Joe Mackey selected for 2018 El Cajon Citizen of the Year award

The El Cajon Citizen of the Year Committee has selected Joe Mackey as its 2018 El Cajon Citizen of the Year award.

Mackey, founder, president and CEO of XL Staffing Service, Inc. and Excell Security, Inc., will be honored at a luncheon from noon to 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 5 at the El Cajon Elks Lodge 1812, 1400 E Washington Ave., El Cajon. Admission is $25 per person, lunch is included. Tickets are available online at under “Events,” or by calling (619) 440-6161.

Mackey will be honored for his community involvement, including support to nonprofits and charitable volunteer work. A number of East County community organizations and charities have benefited from Mackey’s support over the years, including St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center, East County Economic Development Council (ECEDC), East County EDC Foundation and San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce.

Mackey’s personal story includes raising three daughters as a single parent. In 1981, he became a single dad when the girls were ages 1, 3 and 5. The youngest daughter is disabled due to brain surgery at birth.

He started a career in the staffing industry shortly after becoming a single parent. He ran companies based in Temple, Dallas, New London, Conn., and Las Vegas before relocating to El Cajon in late 1989. “I didn’t want to raise my daughters in Vegas and an uncle living here in El Cajon invited us to move here,” he said.

In 1996, he founded XL Staffing, one of San Diego’s largest staffing firms. In 2000, he founded Excell Security, Inc., a private security company. With the staffing industry, Mackey has served as president of the California Staffing Professionals, the state trade association serving the $70 billion staffing industry.

It didn’t take long after Mackey’s arrival in the East County that he continued his commitment to community service.

“Serving and volunteering in the community is just something that I’ve always done starting with my rearing in Texas,” said Mackey, a native of Temple, Tex., who still boasts a Texas drawl. “In Texas, I was involved in the Jaycees and a chamber or two. I didn’t change when I moved to California. Giving back by serving on boards and committees is so important to sustain a vibrant and healthy community.”

He has served on the ECEDC board of directors since 2007, and recently served as chairman for a two-year term (July 2016-June 2018). The ECEDC is a regional non-profit, business-growth organization. He has served on the board of the East County EDC Foundation, the business organization’s charitable entity, since 2016.

He served from 2005 to 2008 on the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce board of directors, and served as chairman in 2008. He also served on the East County Chamber‘s Foundation board from 2009 to 2015, including one year as chairman.

Mackey has been a strong supporter of St. Madeline Sophie’s Center, an East County charity serving individuals with developmental disabilities. He was a board member board from 2008 to 2014, having served a maximum of two, three-year terms.

He grew up expecting to be a professional baseball player. “I’m still a huge sports fan, I follow baseball and football all the time,” Mackey said.

At Temple High School in Texas, he played high school and football. He considered a career as a lawyer while earning a bachelor’s degree in government and education at Baylor University, but later turned to teaching. He spent five years teaching civics classes at the high school level and coaching football and baseball.

His love of sports has translated into coaching high school football. He also recently completed his third year as head varsity football coach at Foothills Christian High School, serving as a volunteer. His squads have won league titles (Division 6) in 2016 and 2018.

He served as an elected official for eight years (1992-2000) on the Cajon Valley Union School District board, serving as president for four years. He also served on the board of the Cajon Valley Education Foundation for 10 years (1990-2000), including one year as president. The Foundation funds school assemblies and extracurricular educational programs.

Today, he is serving as the 2018-2019 president of the 55-member El Cajon Rotary Club (he joined the club in 2010).

Mackey has nearly three decades of experience in business and management, with particular emphasis in the security, hospitality and event staffing industries.

The annual El Cajon Citizen of the Year program is co-hosted by the El Cajon Valley Lions Club, El Cajon Rotary Club, El Cajon Elks Club, and San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce.

Previous winners have included Joe Garzanelli (2017), Dick Nasif (2016), Humbert Cabrera (2015), Chuck Hansen (2014) and Shirley Johnson (2013).

Among the local organizations involved with the El Cajon Citizen of the Year honoree selection: El Cajon Police Officer Association, Heartland Lions, Home of Guiding Hands, Salvation Army, El Cajon Valley Kiwanis Club, East County Boys and Girls Clubs, Wieghorst Museum Foundation, El Cajon Historical Society, Main Street Flag program, El Cajon Valley Host Lions Club and Rotary Club of El Cajon.