Pursuit of excellence

Command Sgt. Maj. Tomeka O’Neal, Defense Commissary Agency senior enlisted advisor, presents a coin to Jared Dunham, a Holloman Air Force Base Commissary manager, Jan. 30, 2020, on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. O’Neal travels to commissary locations worldwide and focuses on the shopping experience of the commissary patrons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Quion Lowe)
February 04, 2020

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. – The Defense Commissary Agency senior enlisted advisor visited the base commissary, Jan. 30, 2020, here.

As DeCA senior enlisted advisor, Command Sgt. Maj. Tomeka O’Neal travels to commissary locations worldwide. O’Neal’s main focus is to ensure commissary patrons have a great shopping experience and are motivated to return.

“What I see when I first walk in the store is very important to me, and for the most part, our commissaries display top notch cleanliness,” said O’Neal. “From there I walk around the store making sure that we are adhering to our ‘quality first’ standards, because everything about the commissary is for the servicemen and women who’ve earned that benefit.”

In order to maintain the high standards DeCA has for their stores and employees, O’Neal stresses that feedback and open communication is relayed between the individual stores and headquarters.

“I believe in the teams we have out there; they’re going to take care of each and every store to the best of their ability,” said O’Neal. “I focus on bigger concerns (from store managers) and bring them back to headquarters and say ‘hey, we got a couple of our stores out there in the field that we might need to take a look at, certain aspects to make their field operations better.’”

Another responsibility for O’Neal, other than ensuring the commissary’s customers have a good shopping experience, is checking on DeCA’s employees.

“When I come out, my intent is to check on the health, welfare, safety and morale of our workforce,” said O’Neal. “DeCA has over 13,000 employees. We have nearly 240 commissaries, and it’s critical to ensure the standards are met across the board.”

While O’Neal makes countless visits to commissaries worldwide, there was still excitement amongst the Holloman commissary’s management team, as they have not had anyone from DeCA headquarters visit in a few years.

“It’s so exciting to have someone from headquarters come down in support of those of us in the field, seeing what we do every day,” said Dwinette Martin, Holloman AFB Commissary assistant commissary officer.

Both O’Neal and the Holloman commissary’s management team said they are committed to making the customers’ shopping experience the best it can be. Thus they encourage customer feedback to help DeCA deliver a better commissary benefit.

“If you are an avid commissary shopper you should definitely go to,” said O’Neal. “We have a social media platform that is out there, and we are on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. There are numerous ways you can reach out to post your comments, good, bad or indifferent about any of our locations. Everything revolves around our patrons, we want our patrons to have the best experience whenever they walk through those doors because they’ve earned it.”