Name: Manon Jacobs
Job title: Transportation Assistant
Assigned: Transportation Division at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Logistics Readiness Center Benelux, 405th Army Field Support Brigade
Location: SHAPE, Belgium
Experience: I’ve been working at LRC Benelux in the Transportation Division for more than two years. Before this I worked as a Human Resources Consultant at a temporary work agency for two years, and I worked at the front office of a 4-star hotel in Brussels, Belgium, for four years.
Hometown: Beloeil, Belgium
Family: I have one brother, my parents and two cats.
Q: Can you explain what your duties are as a transportation assistant at LRC Benelux?
A: I assist military members and Army civilians with scheduling their moves when they have to change duty stations, they are retiring or they are separating from the Army. I counsel them on their responsibilities as customers – what is their weight allowances, what they are authorized to ship or not and any restrictions based on their final destination because sometimes they don’t go back to the states. They go to Japan or Korea or another place where there are some unique restrictions. I work directly from the regulations – the joint travel regulations and the Defense Transportation Regulation. I also have to follow all the country instructions we have in our Defense Personnel Property system. I make sure the customers receive accurate and precise counseling. That’s very important because if I give them incorrect information, they may receive an unpleasant surprise when they arrive at their destination – they may have to pay additional costs because their shipment is overweight or they’re shipping to an alternate destination that was not authorized. So it’s very important to give a good briefing. I am also the link between the customers and the moving companies. If they need to schedule their delivery or track the status of their shipment, I am here to help.
Q: Why is the Transportation Division mission at LRC Benelux so important?
A: Like I said before, they may have specific restrictions based on their destination or the current situation. So it’s very important that we are here to assist them. Overseas, military members cannot book their shipments by themselves. In the U.S. they are authorized to do this, but here there are some specific documents that may be required such as customs forms or additional paperwork when shipping alcohol or a motorcycle. My colleagues and I are here to make sure all the required forms are completed and provided to the moving companies. If one document is missing, it may cause a lot of problems with customs. It’s important that I make sure everything is good to go. It can be very stressful when you arrive in a new country for the first time. The customers always have a lot of questions, and they are often stressed out waiting on their delivery. I can help them to make it easier – make their arrival easier and help make them feel better.
Q: What do you enjoy about your job, and what motivates you?
A: With my previous jobs and now, it’s all about customer service. I’ve always enjoyed being in contact with customers. Not just here – even when I was at the hotel or working as an HR consultant – I like to meet people, interact with customers and do my best to provide quality service with a smile. When you smile, your customers feel more comfortable, and you will be happier, too. When I worked at the hotel, my manager told me to always smile. Working in the service industry, your smile is the most important thing. Your smile can make your customer’s day, and I’m always smiling. It’s best to go through life with a smile – 24/7 – even when I’m sleeping and dreaming, I think I’m smiling.
LRC Benelux and 405th AFSB: When it comes to providing day-to-day installation services, LRC Benelux directs, manages and coordinates a variety of operations and activities in support of U.S. Army Garrison Benelux. LRC-Benelux reports to the 405th Army Field Support Brigade, which is assigned to U.S. Army Sustainment Command and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging U.S. Army Materiel Command’s materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website at www.afsbeurope.army.mil and the official Facebook site at www.facebook.com/405thAFSB.