The San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce named Jeff Buckingham as 2018 Citizen of the Year at the Annual Dinner gala on Saturday, Jan. 19, in front of more than 580 attendees. This is the Chamber’s most prestigious honor, and is the only award presented at the Annual Dinner in recognition of unparalleled service to the community of San Luis Obispo.

SLO Chamber Annual Dinner Citizen of the Year Jeff Buckingham

Pictured from left: SLO Chamber Board Chair Clint Pearce; Geri LaChance, former chair; Phyllis Wong, dinner emcee; and Jim Dantona, SLO Chamber president and CEO. 

“Wow! I can’t believe it, I am humbled by this recognition,” Buckingham said after being surprised with the award Saturday. “I am so glad I decided to wear my cheetah ears and tail this evening!”

During his time in SLO, Buckingham has been dedicated to giving back to the community. Through organizations such as Rotary de Tolosa he continues to support children through his leadership of initiatives such as Child Spree, which clothes over 100 low income children each year locally, the Rancho El Chorro science camp where thousands of children come to learn about the world around them, and local 4-H and FFA groups. He supports events, like Softec’s annual Student Robotics Expo, The Imagination Park Fall Classic, which assists in the building of The Jack Ready Imagination Park and Wine Women and Shoes, providing funding for RISE SLO.

Buckingham’s commitment to service extends to business where pro bono services have become part of the culture of companies he has led. These efforts have culminated in more than $80,000 in in-kind donations to nonprofits in the last year alone.

Buckingham whose telecommunication career has included leadership of Call America, Blue Rooster Telecom, Norcast Telecom Networks and how as the Chief Customer Officer of Digital West networks, uniquely bridges the technology, agriculture and non-profit world, bringing unbridled enthusiasm, deep care for others and work ethic to everything he does.

A passionate believer in the value of local agriculture, Buckingham also lends his knowledge and leadership through service on the boards of directors for the Farm Supply Company, Cattleman’s Association, the Farm Bureau and the SLO Community Foundation. 

SLO Chamber Annual Dinner_COY past recipients_341

Jeff Buckingham, center, 2018 Citizen of the Year,  with past awardees.

“Jeff Buckingham embodies the trusting, friendly, outgoing, service-above-self persona that defines a leader,” said Tim Williams, CEO and founder of Digital West. “And while he continues to be a successful entrepreneur, husband, father, partner, and friend, he wouldn’t accept any accolades without calling out the role others play in his life.”

The heart of Jeff Buckingham can be seen and felt in part of his family’s mission statement, “We are an inexhaustible source of contribution to our community and to our world.”

Buckingham has also served on the national Competitive Telecommunications Association board of directors where he helped shape national policy that has gone before the Federal Communications Commission, Congress, and the courts. He has spent more than thirty years on the board of CALTEL advocating for open competition, innovation and economic development.  In 2009, Buckingham was recognized for his contributions to the telecom industry with the Champion of Competition award.

*Photo credit: Dean Sullivan