By Jim CunninghamMarch 17, 2010
USAG Casey, South Korea Aca,!" The Gateway Club on U.S. Army Garrison Casey and its business manager, Avelina Richardson, have been named best in the Army for 2009.
The garrisonAca,!a,,cs Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation division learned earlier this month that the club and Richardson earned the James A. Carroll Jr. Award in the Club, Food, Beverage and Entertainment category for the annual competition.
According to FMWR leadership, much of the clubAca,!a,,cs credit goes to Richardson.
"Her dedication to duty, coupled with her expertise of the food and beverage operation, has resulted in the Gateway/Primo's Express operation being (a region leader) in sales and net income,Aca,!A? said Christopher Bradford, USAG Red Cloud FMWR acting director.
And Richardson has been instrumental in the success of several Recreation Delivery System programs during the judging period, Bradford noted, adding: Aca,!A"This is exceptional performance for a remote and isolated location, (which is) challenged by high labor costs, base access restrictions, and force realignments throughout Casey and South Korea."
Overall, FMWR programs on Red Cloud and Casey have received the James A. Carroll Jr. award for excellence six times in the past four years, including: 2006, the Red Cloud Bowling Center; 2007, the Gateway and Richardson; 2008, Casey Lanes and manager Gerald Keener; 2008, Bradford for business management; and 2009, Richardson and the Gateway Club chosen once again.
"The Army does not allow the same person and service to be chosen two years in a row," Bradford said. "You have to wait a year in between, so basically this is a back-to-back for Richardson."
Bradford points out one major ingredient leading to the GatewayAca,!a,,cs success: a staff knowing what customers expect.
"A few years back,Aca,!A? he said, Aca,!A"we spent a lot of time and energy doing focus groups with Soldiers and their Family members to find what they wanted (in regards) to renovations we were planning for the lounge and restaurant area. We had a lot of inputAca,!A|the renovations Aca,!" from the shape and size and location of the bar to the pool tables, even the color of the room Aca,!" were determined by our customers."
"We left out no details; we provided everything they wanted, including delivery services and entertainment," Richardson said.