SPARKS — Mike Milligan described himself as the jokester in the office. The guy who brings a contagiously upbeat and energetic personality to the table. In his work experience he knows many sales positions can be “intense” and do not offer an opportunity “to show people who you really are.”
However, Milligan has found his perfect fit at John Ascuaga’s Nugget where he accepted the sports marketing director position in December. Milligan said entering the Nugget’s already positive atmosphere will help him easily transition to the new job.
“The beauty of the Nugget is that the environment allows me to be who I am and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to not have to modify my personality,” Milligan said Wednesday. “I can complement the existing hard work ethic and I will be able to apply that element of myself to my job and the customers. It is truly amazing.”
Milligan has been living in the northern Nevada area for about 10 years after growing up in Santa Rosa, Calif. and attending college at California State University, Sacramento. Milligan’s passion and expertise in golf has led him to managing and marketing the Tahoe Mountain Club’s golf courses which included Coyote Moon, Old Greenwood and the Golf Course at Gray’s Crossing.
Milligan’s classification as a Class A PGA Golf Professional by no means says he can only cater to visitors looking for the area’s best greens. Milligan prides himself on competing in as many different and diverse sports as possible, including soccer, bicycle racing, triathlons, hunting, fishing and anything to get him outdoors.
“Fitness is the name of the game for me. I am a crossfit junkie of recreational activities,” Milligan said. “I like to be fit enough to do anything I can and I will do whatever I can to be outside and stay fit.”
Milligan said sports and recreational activities are a way for him to remain level-headed and relieve the stresses of everyday life.
“Work is work and life can throw so many stresses and responsibilities at you, and without outlets to be at the core of who you are it can become too much,” he said. “Competition drives me and it is all about satisfying my peace of mind and getting back to myself.”
When he is not actively releasing his stresses through sports, Milligan said you can find him in the kitchen experimenting with recipes. He said cooking is something foreign enough to him that complicating his mind with edible creations is soothing.
“There’s something zen-like in chopping an onion or preparing ingredients and trying something different. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but in the process I kind of get back to myself and it provides some quiet time for me mentally,” he said.
Milligan said his focus as sports marketing director will be to promote, provide and enhance services at the Nugget that do not particularly target food or gaming. He said the Nugget has a prime location on the I-80 corridor for traveling recreation enthusiasts and that his job is to associate and learn from them in order to achieve their needs.
Milligan said the Nugget’s family friendly environment and diversity of guests will allow him to adapt recreational needs substantially.
“To transition the hotel into the next generation we need to figure out what these various sports types require and attract them beyond the basics,” Milligan said using safe and patrolled parking for motorsports racers as an example. “Once we start learning what to pinpoint and what drives these recreation consumers, we can tailor certain services and needs they have and apply them to the hotel.”
Milligan said offering rental equipment to skiers or hikers who stay at the Nugget are other examples of ways to help attract new guests. He said the his main challenge will be exploring the recreational world that lies beyond his own.
“Certain sports I have no idea what the needs are but we will learn those as we go. Even though I am very broad participant I can’t assume I am going to know everything a hunter requires,” Milligan said, adding that even without knowing the needs of sport enthusiasts he will be able to relate to them. “I see my job as a facilitator of fun. People participate in recreation because it is fun and if I can tailor certain things to facilitate those people looking to have fun, then I have done my job.”