HomeNewsArticle Display

Airman's Spotlight: Heather Slate

Heather Slate, 47th Force Support Squadron bowling center recreational assistant, rolls a ball down one of Laughlin’s many bowling lanes at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Dec. 11, 2018. For Slate, customer service at the Cactus Lanes Bowling Alley provides an avenue to forge new friendships, a shoulder for familiar faces to lean on in hard times, giving community members reasons to keep coming back. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Senior Airman Daniel Hambor)

Heather Slate, 47th Force Support Squadron bowling center recreational assistant, stands among the bowling lanes at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas’ bowling alley, Dec. 11, 2018. Being the bright personality and positive, professional face of the Cactus Lanes Bowling Alley, Slate exceeds beyond the definition of customer service. She, and the rest of the bowling alley team, keep Team XL’s spirits high every time anyone finishes a good meal or game on the lanes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Hambor)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

Customer service careers, for some who work in those fields, provide much more than just products or services.

For Heather Slate, 47th Force Support Squadron bowling center recreational assistant, customer service provides an avenue to forge new friendships, a shoulder for familiar faces to lean on in hard times, giving community members reasons to keep coming back.

“It’s not just serving food and bowling, we’re here to be friends or whatever we need to be to make Laughlin the best,” she said. “We succeed as a team, and we fail as a team. We are all a team here.”

Slate provides over-the-counter service and basic mechanical troubleshooting for the lanes, all while being a liaison between her leadership, peers and the bowling alley’s customers.

“Sometimes I’m off in my world, doing my thing, so she’s really my eyes and ears,” said Gerri Fisher, 47th Force Support Squadron bowling center manager. “If there are issues, something going well, or even feedback through comment cards or customer suggestions—she communicates them to me when I’m not always immediately available.”

Slate believes that great service starts not only with good food, but by being positive and being a face people remember every time they come back, especially during difficult times.

“Recently, we’ve had a lot of stuff happen on Laughlin,” Slate said. “It’s our job to make sure that we know our customers and ask if they’re having a good day, and really tune into their personalities. We don’t just provide food and bowling, we get to know people.”

Having been recently promoted, she now schedules and manages events facilitated in the bowling alley like baby showers, spouses’ meetings, Airmen bowling nights, and Laughlin’s famous Single Laughlin Airman’s Meal. For those who attend these events, it brings the base’s Airmen closer together and is the bedrock of what many call Laughlin’s tight-knit community.

In keeping with positive vibes and good times, Slate took the initiative to bring more cheer to the bowling alley by decorating for Halloween and the holidays.

“I like to decorate and have everything festive and light up when people walk in,” she said. “When anyone comes inside a facility that’s decorated, their whole attitude changes.”

Being the bright personality and positive, professional face of the bowling alley, Slate exceeds beyond the definition of customer service. She, and the rest of the bowling alley team, keep Team XL’s spirits high every time anyone finishes a good meal or game on the lanes.