SEMBACH, Germany – Mary Schweitzer still tries to make it to the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort when she gets the chance. But it is never far from her mind.
“The three years I spent at the Edelweiss were equivalent to working front door at a garrison, and I needed to do that,” said Schweitzer, the Non-Appropriated Funds Support Services chief for Installation Management Command-Europe. “I didn’t know I needed to do that, but when I got there, I needed to go to the garrison level and see how difficult it is to do that every day.”
Aside from her time as the chief financial officer there from 2012 to 2015, and the very beginnings of her career with the Mainz Military Community in 1986, Schweitzer has spent her career at the headquarters level.
“I’ve worked in different positions. I started out as a budget analyst for USAREUR, then the budget chief, and then I eventually became the NAF support manager,” Schweitzer said of her time with the organization that was first with U.S. Army Europe, then the Installation Management Agency, into what became IMCOM.
Still, feeling connected to and helping or supporting garrisons is what she enjoys most.
“It’s definitely helping the garrisons. Problem solving. The garrisons are the ones on the ground with the customers. They’re the ones that deal with Soldiers and families,” she said.
Problem solving – and specifically facing the challenge of dwindling resources – is the most challenging part of the job, which includes oversight of financial management, information technology and NAF construction across the region.
“It’s been more of a challenge to try to continue to provide world-class support to Soldiers and families in MWR with dwindling resources that we’ve all experienced; it’s not just MWR,” she said.
Helping the garrisons continue to provide top-notch support in such a fiscal environment has given her and the team the chance to become more creative in their search for solutions.
“We’ve had to become innovative. We’ve had to look for other sources of NAF revenue, and we’ve had to adjust our vision to become more businesslike, which is difficult,” she said, noting that the broad portfolio of MWR programs includes everything from libraries to child care to night clubs.
“I truly admire what the garrisons are doing day-to-day,” she said.