Kadena Marine Veteran Named Exchange’s 2021 Outstanding Associate with a Disability

DALLAS – A Veteran at Kadena Air Base was named the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s 2021 Department of Defense Outstanding Employee with a Disability.

Mark Stopani served his country in the Marine Corps for six years—and has spent the last 18 years continuing his service to the military at the Kadena Exchange, where he is currently a stockroom manager, overseeing daily stockroom operations and supervising 65 associates.

While associates with disabilities may face more challenges in learning new tasks, Stopani advises they focus on what sets them apart.

“Look for your strengths,” Stopani said. “Each individual has something to offer which others cannot.”

That may be as simple as a hobby. Stopani is an avid fisherman and has worked to bulk up the fishing equipment selection at the Kadena Exchange. His efforts and knowledge of the products have moved the Kadena Exchange from 68th in fishing gear sales to second among Exchange stores worldwide.

“Mark is such an asset to our team and can always be depended upon to take the initiative to improve customer service in whatever way he can,” said Kadena Exchange Main Store Manager Flordeliza Payton. “Whether that’s teaching himself Japanese so he can better communicate with associates and shoppers or tackling the transition to a new inventory management software, Mark is a leader among his peers.”

Stopani is motivated by his passion for serving those who serve.

“Because I am prior military, and my dad and brother served as well, I truly enjoy giving back to the military community,” Stopani said. “I strive daily to provide the best customer service I can.”

About 14% of the Exchange workforce includes people with disabilities, which exceeds goals established in 2018 by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. About 4% of the Exchange’s employees have targeted disabilities—double the DoD goal of 2% for its agencies.

“The Exchange is dedicated to a diverse, inclusive workforce,” said Exchange Director/CEO Tom Shull. “Associates like Mark make the Exchange stronger and are valuable contributors to our mission of serving the best customers in the world.”

The Exchange, the DoD’s largest retailer, works to recruit, retain and advance people with targeted disabilities. Non-competitive hiring for entry-level positions, providing reasonable accommodations, active community outreach and retaining interns from the Workforce Recruitment Program are all tools available to Exchange managers in hiring those with disabilities.

To view job openings, visit ApplyMyExchange.com.

Facebook-friendly version: A Marine Corps Veteran at the Kadena Exchange was named @shopmyexchange’s Department of Defense Outstanding Employee with a Disability. Mark Stopani has served the Kadena military community for 18 years with the Exchange and stands out for his dedication to providing excellent customer service. Read more about his career: https://wp.me/p9Q7PG-1R5.

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Since 1895, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (Exchange) has gone where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives by providing valued goods and services at exclusive military pricing. The Exchange is the 53rd-largest retailer in the United States. Its earnings provided $2.1 billion in dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs over the last 10 years. The Exchange is a non-appropriated fund entity of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors. The Exchange is a 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemorative Partner, planning and conducting events and activities that recognize the service, valor and sacrifice of Vietnam Veterans and their families in conjunction with the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our website at http://www.shopmyexchange.com or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ExchangePAO.

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Media Notes:

For more information or to schedule an interview with an Exchange representative please contact Marisa Conner at 214-312-5111 or connermar@aafes.com.

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