F.E. Warren says goodbye to AAFES manager

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jason Wiese
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
The F.E. Warren community recently said goodbye to its Army and Air Force Exchange Service manager, Jeff Hyatt. Serving as manager since 2010, Hyatt's last day was Aug. 2, and he left to continue his career as AAFES manager at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

In 1994, Hyatt began his 19-year-long AAFES career in Germany. He said many people do not know AAFES personnel deploy to different areas around the world, and since his beginnings in Germany he has worked for the Exchange in Croatia, Hungary, Bosnia, Yugoslavia, Belgium and finally the U.S.

During his travels, his three children were all born in different countries, he said.

"I have a bunch of foreign kids," he joked.

One might have trouble telling that was a joke, however. According to Sharon Miazga, F.E. Warren AAFES service business manager, who worked with Hyatt for three years, sometimes he appears serious even when he is joking.

His last assignment before taking over as manager for F.E. Warren's Exchange was at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Hyatt's boss there saw something in him and sent him to classroom training to become a manager, he said. Later, in 2010, Hyatt made his way here to take over as Exchange manager.

"I've been everywhere from a sales associate in the Power Zone to my current position as manager," he said. "I appreciated coming here because, not only did I get the support from the command to make the changes necessary to improve the facilities, but I got support from the community as well."

In his office, Hyatt displayed an American Flag flown over Afghanistan by his sister.

"I have an emotional connection to the military," he said. "My dad was a Marine, my sister flies C-130s and I have a cousin in the Army who's currently serving in Iraq."

While Warren's AAFES manager, Hyatt oversaw the investment of approximately $1.8 million improving facilities in 2012.

Hyatt brought something new to the base, Miazga said.

"He's made a lot of improvements," she said. "He did a lot of work to the theater."

The early part of this decade has proven financially scary for many businesses, and in 2012 Hyatt received word AAFES intended to shut down the F.E. Warren base theater, and he was expected to facilitate its closure, he said.

Instead, Hyatt fought to convince his higher-ups the theater was not only worth keeping, but worth upgrading to digital, he said. His efforts were successful, and today movie-goers can enjoy digital picture and sound each weekend at the theater.

In his first year here, the theater was losing money. Last year, the theater turned a profit, and this year, sales are approximately 20 percent above where they were at the same time last year, he said.

Another facility upgraded during Hyatt's tenure as F.E. Warren Exchange manager was the Express, formerly known as the Shoppette.

In 2012, the Shoppette was remodeled and re-designated the Express. The Express includes a more efficient floor plan on the inside and offers diesel gasoline at the pumps, Hyatt said.

In addition to these changes, AAFES invested approximately $750,000 improving the Burger King on base, updated the Power Zone and introduced the gun counter in the Main Exchange. Scheduled future projects include expansion of the Main Exchange.

Hyatt's ultimate goal is to have as many Airmen do things on base as possible, he said.

"If this gets somebody to do something other than going out to a club, everybody wins," he said. "We were working with the mission support group and the force support squadron continually to try to improve and increase the services we already had in place during this time of budget cuts."

Customers have commented positively on changes, Miazga said.

"My greatest enjoyment about working here is giving my facility managers and associates the empowerment to run the facilities," Hyatt said. "We've spent a great deal on training in the last year. Working with this team now and seeing how much they've grown has been very fulfilling.

"You guys in the military have the coolest job, but I think I have the greatest job because I get to take care of those who have the coolest job. It's what keeps me going, and it'll keep me going for another 11 years until I retire."