Faces of the FASTSIGNS Family: Stephen MacKenzie, Franchise Business Consultant for FASTSIGNS International, Inc. and Staff Sergeant, United States Air Force Reserves

by Jayme Nelson
Faces of the FASTSIGNS Family: Stephen MacKenzie, Franchise Business Consultant for FASTSIGNS International, Inc. and Staff Sergeant, United States Air Force Reserves

Why were you interested in serving the military?

My parents were very patriotic, but no one in my family had served before. After attending graduate school in Chicago, I regretted not going into the military earlier and therefore, I began looking into joining the Air National Guard. I was approached by an Air Force recruiter and ultimately, I decided the benefits of the military and the privilege of serving my country were too important to me. Later, I transferred into the Air Force Reserves.

Where did you get started in the Air Force Reserves?

I completed basic training in Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. I’ve served 12 years in the Air Force Reserves. We serve one weekend per month and 15 days per year. The training we receive on the weekends is specific to each Airmen’s military career focus. The hours of preparation and training help to ensure that as soldier’s we are skilled and ready to do our jobs should we be activated into a war theatre.

What are your memories?

My first activation was post 9-11. I was involved in two tours of duty in 2003 and served in two campaigns: Operation Enduring Freedom, which encompassed the whole war on terrorism overseas and also, Operation Iraqi Freedom.

What are some of your responsibilities?

I work in conjunction with various branches of the military to provide support for counterinsurgency and contingency operations through logistics and intelligence.

What do you value about serving?

My service has had a powerful impact on my life. It has given me a perspective to really appreciate what is so easily taken advantage of in the U.S. – all the freedoms we all enjoy. We are so blessed to live in this exceptional country and guarding those freedoms is paramount. Travelling to other parts of the world and being near other countries that don’t have the same freedoms is an eye-opening experience.

Many people have paid the price for our freedom. I feel very humble about my service. I’m someone who wants to preserve what we have for my family, friends and for our country. I’ve met some of the best people in my life through the military and these people share the same values as well as the desire to serve our country.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my family and the legacy of love that we share. Much of my life is focused on my wife Cynthia, who is an equine veterinarian, our three teenage children and our two dogs. My life is rewarding because my faith, my family and my friends bring me true fulfillment. In addition, I am proud of recently graduating from Drexel University in Philadelphia with my MBA. My military experience was critical in getting accepted into this program and because of my service, approximately 80% of this advanced degree was covered by the military. The MBA experience also helped expand my skill set in leadership and represented an excellent opportunity at professional development, and for that, I am not only proud, but grateful.

Tell us something we don’t know about you

I’m very health conscious. In fact, I love to work out, exercise and eat healthy. Also, my faith centers me completely. It gives me the strength and focus to be the best family man, military man and employee at FASTSIGNS.


2 comments

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  1. Trent Breneki | Feb 21, 2017
    Stephen is part of a very highly decorated unit of the Air Force and you are lucky to have someone like him spearheading your organization!  He once told me that he was responsible for saving countless lives when he was in Iraq!
  2. Lonnie Fitzgerald | Dec 22, 2016
    I have met Stephen on a couple of occasions and am proud to know him.  He told me stories of the many times he was in combat and of his heroism.  We are blessed to know a man like this.  I think he should keep telling the stories about his military life and get the recognition he truly deserves.