior Officials in National Security Program.
"It has been an extraordinary honor and privilege to have worked with exceptionally dedicated and passionate people at DeCA," he said. "The transformation is well on its way and the right people are in place to see it through. ... I leave with the utmost respect, gratitude and fondness for the DeCA team."
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 save thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to commercial prices when shopping regularly at a commissary. The discounted prices include a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. 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