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Distinguished Young AFCEAN (DYA)

2009 Award Winners



2009 DYA recipients are

(l-r): Raheem McCormick; John Nilsen; SSgt Crystal M. Swinton, USAF; Capt Erika C. Leach, USAF; Gordon B. MacMillan; and Mary Allison Yourchisin.


2009 DYA winners are Brad Barker; SrA Jeremiah R. Bowen, USAF; Patrick Harvey; TSgt Shannell Jones, USAF; SSgt David H. Keyfauver, USAF; Penny Morgan; Melissa A. Nelson; Brian A. Osborne; Daniel R. Ouellet; Jochen Reinhardt; CAPT Craig A. Stepp, USA; and Richard Windsor.

See complete listing below for winners not pictured.


2009 Distinguished Young AFCEAN (DYA) Regional Honorees


Vicki M. Chilton

TASC, Inc. 

Texas Region 

Vicki Chilton is a graduate of Texas State University, and began a career as a CIA Iraq analyst after finishing graduate level work at the University of Texas’ Center for Middle Eastern Studies. She currently serves as an analyst with TASC, Inc., and supports the Joint Information Operations Warfare Center’s Afghan Reachback Program. Vicki joined AFCEA in 2008 and immediately took an active role in the Alamo Chapter’s Young AFCEAN program. By the end of 2008, she assumed the Chairman’s position. Along with being an outstanding analyst and Young AFCEAN, Vicki is proud to say she is a dedicated wife, mother, small business owner, and Sunday School Teacher. The Texas Region is Proud to award her our Region’s DYA award.   

Paige DeCaro 

TEK Systems 

Georgia Region 

A four-year AFCEA member, this winner leapfrogged into several support/leadership positions. Her accomplishments include serving as Chapter VP, Young AFCEANs, supporting ten luncheons and two golf tournaments a year, greeting/feeding traveling Soldiers/Sailors/Airmen/Marines, and working a very successful conference. She held a young AFCEAN event with over 100 attendees, organized a Young AFCEAN tour to an airline aircraft maintenance facility, and participated in a business-to-business event. Paige DeCaro is an extraordinary AFCEA standout and well deserving of the Distinguished Young AFCEAN Award.  

Patrick G. Harvey 


New England/Upstate New York Region 

Patrick Harvey is an exceptionally talented and valued Young AFCEAN. Since 2006, he played an active role on the Young AFCEANs Executive Committee and has volunteered for every New Horizons Conference. He served as proctor and grader for the Massachusetts MathCounts competition and lead coordinator for three different Red Sox events that helped recruit many new young AFCEAN members. Patrick received the Chapter’s “Unsung Hero” Award and is one of our Chapter’s most dynamic producers and future leaders.    

Andrew J. Heo 

Space Logistics Group / Infrared Systems & Logistics 

Great Plains/Rocky Mountain Region 

Mr. Andrew Heo is the Rocky Mountain/Great Plains Region Young AFCEAN representative and has provided valuable guidance to the chapters with this region. As committee chair for the SpaceComm/Cyberspace 2010 Symposium, Andy has solicited corporations for 24 sponsorships, raising $200,000 for the event that will further chapter activities including scholarship and grant programs. As a Reservist, Andy serves as a test manager for Air Force Space Command’s only organic information assurance system vulnerability assessment team. Mr. Heo has just begun and we look forward to him taking on future increased leadership roles within AFCEA.   

TSgt Shanell Jones, USAF 

10th Intelligence Squadron 

Virginia Region 

TSgt Shanell Jones leads 28 information assurance professionals maintaining $750M weapon systems for global U-2/UAV ISR operations; ISR Agency recognized her with the General Jumper Award for Excellence. Her Langley AFB AFCEA leadership as Enlisted Liaison and Board Member helped raise Tidewater chapter’s membership 10%. She also organized five luncheon guest lists and led two spectacular F-15 simulator tours. TSgt Jones is an active volunteer for Operation WARM HEART for 500+ airmen and Air Force Sergeants Association.   

SSgt David H. Keyfauver, USAF 

JFCC Space/J2 

Western Region 

SSgt David Keyfauver was crucial in the revitalization of the Vandenberg AFCEA Chapter. His extensive knowledge of the local chapter and the AFCEA organization as a whole has been instrumental in drawing the interest of new prospective members. David’s leadership was significant in the success of the inaugural Vandenberg Space-Comm Integration Symposium. He is an active intel officer, working at the Joint Functional Component Command – Space/J2.   

