78th FSS projects to modernize facilities, increase customer satisfaction

  • Published
  • By Kendahl Johnson
  • 78 ABW/PA
One of the mantras of the 78th Force Support Squadron is "modernization" and its leadership is investing millions to prove it.

While customer satisfaction is his top priority, David Quinn said modernizing facilities and offerings is a close second.

"We like to challenge the way we do things and make changes, positive changes," said Mr. Quinn, 78th FSS director. "It's good for readiness, it's good for retention and it's even good for recruiting."

Mr. Quinn said he is continually evaluating what is being offered to the customer and how it's being offered, and looking for ways to improve both.

"We aren't trying to change the whole world overnight, but we are picking some areas that need modernizing and working toward achieving that," Mr. Quinn said.

More than 40 projects have either been completed, are currently being worked or are in the planning stages. He said people need to be patient with inconveniences and understand that in the long term, the overhauls and renovations will improve services dramatically.

"There doesn't seem to be a day where I don't have some dealings with someone momentarily inconvenienced by progress," Mr. Quinn said. "I am sure our customers see the big picture and know what we're doing will only improve our operations."

One of the biggest projects is improvements to lodging, an ambitious project that has been going on for more than a year.

The temporary lodging facility and visitor's quarters, which hadn't seen major renovations for many years, are being completely renovated. When finished, over $2.7 million will have been invested in the upgrades.

In an effort to improve customer service in the production of Common Access Cards and ID cards in the Military Personnel Flight, the Defense Manpower Data Center is providing new printers, computers, cameras and privacy screens.

"While this will not speed the encryption process, it will assist in reliability of equipment, minimizing re-takes of photos, and in providing a smoother process," Mr. Quinn said.

Another area receiving a major upgrade is the Fitness Center. The women's locker room is being completely renovated, a project that will be completed in September. The outdoor fitness center track is being refinished, while the tennis, basketball and racquetball courts and aerobics floor have all been recently refinished. In addition, the old gymnasium will soon be air conditioned.

"We are working hard to provide the best experience possible for our customers," said Lesley Sparks, Fitness Center director. "We service about 3,000 people every day, so we need a modern facility with long-lasting and well-maintained equipment."

Other projects include: -- Adding ALOHA, a payment system, to base eateries to allow customers to pay for meals via credit and debit cards. -- Replacing Base Restaurant's décor, including wallpaper, carpets and tables. -- Improvements to the Pine Oaks Golf Course, including new bunkers and cleaning up the fairways. -- Addition of "water park" elements, like new slides, to the swimming pool.

Money for the projects doesn't come solely from taxpayer dollars.

Improvement funds are self-generated, coming from profits from FSS enterprises. For example, revenues generated from guests staying in lodging helps pay for the lodging upgrades, while profits from the clubs or from restaurants will be used for modernization projects in those facilities.

One reason for the success in modernizing services is leadership support as well as the partnerships FSS has with other units and agencies, like the 78th Civil Engineer Squadron, the 78th Communications Directorate, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command and Air Force Services Agency. Another reason is because of the freedom FSS employees have to be creative in seeking ways to improve areas.

"We care about our staff and work hard to empower them," Mr. Quinn said. "We want them to listen to customers and make changes for the better. We want them to see what needs to be done and then be aggressive about seeing it accomplished."