Remembering Kelley Archer

On July 3rd, 2019 we lost Kelley Archer to cancer.

A celebration of life will be held on July 22 at the Chaska Event Center.  Full details can be found on Kelley’s CaringBridge site.

The below article was written before his passing and will be published in the forthcoming edition of the ISSA Journal.

Kelley Archer – Man of Many Hats

The Minnesota Chapter of ISSA would like to recognize one of our most distinguished members, Kelley Archer.  He is a security professional with over 30 years in the industry in addition to 27 years in the United States Army, retiring at the rank of First Sergeant.

Being a certified instructor likely led to his work in the information security field and subsequently, his interest in information security education and awareness.  Throughout Kelley’s long, distinguished career, his contributions to the industry have significantly advanced the profession.    He served two terms (four years) as the chapter president of the Minnesota chapter.   Today, he continues to serve the board by being an executive advisor.  He is known for always being available to help the chapter in any manner.   The chapter has always appreciated his insight into how the chapter works and the historical knowledge of the chapter and ISSA International.   Kelley was instrumental in creating and leading the ISSA International Security Education and Awareness group.  The International special interest group was created after Kelley had taken over the Twin Cities Security Awareness group, which became a benchmark for the international group.   Kelley also served on ISSA International on the Ethics committee for many years.  Another notable accomplishment is being recognized as an ISSA distinguished fellow. A distinction limited to only 1% of ISSA members.   Kelley is also a founding member of the Twin Cities Secure360 event.  2020 will mark the 15th year of the event.  This is a collaboration of several professional organizations in the Twin Cities, regularly exceeds attendance of over 1200 attendees.  Secure360, led to the creation of the Upper Midwest Security Alliance (UMSA) which is responsible for the management of Secure360 and Student360 conferences.  Kelley served as the organization’s first president.   He has certainly made his mark on the Twin Cities security community.  At this year’s Secure360, he was awarded the first UMSA Founders Award which recognizes an individual’s contribution to the security community.  In recognition of his achievements, the award has been renamed the Kelley Archer Founders’ Award.   An award that is well deserved.

Kelly has led a long and distinguished security career.   He obtained the certification of Certified Information Security Systems Representative (CISSR) awarded by the NSA.  This certification pre-dates the current CISSP designation.     He has worked as a security professional for some of the largest organizations in the Twin Cities including United Health Group, Hennepin County Medical Center, Allianz and Prime Therapeutics.  He started his own consulting business offering free risk assessments to small business and security awareness training.   He has also provided over one hundred IT Threat Prevention presentations to high school, senior citizens and various civic organizations.

One of the most enduring roles Kelley has played is Santa Claus.  He has played Santa Claus to thousands of children since 1973.  This love of children eventually led to him setting up Santa’s Workshop in his front yard, which is visited by over 300 kids per year.  A local news station did a special on Kelley called the “Front Yard Santa”, a very touching story and an example of how Kelley brings joy to everyone he touches.

Kelley is currently battling Stage 4 Terminal Melanoma Cancer and even as Kelley continues to fight his battle, community is foremost in his mind. He reminds everyone to get moles, birthmarks, or any other mark on your body checked as early as possible, to hopefully avoid what he is going through. Please take the time to get these checked! If you are in the sun, take care of yourself by being safe and wearing sunscreen.

Kelley, you have mentored and inspired many in the information security field.   We thank you for all that you have done and contributed to the world.  We continue to have you in our thoughts and prayers as you fight your battle.   Never give up.