The 2012 Young AFCEAN of the Year and recipient of the Regional Distinguished Young AFCEAN Award, Master Sgt. Kiyon Buckley, USAF, is a radio frequency transmission systems engineer with the 24th Air Force posted to Joint Base San Antonio - Lackland in San Antonio, Texas. He calls receiving the recognition at the 2013 AFCEA/USNI West conference in January “a truly humbling experience,” and the recognition shows that Sgt. Buckley has the leadership, innovative thinking and tenacious focus on success to create an enormously positive impact on Young AFCEANs in the Alamo Chapter and the surrounding region.
A 17-year veteran of the Air Force, Sgt. Buckley grew up in North Little Rock, Arkansas. “I have two brothers and three sisters. I have been married to my wife, Shikima, for the past 14 years. We have a seven-year-old daughter.” During his free time, he enjoys reading nonfiction books dealing with self improvement, philosophy, fitness and nutrition.
Sgt. Buckley says that the best benefit of his AFCEA membership is the opportunity to learn and observe from the best and brightest industry executives and senior military leaders. Whether it’s the Alamo Chapter’s events, like Business to Breakfast, Lunch and Learns or Mentorship Night Socials, he says he’s learned a lot that helps him to think outside of the box.
A strong advocate for Young AFCEA, Sgt. Buckley believes young, mid-career professionals like himself should surround themselves with other young professionals who are seeking growth opportunities. “Learning to work in diverse groups and developing networking skills will enable a future manager/leader to be able to solve the most complex of problems by simply cultivating their network and tapping into that network when needed,” he says.
Sgt. Buckley believes AFCEA International should increase networking opportunities and mentorship activities to increase the number of young members. “Young people want to talk and build collaborative relationships with senior individuals who can relate to them,” he explains. “Having programs where Young AFCEANs are paired with senior individuals long term would reap great benefits. Invest some resources in growing Young AFCEAN’s post-college environment that parallels with collegiate scholarships.”
Along those lines, he adds that AFCEA should consider offering low-cost or no-cost professional development training, education and experience to younger workers who are just beginning their careers in the information technology, engineering and intelligence career fields.
Sgt. Buckley calls Col. Kelley W. Crooks, USAF (Ret.), regional vice president; Col. William Morrow, USAF (Ret.), Alamo Chapter president; and Emily Rausch, Young AFCEAN chair, “the true distinguished AFCEANs of the Year.”
He credits his mother, a single parent, with instilling in him foundational Christian values, embodied in sayings like, “Be humble,” “Listen more than you talk” and “Treat others as if they were you.”
He says he is passionate about his work in information technology security, and he adds, “I do what I do because I truly love it. The passion and humble attitude that was instilled in me at a young age makes trying my best so easy. My best is all I have to offer.”