By Steve Applegate, Naval Support Activity Panama City Public Affairs
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (NNS) -- Naval Support Activity Panama City Navy Exchange (NEX)received the 2009 Bingham Award during a ceremony at the Long Glass Conference Center July 28.
The Bingham Award was established in 1979 as a way to recognize outstanding performance in customer service and exchange operations. Navy Exchange Service Operations (NEXCOM) presents the awards annually to the exchanges that demonstrate superior performance throughout the year.
"The Bingham Award recognizes Navy Exchanges (NEXs) who do great work every day throughout the year in support of our Sailors," said Gary King, senior vice president of operations in the continental U.S., Navy Exchange Service Command. "This award is presented to the best of the best. Only nine out of 103 Navy Exchanges are selected … you are part of an elite group and you should be congratulated."
Navy Exchange Panama City is the Bingham award winner in the U.S. sales category for $2-$5 million in sales. NSA PC's NEX won the award by boosting sales six percent and reducing costs by more than 10 percent. Ensuring top-notch customer service skills were in place helped yield a 53 percent increase in operating profit and resulted in the first Morale, Welfare and Recreation payout in years.
King emphasized the importance of the associates who earned the award, and said without them and their hard work the award wouldn't have been possible. He recognized that while the Panama City Exchange is small by comparison, the associates here need to be multi-talented. Debbie Elder, Panama City NEX manager, wholeheartedly agreed.
"In this store, everyone does everything," said Elder, who has headed the NSA Panama City store for 18 months. In that time frame, the NEX's customer satisfaction survey score went up an incredible 18 points, to 88, with associate satisfaction up eight points to a score of 85.
"It's a real testament to Deb and her team—they have made Navy Exchange Panama City a great place to shop and work," said King. Nine 'Team Panama City' NEX associates attended the ceremony and were congratulated by command leadership and NEX customers across the base.
"This is a great honor for this base and its tenant commands. The bottom line is improving the quality of life for our Sailors and their families," said Cmdr. Jessica Pfefferkorn, Commanding Officer, Naval Support Activity Panama City. "This award is truly about the associates who made this happen."