by Brian Lamar, U.S. Navy Public Affairs
The Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Navy Exchange (NEX) main store is no stranger to well-trained and motivated leadership with previous personnel like Brandy Asher and Jason Bothe.
It seems as if Navy Exchange Command has done NCBC a solid favor one more time by placing Renee Sharp into the store manager role.
Sharp, whose personality and intellect seem to live up to her name, slid into the role as she circles the sun for the 30th time under the NEX corporate umbrella with a large array of skill sets due to previous positions.
As a child, Sharp experienced poverty in Buffalo, New York. As soon as she graduated high school, she joined the Navy as a way out of town.
“Growing up in Buffalo, I always had a gypsy soul. I grew up poor, and I always had a paper route and worked at Burger King to help out. My mom was a single mom for a while, and it was rough on her. She would say, ‘I want better for you than I have had for myself,’” said Sharp.
Those words of motivation propelled Sharp to leave home and set out on a life-long adventure.
Due to her upbringing, Sharp obtained a strong work ethic and a corporate ethos that would propel her through her NEX career into the role she is in now.
“I have always had a simple philosophy at work. If you are paying me for a job, I need to do it and give it my best effort,” said Sharp.
Sharp knew that one thing would separate her hard work from the crowd and help her stand out: her knowledge base.
“The more info I can have and the more I can learn about all aspects of my organization, the more valuable I am to my organization, my team, and my customers. It makes you a better person all the way around,” Sharp explained.
“Of course when I started out in this career, I had no idea where it would lead,” Sharp said, as she reflected on her multitude of positions over the past three decades within Navy Exchange.
“I spent four years in the Navy as an Interior Communications electrician. I got stationed in Iceland with my husband where I got my first NEX position in the deli,” Sharp reflected.
From there, Sharp followed her husband’s career and took advantage of the easy transfer/continuity system for military spouse employees when she worked in places like Iceland and Key West over the years.
Although Sharp began in the deli, lunch meat cold cuts couldn’t contain her drive. She found herself working in NEX warehouses, where she honed her supply and logistics knowledge base. Later on, she was promoted to operations manager, where she perfected her management skills. In 2000, Sharp got a taste of coastal Mississippi when she came to NCBC as the ops manager for several years. She spent some time at NAS Jacksonville before her second tour in Gulfport. Eventually, Sharp’s military spouse retired and Sharp found herself in Guantanamo with her husband now following her career. Sharp stayed for three years as the store manager until being hired to come back stateside and take on the role of store manager at NCBC.
Sharp attributes her rise through the corporate ranks to two main categories: willingness to learn, and treating people well.
“I have always been a jack of all trades. I have always wanted to know as much as I could. For me, knowing how to treat people is something inherent. I take pride in knowing how to treat people like people,” she said. “Working in systems and ops prepared me because you have to have an overview of everything. I keep learning every day as we do system upgrades and how different stores do different things,” she said.
Sharp hopes to not only bring new skills to Gulfport, but she hopes to be able to pass on her knowledge gained over her adult life with NEX.
“I am not through learning yet. My associates will teach me a lot, and I am able to take my varied experiences and teach my team new things,” Sharp explained.
Now that Sharp is in her dream location permanently, her personal goals are to begin looking to buy her dream home and spend time on the beach barbecuing and having crawfish boils with friends.
“My main goals now are to continue to build a cohesive team and focus on hiring, which is difficult right now everywhere. If I can build a team that works well together and helps the customer, then things will be smooth. We really do serve the best customers in the world. The Seabees have a special place in my heart,” said Sharp.