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From the COO: What Makes the Exchange Stand Out from the Rest

By Dave Nelson, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

The Exchange’s passionate associates exemplify our core value Family Serving Family, making the organization stand above the rest in the retail industry.

Our general managers and main store managers will gather in Dallas on May 7 for their annual conference, where they will talk about roles of associates in protecting the Exchange benefit through strategic priorities and initiatives that will guide the Exchange well into the future.

Family Serving Family will be on full display.

Doing her part to serve, despite hardships

One of the finest examples of this core value comes from Fort Buchanan. The morning after Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico last fall, Carmen Jordan showed up to work at the Exchange’s Taco Bell, although her house had no electricity or phone service. She had no way of knowing whether she needed to report to work that day. Despite personal hardships, she showed up anyway, wanting to help and doing her part to serve, just like she has throughout her 30-year career with the Exchange.

Like Carmen, our associates know that retail, food and services, with the support of our directorates, bring a sense of community to military installations around the world. No civilian retailer comes close to providing what the Exchange provides to so many Soldiers, Airmen and their families.

Even in a seemingly interconnected world, today’s Exchange benefit remains a vital lifeline to America, especially at the tip of the spear, where our associates are key enablers of the armed forces’ readiness and resiliency.

Way of life

Serving those who serve is a way of life for our 35,000 associates, who have devoted their lives to supporting military communities around the world. For instance, since 9/11, more than 4,600 Exchange associates have deployed voluntarily—often more than once—to dangerous and austere locations around the world.

No matter where they serve—at our headquarters, distribution centers and our stores in CONUS and overseas—every associate is essential to our mission.
Dave Nelson

Far from the comforts of friends and family, our teammates selflessly deploy to provide a needed taste of home to those who need it most. From the Middle East’s warzones to remote outposts, Exchange associates take the benefit we are privileged to provide wherever it is needed. For instance, Eastern Europe’s Bosnia, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Poland and Romania and Bulgaria have an Exchange presence, from mobile field exchanges to more conventional retail stores.

Carmen Jordan, Fort Buchanan, P.R.

Duty and honor

For some associates, Family Serving Family means deploying. For others, like our Fort Buchanan team, which includes Carmen, this powerful phrase takes on meaning closer to home.

No matter where they serve—at our headquarters, distribution centers and our stores in CONUS and overseas—every associate is essential to our mission.

Without a doubt, the Exchange serves the greatest customers in the world because they are heroes who put their lives on the line and forgo precious time with their families to ensure ours are protected. For nearly 123 years, the Exchange has supported service members and their families.

It is our duty and our honor to serve those who serve! Nobody does it better than our Exchange team!




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  1. Emilio M. Fernandez on May 2, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    As a retiree from AAFES, I totally miss not getting the Exchange Post hard copy. Tring to read it on the website is way too hard for most of us seniors. Don’t enjoy it anymore. My wife loved to read it too, as a wife and former employee

    • Steve Smith on May 2, 2018 at 5:39 pm

      Mr. Fernandez:

      Thank you for writing to your Exchange Post. I’m sorry you miss getting the hard copy of the Exchange Post. However, you can print out each article as a PDF. Call up an article, go all the way down to the bottom of the page and you should see the PDF icon that will allow you to print out the article.

      Corporate magazines like the Exchange Post are all going digital and doing away with hard copies. I took an employee magazine digital at another company before I came with AAFES.

      On your monitor, do you have the ability to enlarge the page?

      Again, thanks for writing to your Exchange Post. Please give the digital version a chance. Kick the tires. You may grow to like it.

      Steve Smith
      Editor, The Exchange Post

      • Emilio M. Fernandez on May 3, 2018 at 8:29 pm

        I guess the hard copy is out! As an 84 yr old I don’t think the digital version is my answer. Would have loved to keep up with my Exchange , but I guess I’ll just pass on it. Sorry!.

        • Steve Smith on May 7, 2018 at 8:26 pm

          Mr. Fernandez:

          Don’t give up! If you go to http://www.theexchangepost.com, you’ll find everything there that you need to keep up with “your Exchange,” just not in a hard copy. You can print out each article in a PDF format.

          Steve Smith
          Editor, The Exchange Post

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