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ALBANY, GA (WALB) – The United States Marine Corps does business with many companies that supply products and services to bases and employees.
Representatives from some of those visited the Marine Base in Albany to meet the people they usually work with online, or over the phone.
You've heard the saying people do business with people. That's true, even for the Marine Corps, and that's why they are working to build relationships with key suppliers.
They're not Marines, but Thursday, they took over the base.
"We have a group of visitors from the different wholesale activities that provide support to the Marine Corps," said Supplier Relationship Manager Ret. Col. Joe Wingard.
If you can find it on the Marine Base, it likely came from one of these suppliers. "A lot of repair parts, but all kinds of other things too, clothing, subsistence, ammunitions, anything."
Sarah Kovacs works for the Army, but she sells to the Marine Corps. "I manage camouflage nets, so I deal with them a lot."
But mostly, she deals with them over the phone. Today, she got her first lesson on marksmanship, from a trained professional, building relationships with the people she speaks to over the line from her post in New Jersey.
"It just helps things run smoother, when we both understand procedures," Kovacs said.
"We're trying to establish an effective relationship with those suppliers so that if we need anything, we know who to call instead of having to call the 1-800 number and go wait, wait, wait and maybe get the right person," Wingard said.
The purpose of today's event was to give the suppliers a little touch of what Marines do everyday. "A lot of first time shooters out here and with the coaches we had, they were knocking out the black."
They won't let me shoot the real guns, because of my delicate situation, but they will let me shoot a simulated M-16, which is just as accurate.
But even if the marks from the guns weren't right on target, the mission today was.
"You gotta be able to joke around and talk to 'em like they're normal people and we want them to think that we're normal people, not all we do is go to combat, we want them to think of us like we think of them," Sgt. John Kadell.
And know who the voice on the other end of the line is, in order to continue their relationships in the future.
Suppliers today not only took part in activities at the shooting range, they took a tour of the Maintenance Center.
They were also treated to a performance by the Marine Corps band Wednesday night at the base.