A Moment with the Founder of Crowd Canvass

Interview With Brian Mckee

By Shaun Wanzo

Brian Mckee’s path to becoming an experienced Information Science and Technology Cybersecurity Professional, a leader in City of Light Church and in the community began as a teenager.  He developed a passion for serving others early in his teen years by engaging the youth in mentoring programs. A passion that was further cultivated within Marquette’s Upward Bound Program where he was paired with a mentor of his own.

Brian’s mentor, Steven Robertson, a man of strong faith and conviction was also a math and science staff member.  He also gifted Brian his first Bible and imparted the wisdom of making faith and spirituality the launch pad for the trajectory of all facets of his life.  This experience would serve Brian well as he transitioned from high school to UW-Madison’s college campus.

He possessed the discipline and aptitude to tackle the IST curriculum at one of the country’s top universities.  Yet, it was a technical issue with his pc that led to the creation of his first business, which involved troubleshooting and fixing other students’ laptops.  This entrepreneurial endeavor not only earned him extra cash to cover the costs of his education but it also offered the opportunity for him to continually serve.

It was a need that did not dissipate once he received an undergraduate degree in Information Science and Technology with an emphasis in Cybersecurity.  He became a licensed minister at Holy Redeemer Church, where he served as the youth minister until elevating to elder pastor.  Brian also became the director of Information Technology at Destiny High School.  The purpose of serving in both of these roles was to fulfill a need that would add value to people’s lives. This sense of humanity has been a constant theme since those pivotal teen years of his.

Therefore, even while building a sixteen year career as an IST professional, working for companies such as FIS Global and Komatsu, he continued to be a leader in the church and the community.  Brian Mckee, once again saw a huge void because of racial tensions within Milwaukee, that were steeped within a socio economic disconnect.  This divide propelled him to establish the City of Light Church, located at 6725 West Burleigh Street.

The City of Light Church is proud of attracting people from all types of ethnic and economic backgrounds.  Brian and his board has also established the City of Light Community Development Corp., which is located within the same building.  It is through this separate 501c(3) they are collaborating with Habitat for Humanity and the Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention. These entities have formed this partnership to focus on exterior residential improvements in under served communities.  Brian also spoke very proudly of the event the City of Light hosted August 31 he described as a resource fair and backpack giveaway.

When I asked Brian if there were any other initiatives he was presently working on he replied eagerly with a detailed explanation describing an app he has currently in development.  Crowd Canvas will be a tech space where people can crowd source street teams of volunteers. “My vision is to empower everybody to make change in whatever cause they want to take on in whatever community they choose”. Brian fondly mentioned how he’s known Nadiyah Johnson, founder of Jet Constellations and The Milky Way Tech Hub for many years.  However, the deciding factor in choosing her to collaborate on Crowd Canvass is the vast amount of skills she has developed while working as an engineer at GE Healthcare.

Brian also applauds the Milky Way Tech Hub’s mission to diversify the STEM fields and the Milky Way’s emphasis on mentoring and service to kids from under served communities. He spoke about the importance of those kids seeing someone that looks like them teach them the skills necessary to be successful in the tech fields. The accomplished tech professional, pastor and the man passionate about community outreach and engagement warned those set to embark on a journey into the STEM fields about trying to take shortcuts.  He wants all readers to know that it takes time and sacrifice to reach your goals.  And the true journey doesn’t begin until you reach back and pull someone else along.

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