DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich. - Key customers from throughout the arsenal gathered Jan. 26 in the auditorium of building 200 to get updates on services provided by the garrison and learn how they can help improve those services.

"It's important that our key customers know what services we provide and know the role they play in improving those services," said Carrie Mead, chief of the garrison Plans, Analysis and Integration Office. "This forum gave us an opportunity to talk to customers from throughout the arsenal and get feedback on whether we're doing the right things and if we're doing them right."

More than 50 representatives from many different work centers heard briefings from safety, public works, fire, police, Family and Morale Welfare and Recreation and other garrison representatives and had the opportunity to ask questions. Garrison leaders discussed services such as 911 service, family programs, custodial services, bussing and parking issues.

They also explained how customers can relay positive and negative comments to leadership to get people recognized or correct a problem.

"We can't be everywhere all the time," said Mead. "The key customers act as our eyes and ears in their workplaces and help keep us informed of workforce concerns. They also serve as a tool for getting information out to the arsenal."

Key customers are selected to represent their specific work area. They are go-to people in the organization that know how to get things done. The program was initially in place as a way for the Department of Public Works to help monitor how custodial services were being provided throughout the arsenal. Garrison leadership saw this group of people as another avenue for getting feedback and for getting messages out at the grassroots level.

"Most information flows up and down the chain of command which is often the way it needs to be," said Brenda Lee McCullough, garrison manager. "But sometimes the best way to get information out is to get informed people in the workplace talking about it. That's what these representatives and this forum gives us the opportunity to do."

Feedback from participants through the Interactive Customer Evaluations has been very positive so far, according to Jay Bunton, member of the PAIO team and forum organizer.

"We put together our ICE survey and got it sent out the morning following the forum," said Adrianne McLarahmore, ICE coordinator. "People were happy with the presenters and felt the information provided was useful."

Several forum attendees won gift certificates and an entertainment book from FMWR.

"We wanted to have a simple way to say thank you to those who attended the forum and for helping us throughout the year," said Mead. "The prizes were a simple way to do that and will hopefully foster continued participation in future forums."