Bishop’s Award recipient Tim Buckley shares his philosophy on faith-based business ethics

By Tom Connolly     7/20/2018

One only has to speak with Tim Buckley a few short moments to realize the passion and value he places on a Catholic education.  

In May at the Orange Catholic Foundation’s (OCF) 16th annual Business and Ethics Conference, held at the Hotel Irvine, Buckley received the Bishop’s Award for Exemplary Business Integrity. The Most Reverend Bishop Kevin W. Vann presented the award to Buckley before a crowd of nearly 1,000 people with hundreds more viewing the live steam of the event. The event raised nearly $600,000 dollars and will benefit over 300 Catholic school students with tuition assistance throughout Orange County. 

The OCF Conference on Business and Ethics is a faith-based event that attracts influential business, religious, academic and philanthropic leaders that share a common commitment for ethical best practices. The conference has become the premier nonprofit event in Orange County. One hundred percent of the net proceeds support tuition assistance for Diocese of Orange Catholic schools, with 80 percent granted the following school year and 20 percent invested in a tuition assistance endowment.  

New York’s Timothy Cardinal Dolan highlighted this year’s conference as the keynote speaker.  

During his acceptance speech, Buckley credited his parents, his family and his 12 years of Catholic education for spring boarding him into a position to succeed.  

“It’s humbling,” said Buckley. “When I was younger I didn’t realize the sacrifices my parents made to give us a Catholic education. As I grew older and became aware of the economics, I wanted to give back so children can have the same opportunity to benefit from a Catholic education as I have. We’re proud that we’re in a position to do that.” 

Buckley was born and raised in Fullerton and attended St. Philip Benizi Church and grade school. He then attended Servite High School where he graduated in 1973. After earning his bachelor’s degree from Chico State in 1977, he returned to Southern California, married and started a family. Buckley and his wife Jenifer have four children and six grandchildren and are expecting a seventh in August, coinciding with their 40th wedding anniversary.  

“A Catholic education focused Christ as the center of my life and it gave me the greatest woman (my wife) in the world,” said Buckley, who is a member of Newport Beach’s Our Lady Queen of the Angels Parish and St. John Vianney Chapel. Buckley serves as a Eucharistic minister and is a member of Legatus. He is an active member of the Board of Directors for Servite High School, a trustee for USA Swimming, an ambassador for Orangewood Children’s Foundation, and is affiliated with USC scholarship Club and Building Industry Assoc. of Orange County.  

“Tim is an amazing and a humble individual,” said Hank Evers, director of development and communications for the OCF. “At first he didn’t want to accept the award, but we were able to convince him by accepting the award he becomes a recognized Catholic leader in the community. He accepted that role and he realizes he will be helping future campaigns raise more funds and sponsors that will lead to helping more kids obtain an opportunity for a Catholic education.” 

In 1986, Buckley founded his own company, Vintage Design, a family owned business that specializes in servicing homebuilders and homebuyers throughout Southern California.  

Buckley has infused his Catholic values into the company standards.  

“I’m a simple guy and I use discipline to follow the laws of the land, day in and day out,” said Buckley.  

In 2001, Buckley, along with the support of Rev. Michael Pontarelli, his former Servite High School classmate and current pastor of Fullerton St. Juliana Falconieri’s Parish, began a spiritual tradition at his company’s headquarters in Lake Forest.  

Instead of hosting an annual Christmas party, Buckley started celebrating a Mass, coupled with a breakfast and award recognition for his company’s associates on the first Friday of December.  

“I felt by celebrating Mass, we can set an example,” Buckley added. “We aren’t there to convert or preach, but our hope is that our associates have some type of faith and the belief of a supreme being.  

“It was a challenge at first, because we knew we can’t control people’s behavior outside of work, but our associates have embraced it and I feel it sends the right message and I feel it’s an obligation we have.” 

Father Pontarelli will continue celebrating Mass for the 18th consecutive year at Vintage Design this December.  

“Tim’s Catholic education changed his life and gave him his Christian morals,” said Rev. Pontarelli. “We grew up in the 1970s when our lives could have gone in any direction, but Tim’s Catholic schooling, his teachers, priests, nuns, classmates and teammates – the whole package and environment – had a major influence on him and he’s chosen the right path. 

“I love celebrating Mass during the Advent season for his company. I look forward to it each year. It’s what Jesus does for us during Advent, he reaches out and helps us to rebuild our lives.”  

Tim Buckley is also a competitive swimmer in the USA Master’s Program and is a Multinational champion and current world record holder.  


Editor’s note: Tim Strader, chairman of Starpointe Ventures, was also a recipient of the Bishop’s award and will be profiled in next week’s issue of OC Catholic.