QUESTIONS & ANSWERS: Mike McDougall - director of PR at Buck &Pulleyn

He could have been the next Wayne Gretzky or Thomas Edison. But he's quite happy with his present PR career and his ability to alphabetically rattle off all 50 US states in under 10 seconds. Meet Mike McDougall, director of PR at Buck & Pulleyn.

He could have been the next Wayne Gretzky or Thomas Edison. But he's quite happy with his present PR career and his ability to alphabetically rattle off all 50 US states in under 10 seconds. Meet Mike McDougall, director of PR at Buck & Pulleyn.

Describe the company you work for Buck & Pulleyn is a 30-person marcom shop with offices in Rochester, NY and Durham, NC. We offer PR, brand consulting, advertising, and interactive services to clients ranging from global giants like Kodak to start-ups.

What do you do? I'm the "what if?

guy - always trying to help clients stay a step ahead of industry issues. Sure,I counsel, plan, and execute, but I also make time to help develop my teammates' professional skills while finding ways to mix in a lot of fun.

Tell us something interesting about your company. Everyone - from interns to top execs - has a private office. No cubicles here.

How did you get into PR? Attending MIT to become an electrical engineer, I was able to communicate technical concepts in layman's terms. A quick call and resulting transfer to Boston University helped me discover that PR was my career calling.

What is your greatest achievement? Helping my wife raise our 11-month-old son. Being with him provides perspective on life, and helps me remember how to toss work aside for awhile and play.

What was your best pitch? When I represented Yamaha in the mid-'90s, I combined its new CD-ROM recorders and Silent Brass trumpet mute for a one-man, one-day Manhattan media tour. Visiting outlets like Popular Science and Time, I played the trumpet, recorded the song to the PC, and burned an audio CD on the fly - a novel concept for 1996.

What's the most daring thing you've ever done? Moving from the NYC area to Rochester. Many people told me a national caliber PR team couldn't be built here. Well, we've proven them wrong!

What are you working on this week? Programs for Bausch & Lomb. Four pitches.

A crisis plan. A 2,000-word ghostwritten article. Some tech product reviews.

Tabulating a PRSA member survey.

If you could work for one company, what would it be? I drink Coke religiously. There's a Coke can graphic on my business card. I even had a Coke scholarship in college. Hmmm ...

What do you wish you hadn't said to the media? I once told the set designer on Today that she had positioned a music keyboard backwards. She was so mad that the product was almost yanked from the segment. (It was ultimately left in and got a great plug.)

What's your party trick? I can alphabetically rattle off the 50 US states in under 10 seconds. I'm not sure why people still find this amusing. Sure, it was impressive in grade school, but now?

Name one thing about your past people would be surprised to learn. I started playing ice hockey at five, and played competitively until college. When we bought our home, I imagined flooding the lawn to create an ice rink. Here's hoping for a colder winter next year!

What is the secret of your success? Never being afraid to challenge conventional wisdom, reading anything I can get my hands on, regularly introducing fun into the workplace, always remembering that I work in PR by choice, and a supportive family.

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