FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - More than two-thousand Army civilians provide services on Fort Wainwright and one of them has her finger on the pulse of what's going good, and where improvements can be made. The customer base puts Soldiers and Family members first-and-foremost, but also includes the various Fort Wainwright directorates, retirees and the civilian community outside the wire.
Sonja Taylor is the customer evaluation analyst for the United States Army Garrison Fort Wainwright Plans, Analysis and Integration Office. She oversees the interactive customer evaluation system, which provides online feedback on post-wide services and allows participants an opportunity to suggest changes. She said she is passionate about accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative. "I want ICE to be recognized not a complaint department, but a tool to be used to initiate positive change," she said.
Fairbanks has been Taylor's home for 11-years. She previously lived in Delta Junction and worked at Fort Greely, but moved after the Base Closure and Realignment Commission decision in 2001. "I was working at Gottschalks (a former Fairbanks department store) before landing my first real job in Fairbanks," she said. "I was being observed by a customer, who approached me and asked me to apply for a job with their organization. That lead to a job on Fort Wainwright and the rest is history."
"The garrison is incredibly blessed to have Sonja as a part of the team," said Angela Major, PAIO chief. "She is truly passionate about serving Soldiers, Families, civilians and retirees and delivering excellent customer service. Her proudest moments are when she helps resolve customer concerns and finds the happy endings."
Taylor has been married to Greg, assistant manager at Melaven Fitness Center, and "seasoned racquetball enthusiast" for 26 years. He said, "It's been fun and we've enjoyed Alaska to the fullest."
The Taylors love the outdoors. He has a lot of stories to tell about King and Silver salmon fishing with his wife and more. They love to hike, bike, snowboard, golf and enjoy adventuring.
Taylor said, "Sonja is a combination of trusting and fearless." He shared stories about the several times they floated the Gulkana River with Sonja carrying everyone's gear in a raft. "I told her it was a piece of cake; she learned real fast how to maneuver a raft." In another adventure, he said, "We were dropped off by helicopter on mountain peaks the size of a postage-stamp and snowboarded down (the mountain) outside of Valdez."
In addition to being courageous, she must have a little luck on her side. "Once near Summit Lake while snowmachining, she followed me up a ridge. It split away from the edge and she ended up riding an avalanche to the bottom on her machine," he said, "Both rider and machine made it down. Someone was definitely watching over her that day."
In addition to living life to its fullest, Taylor also gives back to her community by being involved in volunteer events for the Survivor Outreach Services program on post and attends the Retiree Council. "Sonja approaches each situation as a challenge and immediately starts to help by providing
Resources," said D'Letter Shumate, Exceptional Family Member program coordinator.
Shenicia Askew, administrative assistant to the garrison commander said, "Sonja is cheerful and helpful. She is always smiling no matter what the situation may be and as the customer evaluation analyst for the garrison she is very committed to the Customer Service Award Program for the garrison in ensuring that Garrison employees are recognized."
"She is a strong resourceful and enthusiastic part of the Fort Wainwright Team, said coworker George Brunner, lead management-program analyst, PAIO. "She recognizes the importance of improving the quality of life for our Soldiers, Families and civilian workforce. She displays confidence and the fortitude required to face the toughest challenges and she brings the workforce and community together as one."
"Her hard work and dedication helps make Fort Wainwright an installation of choice for those who cannot wait to get here and never want to leave," Major said.