Picatinny’s Business and Recreation Chief wins Army’s top award for excellence in business management

By Eric KowalFebruary 23, 2024

Richard “Rick” Helmrich, Business and Recreation Chief, Picatinny Arsenal’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (FMWR) Directorate (center) receives the James A. Carrol Jr. Award from Lt. Gen. Omar Jones, Commanding General, U.S. Army IMCOM.
Richard “Rick” Helmrich, Business and Recreation Chief, Picatinny Arsenal’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (FMWR) Directorate (center) receives the James A. Carrol Jr. Award from Lt. Gen. Omar Jones, Commanding General, U.S. Army IMCOM. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - Richard “Rick” Helmrich, Business and Recreation Chief, Picatinny Arsenal’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (FMWR) Directorate, was presented with the U.S. Army’s top award for excellence in business management during a ceremony on Feb. 6 at Shades of Green, a Department of Defense-operated and Disney-affiliated resort in Orlando, Florida.

Each year, U.S. Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM) awards the most qualified candidates across U.S. Army garrisons with the James A. Carrol Jr. Award. This year, Lt. Gen. Omar Jones, Commanding General, U.S. Army IMCOM, presented Helmrich with his award in the category of “Best Business Operations, Excellence in Business Operations.”

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

“Being recognized by the IMCOM leadership team is a great honor,” Helmrich said of the achievement. “It represents the hard work and dedication of the entire Picatinny MWR team. I am grateful to be a part of such a wonderful organization.”

Helmrich was hired in December 2019 as the installation’s Food and Beverage Director just prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Upon seeing the negative impact that the pandemic had on the Picatinny community, business programs, and organization finances, he offered to assume more responsibility to aid the organization's recovery and began seeking solutions.

Helmrich took on collateral duties to support multiple business and recreation programs to include Recreational Lodging, Aquatics, Leisure Travel Services, Fitness, and Golf. As of October 2022, he assumed responsibility as Business and Recreation Chief. In doing so, he also retained primary responsibility over the Food, Beverage, and Entertainment program.

“Since arriving at Picatinny Arsenal, Rick has become a change agent for our FMWR organization and a vital component to our growth and development as an installation,” said Lt. Col. Alexander D. Burgos, Picatinny Arsenal Garrison Commander. “The impact on the quality of life for our community has been second to none because of his leadership and vision.”

As fiscal years 2022 and 2023 began to resemble operations before the pandemic, Helmrich implemented innovative solutions such as the development of a bridal hospitality suite and rebranding of The Club at Picatinny that resulted in an increase in catering sales by nearly 50%.

Helmrich also assisted in the launch of Toad’s General Store which is an expansion of the food service at the Frog Falls aquatic park. By eliminating some underutilized administrative space, he created an indoor ice cream parlor and general store. This resulted in increased sales and expanded services to include retail sales of apparel and common swim items such as sunblock, towels, and toys.

These solutions resulted in historic financial performance of community support revenue-generating programs that far exceed pre-pandemic levels.

The improved service level to the community was evident in overall customer satisfaction surveys (more than 90 percent), but also in many key metrics. Participation in special events and programming, catering bookings, golf annual fee dues, and pool membership revenue all increased significantly.

In total the revenue-generating programs net revenue in fiscal year 2023 increased by $287, 000 compared to the prior fiscal year. Food and Beverage Operations improved by $199,000 and Golf operations by $82,000.

“Rick has consistently demonstrated outstanding leadership and business practices during his time with Family and MWR,” said Andrew Ciccolella, Director, Picatinny Arsenal FMWR. “He has a creative and innovative mindset that challenges the status quo which has resulted better service for the customers and created a positive work environment for our employees. Our community is very fortunate to have him leading our Business and Recreation operations here at Picatinny.”

For more information on Picatinny Arsenal’s FMWR program visit Picatinny Arsenal - US Army MWR