Craft retires with over 38 years of service
FORT LEE, Va. – Cynthia A. Craft, director of human resources for the Defense Commissary Agency since 2013, retired from the federal government with over 38 years of civil service, effective July 31.
Craft had served as HR director since May 2013, following the retirement of previous director Kaye Kennedy. Rebecca E. Haase, was appointed acting HR director until a new one is selected.
“Cindy led HR through perhaps the most historic and impactful events our workforce has faced since the agency stood up in 1991,” said DeCA Director and CEO Bill Moore. “Her leadership, knowledge and experience helped transition our employees through DeCA’s business transformation and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“She has definitely helped us position our workforce for present and future success in delivering the commissary benefit to our customers,” he added. “We wish her all the best in her retirement.”
On July 29, Moore presented Craft the DeCA Civilian Career Service Award during her retirement ceremony at agency headquarters.
As HR director, Craft was responsible for the agency’s HR management programs and operations. Her responsibilities span employee and labor relations, workers’ compensation, staffing and classification, workforce development, and personnel data systems management for more than 13,000 DeCA employees worldwide.
As Craft reflected on her DeCA career, she flashed through many of the milestone projects and initiatives that she either participated in as an HR team member or managed as the director. Her tenure in human resources indeed reflected the many changes that shaped DeCA’s universe over the last two decades:
- Agency reorganizations, hiring freezes due to budget reductions
- Implementation of the National Security Personnel System (NSPS)
- Deployment of Commissary Levels of Authorized Standard Services (CLASS)
- Instituting the Defense Performance Management and Appraisal Program (DPMAP)
- Government shutdown and administrative furloughs
- Multiple studies on potential conversion to non-appropriated funds
- COVID-19 pandemic
- Deployment of DeCA's first learning management system (LMS)
“Transformation and constant change are part of every day in human resources,” Craft said. “We are either looking for ways to transform to become more effective and efficient
internally, or we are assisting other organizations within the agency with their transformation efforts.
“It all begins with the duties that HR classifies and the people that HR assists managers in hiring to support the mission,” she added. “The HR team is resilient and flexible. Whatever the challenge, HR has always risen to the occasion.”
Before her assignment as deputy director, Craft was part of the DeCA transition team that implemented the National Security Personnel System, and she served as the DeCA compensation program manager.
Craft began her government career in 1983, serving in various clerical and personnel positions for the U.S. Army. From 1984 to 1987, she occupied various personnel positions for the U.S. Army Troop Support Agency at Fort Lee, Virginia. In 1987, she transferred to the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA).
She later became part of the team that stood up personnel servicing for DeCA at DLA in 1993 and continued that service until 1998. In 2000, Craft transferred from DLA to DeCA as a human resources specialist.
Craft graduated from Bluefield College, Virginia, in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in organizational management and development. She was certified as a DOD Advisory Compensation Analyst in 2008 and as a DOD Strategic Business Partner in 2010. She was awarded the DeCA Superior Civilian Service Award in 2005, the Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 2014 and the Distinguished Civilian Service Award in 2017.
“My goal was to leave the HR directorate better than I found it,” Craft said. “I can say
that I tried every day to create a working environment that was pleasant and treat others as I would want to be treated. I tried to do the right thing for the agency and provide professional advice and support to our customers.
“I believe it takes a village to be successful, and I believe the HR team consistently steps up to the plate to make that happen,” she added. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to work with. I truly appreciate the support, the comradery, professionalism and dedication the HR team has shown to me and this agency.”
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. Commissaries provide a military benefit, saving authorized patrons thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to similar products at commercial retailers. The discounted prices include a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. 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.