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Commissary Fast Facts – Issue 81 – July 2008

Sakowitz New DeCA Director

Philip E. Sakowitz Jr., a member of the Senior Executive Service and formerly executive director of the Army’s Installation Management Command, is the new director of the Defense Commissary Agency. Sakowitz succeeds Patrick Nixon who retired in October 2007. Rick Page, the agency’s chief operating officer, had served as its acting director in the interim. Sakowitz has more than 30 years of federal service, working at Department of the Army, Army major command and installation levels. As IMCOM’s executive director, he directed the daily execution of one of the most comprehensive multidisciplinary organizations in the Army. He has been honored twice, by Presidents Clinton and Bush, as a Meritorious Presidential Rank recipient, recognizing him as a leader in the top 5 percent of the federal government’s Senior Executive Service. He has received the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Award of Recognition for service and contributions in the areas of civil rights, race relations, equal opportunity, affirmative action and public service. He has also received the Army’s highest civilian award, the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service. Sakowitz graduated from Long Island University in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science degree in health and physical education while attending on a basketball scholarship.

Fort Huachuca Store Director Receives DeCA Leadership Award
Store Director Judy Mendez received the Defense Commissary Agency’s Michael W. Blackwell Leadership Award for 2007 during ceremonies at DeCA’s annual training conference in Richmond, Va., May 20. Each year the Blackwell award is given to a DeCA employee who has demonstrated exceptional leadership, courage and integrity in the performance of his or her duties. Mendez earned the award for her work at the Fort Huachuca Commissary, Ariz. In addition to operating a store with annual sales topping almost $28 million, her passion for the benefit and genuine admiration for her customers led her to create a mobile commissary to reach Marine reservists deployed to the U.S. side of the international border between Arizona and Mexico. The Marines, who were building roads and fences in the Arizona desert, were without access to the smallest of amenities, including access to stores. Despite a barrage of summer monsoons, logistical hurdles and communication challenges, Mendez and her team successfully delivered the commissary benefit – on wheels – where troops needed it most, “at the front.” The Blackwell Award program honors the late Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Michael W. Blackwell, a former senior enlisted advisor to the agency director.

DeCA Gets New Senior Enlisted Advisor
Army Reserve Command Sgt. Maj. Victor Garcia is the Defense Commissary Agency’s new senior enlisted advisor to the director. He reported to the agency June 12. Garcia is responsible for advising the DeCA director on the needs of enlisted service members related to the commissary benefit and serves as the agency liaison with the senior enlisted chiefs of the armed services. He is also the military advocate for DeCA customers – active-duty, retired and forces in reserve – and will reach out to all current and potential customers to raise awareness of the benefit and the savings it provides. Garcia began his military career in 1977, when he enlisted in the Army Reserve in Puerto Rico. His 31-year military career includes eight years in the Army Reserve and 23 years on active duty as a member of the Active Guard Reserve program. Garcia earned a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Inter-American University, Puerto Rico, in 1996 and a Master of Business Administration degree from Touro University International, Calif., in 2003.