Zone manager honored for leadership in delivering commissary benefit
FORT LEE, Va. – Max Kraftchick, DeCA’s Georgia-based Zone 2 manager, has won the 2018 Michael W. Blackwell Leadership Award for exemplary leadership, courage and integrity in the performance of his duties exhibited throughout his career and more recently as zone manager.
“I’m overwhelmed and surprised,” said Kraftchick, who received the award Dec. 13 at DeCA headquarters in Fort Lee, Virginia. “I appreciate the fact that leadership had confidence in me to do my job.”
Kraftchick retired Dec. 31 after 34 years of delivering the commissary benefit, 22 of which were in DeCA leadership roles. He had been the only remaining founding member of the original zone manager team formed in 1994.
“He has become the resident expert for grand openings, even for stores outside his zone and he is known across the agency as the “bible of knowledge” for historical insight, innovation advice and experience,” said Ron McMasters, Central Area director.
One of Kraftchick’s stores, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is the only one in the history of DeCA to conduct monthly Guard and Reserve onsite sales events.
“He taught his team to become quite adept at artfully selecting the right merchandise in the correct quantities, mobilizing support teams and expertly executing the onsite sales events,” said McMasters. “He also won eight commissary awards for best store during his career.”
According to the award submission packet, during his tenure Zone 2 consistently attained superior accountable inventory results in all departments. In fact, Kraftchick has the rare distinction of his zones having never once been out of tolerance in his 22 years as zone manager. He superbly managed financial operations in fiscal 2017, exceeding expectations and established targets. His total fiscal 2017 budget execution for the Defense Working Capital Fund expenses were 16.9 percent below target. He effectively managed a working capital and payroll budget of more than $29 million.
Kraftchick has also earned a nickname as the “garbage man” because of his leadership in recycling. He led the agency’s energy task force identifying overages and in recovering $400,000 in over-billing costs. Under his leadership, Zone 2 cardboard recycling attained an efficiency level of 2,288 tons or 93 percent, and the total recycling effort was 90 percent, far exceeding the agency’s goal of 80 percent efficiency – one of the best in DeCA in 2017.
Kraftchick also won the Blackwell Award for the 2004-2005 fiscal year when he was serving as Zone 4’s manager. Overall, he served as a zone manager of five zones – 1, 5, 27, 4 and 2 – from 1994 to 2018.
He began his commissary career with the Navy Resale and Support Services Office (NAVRESSO) in 1985 after working in the retail grocery field for 15 years. With NAVRESSO, he served as a store director at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia; Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, and in Guam. After DeCA formed in 1991, Kraftchick became the store director of the Fort Leavenworth Commissary, Kansas.
Kraftchick is also a four-year Navy veteran and served two tours in Vietnam.
The Blackwell Leadership Award recognizes DeCA civilian employees and service members for their exceptional leadership, courage and integrity.
The annual award honors Blackwell, who served with the Air Force Commissary Service before its consolidation into DeCA, and who became the agency’s senior enlisted advisor in March 1994. Battling cancer, he retired from the Air Force Feb. 9, 1995, after 22 years of service, and passed away April 5, 1995, at age 44.
-- By Jessica Rouse, DeCA public affairs specialist
Note: See photos related to Max Kraftchick.
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, saving authorized patrons thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to similar products at commercial retailers. 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.