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March 23, 2012


Collaboration, relationships, relevance drive customer focus

Story & photos by Sgt. 1st Class Darrin McDufford, 88th Regional Support Command Public Affairs

FORT MCCOY, Wis. — The 88th Regional Support Command (RSC) hosted its fourth Customer Focus Workshop March 10-11 bringing more than 100 attendees together to discuss successes over the past year and the goals for the coming year.
PHOTO: Maj. Gen. Mark McCarley, First Army Deputy Commanding General, speaks of First Army’s impact on training. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Darrin McDufford
Maj. Gen. Mark McCarley, First Army Deputy Commanding General, speaks of First Army’s impact on training and where it’s going as the Army Force Generation model strategizes force modernization using core competencies.

The conference, hosted by Maj. Gen. Glenn J. Lesniak, commanding general of the 88th RSC, said the command’s mission focuses on the base operations, which includes construction; vehicle and equipment maintenance and storage; and administrative functions that include a myriad of items for Soldier sustainment.

“The workshop focus is to keep us connected with our customers. We want to validate that our process is relevant,” Lesniak commented. “This gives us an opportunity to share what our mission is for the year and gives them an opportunity to give us feedback.”

He stressed the importance of feedback, “It’s important to make sure what we’re doing supports the customer as they expect.”

Lesniak added that tasks generated in the meeting will be focused on, and the 88th will develop strategies to take action.

The priorities for 2012 leave no room for the command to slow down, said Lesniak. Some of the biggest concerns are safety, Soldier Readiness Processing Centers, medical board backlog, completing Base Realignment and Closure items, congressional liaisons, and continued customer attention.

Maj. Gen. Keith L. Thurgood, the deputy commanding general of the Army Reserve, commented on the workshop, “What we are trying to do in the Army Reserve is deliver the capabilities and the readiness that the nation needs when it needs it.”

PHOTO: Attendees at the 88th Regional Support Command Customer Service Workshop participate in a breakout session Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Darrin McDufford
Attendees at the 88th Regional Support Command Customer Service Workshop participate in a breakout session with the Directorate of Public Works. The session focused on progress and goals for base operational support to facilities regarding safety and environmental support to the Operational and Functional Commands, Army Reserve Soldiers, civilians, and Family members in the organization’s 19-state region.

The RSCs deliver support that allows commanders to focus on the operation and training of their units. “In a workshop like this you get commanders talking to each other, communicating and collaborating. When we do that we can solve problems and deliver readiness,” asserted Thurgood.

The importance of developing relationships among organizations in an RSC pushes the organization toward building solutions. Shared information and best practices are accomplished by communication.

“It is important that we have forums so we can share knowledge and identify problems therefore driving readiness,” Thurgood added.

Brig. Gen. Paul Benenati, commander of the 451st Expeditionary Sustainment Command in Wichita, Kan., said, “During the day back in the units we are very engaged in the daily operation of our units in preparing our commands.”

He further commented that going to a forum like this allows commanders to discuss the larger issues with the intention of focusing on strategic items affecting the command for which the 88th RSC is responsible.

Benenati remarked about the benefit of attending the conference, “I like the face-to-face interaction. It’s the small group and sharing of opinions and ideas that is most valuable to us.”

One final comment from Benenati was, “There are a lot of issues of concern, and by getting together we can identify trends, and, as a team, we can develop solutions.”

The conference shed light on what the 88th is doing to standardize its mission with the other regional support commands.
“What stands out in your mind is the recurring items asking questions about our ability. It’s time to check out each other (regional support commands) and see if we’re doing things the same way,” Lesniak said.

Thurgood echoed this.

“Collectively, when we get together and talk about the problems, we can then form great solutions, and we’re going to have better Soldiers, better Families and a much better Army Reserve at the end of the day,” Thurgood said.

“You’ve got to know what the Army Reserve is involved in, what role you play in the national defense strategy and the overall role we play in the Army,” Thurgood said to conference attendees.

In closing, Lesniak addressed the possibility of the expansion of the 88th’s support mission.

“There are new opportunities, especially around taking care of Soldiers. The breakout sessions are a forum to be sure we’re linking the objectives and raise questions so we can take action,” closed Lesniak.

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