The Defense Commissary Agency: Yolanda Bowden named shopper insights chief; Willie Watkins selected chief of e-commerce

FORT LEE, Va., 2014-2-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Yolanda Bowden has been selected chief of the shopper insights division for the Defense Commissary Agency, and Willie Watkins has been selected chief of e-commerce. Bowden’s selection is effective Jan. 25 and Watkins’ selection, Dec. 15, 2013.

Both the shopper insights and e-commerce divisions were created after an agency reorganization process that began in October 2012 and resulted in activation of the business development directorate. Shopper insights and e-commerce are instrumental in helping DeCA lay the groundwork for a modern, 21st century benefit, said Gordon Jones, director of business development.

“Our agency must stay connected to how our patrons shop, who they are and what they want,” Jones said. “Both Yolanda and Willie have the knowledge and expertise needed to help DeCA stay in sync with our shoppers and shape our course in shopper insights and e-commerce.”

Bowden assigned to shopper insights

Bowden is responsible for communicating the commissary benefit’s value to customers through social media, responding to customer questions or issues through the Your Action Line Program and formulating strategic plans for retail innovations. She also oversees the agency’s brand strategy to ensure a consistent image of the commissary through all customer, stakeholder and employee communication points.

Bowden previously served in several positions at DeCA headquarters. Her commissary career started in 2003 as an administrative assistant. She has worked as an information technology specialist from 2004 to 2008 and as a program and business management analyst from 2010 to 2011. She also worked as a business analyst from 2012 to 2014 with the shopper insights division.

Bowden has served in other civilian positions to include the Department of the Army and Federal Aviation Administration. She served in the Army from 1983 to 1987, achieving the rank of sergeant. In 2009, Bowen received her Master of Acquisitions and Contracting degree from Florida Institute of Technology.

Watkins assigned to e-commerce

Watkins is responsible for advancing the agency’s e-commerce presence thus offering customers increased accessibility to the commissary benefit. He has purview over mobile technology applications and other technology media to increase customers’ understanding of what commissaries have to offer and to make their shopping experience more gratifying.

Watkins has held various positions at both store and headquarters levels. His career began in 1984 as an airman at Beale Air Force Base, Calif. His assignments included commissaries in Germany, New Jersey and the Netherlands. He also worked as an Air Force enlisted recruiter from 1999 to 2004. Following his retirement from the Air Force in 2004, his commissary management career began with a position in Germany. Since then he has been assigned to stores in Virginia and Indiana.

Watkins was assigned to headquarters in 2008 as program manager for Guard and Reserve on-site sales, and then in 2011 as program manager for Guard and Reserve on-site sales/e-commerce. In 2012, he became and operations analyst for the e-commerce division. Watkins received his Master of Business Administration degree from Averett University in 2011.

“I’m confident that with Yolanda and Willie’s skills and knowledge, the agency will continue to improve and expand new business opportunities for the agency,” Jones said.

About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Authorized patrons purchase items at cost plus a 5–percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. Shoppers save an average of more than 30 percent on their purchases compared to commercial prices – savings amounting to thousands of dollars annually. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.

Media Contact:
Kevin L. Robinson
(804) 734-8000, Ext. 4-8773
kevin.robinson@deca.mil

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