127 Years of Family Serving Family: Robert Tackett, Fort Leavenworth

FamilyServingFamily_Robert-Tackett2

One in a series honoring the Exchange’s 127 years of family serving family

Who he is: Robert Tackett, Express store manager, Fort Leavenworth

Exchange experience: 24 years. Tackett has worked as a laborer, stocker, senior sales associate (PowerZone); photo technician (when the Exchange developed film for customers in a machine in a darkroom); supervisor; deployed store tech manager, in Iraq near Baghdad; and later sales area manager (PowerZone/Outdoor Living/major appliances).  Then, soon after entering management at Scott Air Force Base, he was asked to PCS to Fort Leavenworth, where he worked as a sales & merchandise manager and then operations manager, and now operates the Express as store manager.

Favorite job (so far): “Store manager, because it’s my own facility. I take ownership; when I make decisions for the facility, I can see what the results are, and I’m able to communicate, instruct, train, and mentor my associates.”

Exchange connections: Tackett wasn’t the first in his family to work at the Exchange. His brother Charlie started working at the Burger King on Scott Air Force Base in 1988 when he was 16 and still does. Their mother Mary, who retired from the Exchange after 20 years, started in 1996. She was a food service foreman who worked at Frank’s Franks, Robin Hood and Anthony’s Pizza.

What brought him to the Exchange: When he started his first job as a laborer at the Exchange in 1997, he wasn’t thinking long-term; he had a college degree and was looking for any job he could find.

But several things convinced him to stay: his Exchange management team supported him, he discovered that he enjoyed working in sales and making the customer’s day, and in 2004 he deployed to Iraq.

“It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career,” Tackett said. “I really enjoyed the camaraderie with fellow associates there, and also with the customers—they’re so appreciative of you being there.”

During the last three months of his deployment, Tackett worked as a courier and traveled all over Iraq. He saw what the military goes through on a deployment, and even got a taste of the military experience in a combat zone. “A mortar went over our tent, and I saw shredded vehicles, including one from AAFES.”

Fellow Exchange associate Sarah Briggs was riding in that vehicle, part of a convoy, when it was destroyed by a massive explosion. She suffered shrapnel wounds to an eye, face, right arm, right leg and backside. A corporate university conference room at Exchange headquarters is named after her.

Military connections: Tackett was a military brat, and his experience when he deployed to Iraq for the Exchange gave him a deeper respect for his father’s service. His father Clarence was a Vietnam Veteran who retired after 20 years in the Air Force. Tackett’s son-in-law, David McFarland, served in the Navy.

Why he likes working at the Exchange: Tackett loves his job because of the customers, the job benefits (not many companies provide a pension anymore, he says) and the support he received from Exchange managers who mentored him early in his career.

“I had a great store manager, Linda Thompson at Scott AFB, who fought for her associates; she fought hard to make sure that my temporary promotion as a sales area manager was made permanent. And Erette Barrett, a sales & merchandise manager at Scott AFB, encouraged me to tell my leaders the positions I wanted and was pleased to see that I asked the GM about the sales area manager position. Her advice was if there’s a job that you want, make sure you let leadership know that you want it. It’s been my motto ever since.

“All of their work for me has made me strive to do my very best,” Tackett said.

 

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