Gordon B. MacMillan 


Heartland Region 

Gordon MacMillan is a government civilian Systems Engineer in the United States Transportation Command's Joint Information Technology Transformation Project Office (JITTPO). Before becoming a civil servant Gordon was an Air Force Communications Officer for seven years. A member of AFCEA since 2000, Gordon serves as the Executive Secretary of the Scott-St. Louis chapter, was the 2004 Milton E. Cooper/Young AFCEAN Graduate Scholarship Award winner, and the Chapter's March 2009 AFCEAN of the Month.   

Beth Maloney 

Palladian Partners 

National Capital Region 

Beth Maloney joined the Bethesda YAFCEANs in 2006. Subsequently, she co-chaired the Program Committee, co-authored the Web 2.0 Strategy for the Bethesda Chapter, and conceived and led the organization of the Federal Web 2.0 Virtual Podium Series that draws over 500 federal, state, local government and industry participants. In 2009, Federal Computer Week named Beth a Rising Star and the Bethesda Chapter named her “Young AFCEAN of the Year”. Beth is Chair of the YAFCEANs for 2009-2010.    

Raheem McCormick 

554th ELSG/FC 

Mid-South Region 

Ray McCormick, an outstanding Young AFCEAN leader in the Montgomery Chapter, won the Chapter’s Young AFCEAN Award for 2009. One of many projects for which he was recognized included recruiting and leading 20 young AFCEANS to provide an IT solution to one of Montgomery’s largest, yet most resource-stricken, elementary schools. This hugely successful endeavor resulted in accolades for the Chapter from the school and community. Keep your eye on this AFCEAN – a future senior AFCEA leader!   

Melissa A. Nelson  

Tek Partners 

Eastern Florida – Caribbean Region 

Ms. Melissa Nelson is being recognized as the Distinguished Young AFCEAN, Eastern Florida Region. Ms. Nelson led the South Florida Chapter’s Scholarship and Education Committee. Her team received, processed and evaluated 21 scholarship applications and presented scholarships totaling $20,000 to four highly deserving students. Her team also led the chapter’s effort to award $4000 in grants to four local science teachers. Additionally, the Chapter’s 33% membership growth in 2009 was in large part due to Melissa’s personal efforts.    

John Nilsen 


Southwest Region 

John has served as VP for San Diego Young AFCEANS since shortly after moving to California from Ft. Monmouth, NJ in late 2007. His role as Deputy Chief Engineer for the Joint Tactical Radio Systems HMS program calls for frequent coordination with military, government, industry & academia throughout the Southwestern Region & AFCEA member communities across the nation. This is John’s 3rd RDYA appointment – NY/NJ (2007) & SW (2009, 2010).   

Brian A. Osborne 

Ross Group, Inc. 

Midwest Region 

Brian Osborne is the consummate AFCEAN. Whatever the task, there is Brian – ready to either lead the task or lend a hand. He has that innate ability to sense what needs to be done and then make sure it gets done. The Dayton-Wright Chapter is proud of his accomplishments and even more proud to have him as the Midwest AFCEAN of the Year.   

Capt Stacy Rathje, USAF 

1st Air & Space Communications Operations Squadron 

Central Europe US Forces Region 

Capt Stacy Rathje made a number of outstanding contributions to the chapter in 2009 along with playing a critical leadership role. One of the biggest contributions was an increase to the scholarship fund through hard work and being creative. She also recruited new members to the chapter through her enthusiastic endorsement of the value of being an AFCEAN. Because of this she was chosen by the RVP as the regional DYA for 2009.    

Jochen Reinhardt 

BWI-Informationstechnik GmbH 

Northwest European Region 

Jochen Reinhardt took over responsibility for all Young AFCEAN affairs from his first day of membership in the Bonn chapter more than three years ago. With outstanding passion and enthusiasm he has developed a specialized and very attractive program for the younger generation comprising at least two events annually. His latest project is a German leadership forum in February 2010. For more than two years he has been representing the North West Europe Region in the Young AFCEAN Advisory Board.   

