Jay Lucero joined the U.S. Air Force at 18 years old and proudly served for over 20 years.
“As a military veteran,” says Lucero, who is an IT technician VI in the Computer Services Department for UNLV Athletics, “I can honestly say the military helped mold me into the person I am today and taught me how to be part of a team, lead and manage people in many different scenarios. I gained the knowledge of how strong teams can accomplish anything; this is the desire, which I believe taught me a strong work ethic and is a foundation that I use today.”
Lucero, along with the assistance of the part-time help desk staff he manages, offers support to computer users within UNLV Athletics, including the Thomas & Mack Center, the Lied Athletic Complex, and various sporting venues across campus.
As for his work ethic, Lucero’s colleagues say his leadership and willingness to take accountability made him a strong nominee for Classified Employee of the Year. He was name this year's second place award.
“He holds his staff, as well as himself, accountable when service is not provided at a level that would represent UNLV in the best light,” says Chris Jones, a former IT and multimedia specialist who worked in the Thomas & Mack Center for nearly 20 years. “Jay does a fantastic job of instilling the importance of giving your best effort in anything that you do with his staff: explaining that everything you do, and the way you do it, is ultimately a reflection of you – so you want to make sure that you are representing yourself in the best way possible.”
Tell us about your job at UNLV.
I manage the Computer Services Department, which includes an IT Help Desk, Network Operations, and Programing Operations that supports all of UNLV Athletics located around campus and Thomas & Mack Center events. Our support includes the overall management, servicing, and control of over 750 computers and servers at UNLV. Our daily challenges include day-to-day end user support, network infrastructure support, design, and setups for both end users and events being held at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Why did you choose to work at UNLV?
My daughter received her master’s and doctorate at UNLV, and I was always impressed by the educational instruction she received. In my opinion, UNLV has so much to offer our state and is one of the most diverse universities in the world. When I started here at UNLV, and every day since then, I am amazed at not only the professionalism of my co-workers and management but also with the young men and women athletes that I have had the pleasure to help support and guide to their next level in life. These students are our future and are amazing! I am very thankful that I can be part of this experience.
Where are you from originally?
Albuquerque, New Mexico
What’s a memorable moment from serving in the U.S. Air Force?
My last and most exciting assignment with the Air Force included being one of the first eight people hired to build the 1st Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) units (Predator) located at Indian Springs (now Creech Air Force base). Helping create and build that unit was not only a successful accomplishment but an outstanding way to end my military career.
How do you feel about being recognized as Classified Employee of the Year?
Being recognized for this award makes me proud of my achievement, but I know there are so many others out there that deserve this award as well. I am humbled.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I love to spend as much of my off time with my wife as possible. We love to attend Vegas Golden Knights and Las Vegas Raiders games. We also enjoy traveling to Utah to spend time with my daughter and her family. Our favorite thing to do is to spoil our grandchildren!
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I suppose it would be two things. When I was a teenager, I played the violin for over five years and in junior high. I was selected to be part of the youth symphony at the University of New Mexico. I also love to cook and find it one of the most relaxing things I do.
Do you have a TV show, movie, or book to recommend?
I love Blue Bloods and NCIS, and my favorite movie would have to be Top Gun.
Ideal vacation destination if you had unlimited funds?
Travel Europe. I spent 12 years in Germany when I was in the military and absolutely love European culture.
Do you have any advice for an employee just starting at UNLV?
I would have to say to always remember, it’s not just a job, it's an experience. Reach out and be part of the overall UNLV life. Help mold these young people for their next roles in life – it is so gratifying! Be part of the UNLV family.