Ian McGaughey was born in Virginia and grew up in upstate New York, in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, roughly equidistant to New York City, Boston and Montreal. "For a baseball fan it was perfect," McGaughey said. "We'd go see the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox and Expos all the time."
In the early 1980s, Ian McGaughey was part of the two-man group "The Michus," which had a song hit the charts in Spain—or so the legend goes. A chronicle of the musical duo can be found here: a 2002 interview with McGaughey about the band's rise, fall and enduring cult status, which McGaughey attributes to "an abundance of questionable taste in the world."
As a youngster, McGaughey also made short movies with his friends using a silent Super 8 film camera. Generally violent and somewhat confusing, some of those movies can be seen here. He describes his movie-making style as "the tried-and-true Ian McGaughey formula of destroyed electronics, large firecrackers and fake blood."
After receiving a degree in Communications from American University, he worked for a television station in Arkansas, following then-Governor Bill Clinton during his 1992 presidential campaign. "For a kid right out of school, that was amazing, something I'll never forget," McGaughey said. Later, he worked for a television station in Albany, New York. "That was a blur of house fires, fatal accidents and alleged abductions. My last day on the job, someone laid down on railroad tracks to cut himself in two."
Later, he founded a communications company producing various media, including local TV shows, corporate videos, print ads, direct mail, web media and more.
In November 2001, McGaughey was elected to the first of two terms as a councilman in a municipality of 13,000 after sending a four-minute campaign video to more than 4,000 homes. "The video was on VHS, and it went out the same week that someone mailed anthrax to a bunch of people," he said. "So all these people got my videotape in the mail and were calling the cops thinking they got anthrax. Beautiful. But I won in a landslide. Okay, a 26 vote landslide."
In 2002, Ian McGaughey made the documentary Looking At America chronicling a five-week, 12,500-mile solo road trip around the United States. “I love to travel and experience new places, particularly remote, out-of-the-way locations," McGaughey said. "Looking At America shows that. I think I was able to get an honest glimpse of the ‘real America’ in the video by sticking to the dirt roads and back highways, and by having the good fortune to meet some interesting, open and very friendly people.”
Later, in 2008, he ran unsuccessfully for the New York State Assembly in one of the most expensive races in the state that year. Some of the TV ads from that race can be seen here. "That was an absolutely crazy experience, one I won't be doing again any time soon," he said. "But it was a rewarding experience all the same."
Eight days after the election, Ian McGaughey married his fiancé in a small ceremony on Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman island. Less then two months later, they moved to Arizona and began expansion of an auxiliary business. The plan was trumped by divorce, and McGaughey went back east where he began work with an Alaska Native corporation in Vermont.
Having gained experience in Alaska Native affairs, McGaughey relocated to the remote community of Seldovia on the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska in 2012 to serve as a senior manager for a Tribal organization there. He calls it “one of the most beautiful places on earth,” noting that it is accessible only by boat or small aircraft. McGaughey was elected President of the Chamber of Commerce within three months of arriving, and was later named to the boards of directors for the Alaska Chamber and the Kenai Peninsula Tourism and Marketing Council.
Ian loves spending time with his niece and nephew (pictured with Ian at the top of the page) and his Godson Wil. He's an avid hiker, enjoys snowshoeing and plays bass in a local band.
“You could say I’ve had a bit of a sailor’s life,” McGaughey said. "There's been the good, there's been the not-so-good, but it's always been an adventure, and I've sure learned a lot."