Nikoiai T. Stoianov 

Mediterranean Black Sea Region 

Nikolai Stoinaov has been an active and dedicated member of the AFCEA Sofia Chapter since 2005. He has technically supported and participated in all Chapter national and international activities, including the large international conference on the Modernization of the Bulgarian forces and TechNet Europe Conference in Sofia; and serving as main coordinator of the 17th annual TechNet Sofia Conference in 2009. In addition, Mr. Stoianov is the designer and administrator of the Chapter website and is involved in announcements, applications processing, conference registration, and preparation of conference materials. The Sofia Chapter is highly appreciative of Mr. Stoianov’s dedication.   

Richard Windsor 

Booz Allen Hamilton 

Maryland Region 

Ricky had tremendous impact in Central Maryland this year. He served as Volunteers Committee Lead, supporting Chapter events with volunteer staffing needs. Ricky worked as intermediary between new members, volunteers, and committee leads. Ricky co-led the Scholarship Awareness Drive, and the Bull & Oyster Roast, which sold out 559 seats two months early. Central Maryland elected Ricky as YAAC VP for 2010, where he is building YAAC membership strength and working relationships. Ricky's leadership qualities are exactly those needed to continue AFCEA impact into the future. Congratulations, Ricky, we are all very proud of you!   

Mary Allison Yourchisin 

Tech USA Government Solutions 

Western Florida Region 

Mrs. Mary Allison Yourchisin is the Distinguished Young AFCEAN for the Western Florida Region. As the Tampa–St. Petersburg Chapter Secretary, Mary Allison is a tireless promoter within AFCEA and the local community. She consistently reaches out and immerses herself in activities that bring others to understand what AFCEA is all about and what it can do for them as individuals or as organizations. She led or volunteered as a primary participant for eleven AFCEA and community-related events.     


2009 Distinguished Young AFCEANs (DYA)

Brad Barker 

EDGE Professional Services 

Northern Virginia Chapter 

Brad Barker serves as Special Projects Director and co-chair of the NOVA Chapter Young AFCEAN Mentor/Protégé Program. He worked closely with the Young AFCEAN Chairman to develop a structure and greater visibility for YAFCEAN support to the chapter. After joining AFCEA, his interest, enthusiasm and capability in volunteering for a variety of programs led to his role as a current and future leader in the Chapter. Brad is a DoD account manager at EDGE Professional.  

1st Lt Ryan Besch, USAF 

34th Combat Communications Squadron 

Oklahoma City Chapter 

1st Lt Ryan Besch has been an integral part of the success of the Oklahoma City chapter. Ryan played a key role in the annual chapter TECHNET Symposium and Scholarship Golf Tournament which resulted in raising approximately $10K for scholarship funding. He has demonstrated superb leadership qualities – both in supporting the 3rd Combat Comm Group, the local AFCEA chapter, and the local community. Ryan is an outstanding officer, ambassador in the community, and a dedicated Young AFCEAN.    

SrA Jeremiah R. Bowen, USAF 

55th Strategic Communications Squadron 

Greater Omaha Chapter 

Senior Airman Jeremiah R. Bowen, assigned to Offutt AFB, has been a significant driving force within the Greater Omaha Chapter. Using his software programming expertise, Jeremiah has contributed to the overall enhancement of the chapter’s website facilitating changes and event registration. Senior Airman Bowen also assisted in organizing tours to various Fortune 500 companies within the Omaha area. SrA Bowen has certainly demonstrated the required attributes which resulted in his selection for the Distinguished Young AFCEAN Award.   

Randy G. Findley 

Pride Engineering 

Central Maryland Chapter 

Randy is a high energy contributor in the Central Maryland Chapter, most recently leading modernization of website information portal and knowledge management functions. Randy integrated online purchase and automatic notification capability such that new subscribers are flagged to the Membership VP, and ticket purchases are flagged to the event lead and Treasurer. Randy also managed the YAC Mentorship Night program, which allows young professionals to network and seek insight and advice from senior professionals. Randy serves as a great role model for young professionals interested in supporting AFCEA. He is exactly the leader that AFCEA needs to grow and build for the future.   

Maj Chris Haberstroh, USAF 

1st Combat Communications Squadron 

Kaiserslautern Chapter 

Major Haberstroh made a number of outstanding contributions to the chapter in 2009. He planned and led the largest chapter event -- The Summer Tech Expo earning a record profit to support all chapter activities. His enthusiasm for AFCEA also led to the recruitment of 20 new members. He is a gifted leader and he used this ability to make the chapter successful.   

