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Mike Gaughan - Chairman

"If you take the time to clearly and respectfully discuss tough issues, the public often arrives at reasonable conclusions. Be open to that possibility."

Mike Gaughan | Chairman

From superstar to Superfund

"Nothing works like the truth." That's it. After nearly five decades in the communications business, those five words are all the advice MGA's chairman and founder has to offer. Well, maybe not all the advice.

As a teenager, Mike's career began as a "marquee boy" in the fantasy world of movie theatres. Star struck and ambitious to the core, boy Gaughan became one of the most innovative film and theater promoters in America's heartland.

In the mid 1970s, Mike moved to Denver and, a few years later, formed his own company specializing in movie promotion—Entercom. Mike learned the key to successful movie promotions was discovering what motivated people. So he spent his evenings talking with people standing in line, at the back of the theatre or at the snack bar.

Sean Connery, Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, Jimmy Stewart and a host of other Hollywood celebrities passed through Mike's promotions machine at the Cooper Foundation Theatres and, later, Entercom. A fateful call from a friend in the late 1970s, however, lured Mike from the star-studded realm of movie promotions to the world of community involvement and public relations. In one short week, Mike became an expert on natural resources in order to secure community acceptance for a new mine to be built by industry giant AMAX.

While the focus of his communications career had changed to issues communications, his approach remained the same: Understand what motivates the people you are trying to communicate with. From this understanding, you can create an open forum to discuss the truth and the issues that separate people. The biggest difference Mike sees between the movies and issues-based public relations is that cookies, flip charts and public meetings replace the popcorn, posters and star-studded premieres.

In 1987, Mike formed MGA with Jeff Julin and Cricket Smith. MGA was the embodiment of their unified belief that providing people the right information in a way they can understand will remove obstacles to success.

  • Areas of Expertise: Strategic Planning, Crisis Communications, Risk Communications, Labor Relations, Public Involvement, Research 
  • Industry/Vertical Areas of Expertise: Natural Resources, Government, Transportation, Industrial 
  • Recent Client Work: Shell Oil Co. 
  • Year Entered Communications Industry: 1969 
  • Year Started at MGA: 1987 (The year MGA was founded) 
  • Education: Benedictine College; Creighton University

Interesting Fact
If you plan on spending time with Mike, get ready to have fun. His passion for travel, friendship and celebrating life are unmatched. Oh, and if you want to hear the most contagious, robust laugh this side of Omaha, ask Mike about his secret recipe for chicken salad.

E-mail Mike | LinkedIn

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