Capt Erika C. Leach, USAF 


Kaiserslautern Chapter 

Captain Leach is a very enthusiastic member of the chapter taking on various responsibilities as required to make the chapter successful. These responsibilities varied from increasing vendor involvement in the chapter to organizing our monthly meetings. She also got greater involvement in the chapter by the Intel community at HQ USAFE. Whatever was necessary she did it.    

Krista McKendree 

Harris IT Services 

Quantico-Potomac Chapter 

Krista McKendree is a key component of the successful return of the Quantico-Potomac Chapter that was revitalized in January 2009. Krista volunteered as the Events Coordinator and successfully set up 2 Industry Mixers with sponsors and 4 luncheons. She continued to grow professionally and was selected as a Capture Manager for Northrop Grumman and in January of this year she transitioned to Harris IT Services to serve as a Business Development Manager.    

Penny Morgan 

ITA International LLC 

Hampton Roads Chapter 

Penny Morgan is a dynamic advocate for AFCEA and for fields of communications, IT, intelligence and global security in the Hampton Roads region. She serves on the organizing committees of numerous events in the region, such as the Electronic Warfare Fleet Integration and Improvement Program (EWIIP) conference, AFCEA Transformation TechNet and Joint Warfighting Conferences, as well as the science fairs and educational outreach programs. She heads the Hampton Roads Chapter Young AFCEAN program.   

Daniel R. Ouellet 

Odyssey Systems 

Lexington-Concord Chapter 

Dan Ouellet has been a vital contributor to the Young AFCEANs since 2005. He can regularly be counted on to recruit new company grade officers. Himself a decorated Army National Guardsman, while deployed in Afghanistan he spearheaded a Young AFCEAN effort to distribute pencils, paper, humanitarian relief supplies, and hundreds of Boston Red Sox hats to local school children. Dan’s superior accomplishments have brought great credit and visibility to the Lexington-Concord Chapter and AFCEA International.    

Vesselin Petkov 

The Centre for SouthEast European Studies 

Varna Chapter 

Vesselin played a critical role in making the 2009 editions of the Varna Chapter’s traditional Black Sea Maritime Security and Air Forces in South-Eastern Europe forums a major success. He acted as the manager of the organizing team and also designed the events’ agendas. Next to that, Vesselin has been a major driver in three security sector reform projects run by the non-governmental Centre for Southeast European Studies and Centre for Black Sea Security Studies.   

Maj Christopher G. Schlak, USAF 

624th Operations Center 

ArkLaTex Chapter 

Major Christopher G. Schlak is the ArkLaTex Chapter Programs VP. As the Programs VP Major Schlak managed two golf tournaments, the annual scholarship banquet, chapter support to the co-sponsored 2009 Cyber Symposium, and seven monthly general membership luncheons. Major Schlak’s superb actions contributed to raising $25,000 for our education and scholarship programs along with helping establish the ArkLaTex’s chapter TechXpose venue for demonstrating present and future technologies in an environment that encourages networking and social interaction.   

CPT Craig A. Stepp, USA 

Special Operations Command - Central 

Tampa-St. Petersburg Chapter 

Captain Craig Stepp is recognized as a Distinguished Young AFCEAN from the Tampa-St. Pete Chapter. Captain Stepp has been serving as the Chapter’s 2nd Vice President while simultaneously co-leading the Tampa-St. Pete Young AFCEAN Committee. This fine young officer distinguished himself this year in his professional military career in the Joint Communications Support Element (JCSE), and Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT), balancing his daily work life, leading IT professionals in these organizations, with his AFCEA support.  

SSgt Crystal M. Swinton, USAF 

USAFE Kisling NCO Academy  

Kaiserslautern Chapter 

SSGT Swinton not only did whatever was asked of her to make the chapter successful but was instrumental in spreading the story of AFCEA to the young members of the communications community, resulting in the recruitment of 10 new members to the chapter in 2009. 


2008 Distinguished Young AFCEANs


2007 Distinguished Young AFCEANs


Click here for a complete list of AFCEA Awards and nomination forms.


Award Questions?

Please contact Rachel Haborak
(703) 631-6180

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