The (850) Life: Jack Kerigan

Jack Kerigan has never forgotten the professor at Florida State University in Tallahassee who each day urged his students to “make it a great day.” He continues to weave this optimism into every marketing project he takes on

Ad Man Jack Kerigan, Port St. Joe, Owner, Kerigan Marketing Associates By Linda Kleindienst Originally published in the Oct/Nov 2010 issue of 850 Magazine

Jack Kerigan has never forgotten the professor at Florida State University in Tallahassee who each day urged his students to “make it a great day.”

The message? If you want something good to happen, you have to be an active participant. Kerigan took the advice to heart, and it still serves as his motto.

Now 47, Kerigan cut his teeth in the marketing business with RJR Tobacco and then Community Coffee, but in 2000 he decided to strike out on his own, launching Kerigan Marketing Associates in Baton Rouge, La. His first projects: a local bank and Louisiana’s Audubon Golf Trail.

He has since been recognized as one of FSU’s “Notable Noles” and was named one of the “Top 40 Under 40” by the Baton Rouge Business Report and one of the “20 People to Watch” by New Orleans’ Gambit Weekly.

Wanting his children to grow up around family, Kerigan decided to move back to Florida’s Gulf Coast, opening an office in Port St. Joe. Now he commutes between the two offices to keep tabs on his clients.

“I remember standing in the lieutenant governor’s office in Louisiana and saying, ‘We’re going to be moving to Florida, but I think I can work it out.’ ”

Indeed he did.

1. Biggest work headache? It’s the administrative part — the tax filings, billings, collections. But I never met a sales and marketing guy who likes that. We’d rather get out and communicate with a client.

2. Academic prowess? I had an academic scholarship to FSU, but I also had a lot of fun there. My grades were good but not stellar … I wasn’t celebrated as a Rhodes Scholar. But I got serious in grad school and graduated with a 4.0.

3. Business hero: The CEO of Chick-fil-A, S. Truett Cathy. He created the boneless chicken breast sandwich, and obviously he was an innovator in his approach to advertising. With him, integrity comes first. Plus, I’ve always admired a guy who can run a business that is closed on Sunday, even if lots of his stores are in mall food courts.

4. Personal hero: My mom. She worked two full-time jobs to raise four boys. She was a nursing instructor at Gulf Coast Community College, and every day when she left that job, she went to work in the emergency room at Bay Medical Center.

5. Mode of convo: Texting with my family, especially my 15-year-old daughter, but mostly phone with my clients. I wouldn’t text a client.

6. Book or Kindle/iPad: I work on a computer all day. When I sit down to relax, I want to touch paper.

7. How to relax: I like to sail. I grew up racing Hobie Cat sailboats … It was a good vehicle to get the girls onboard. Now we have a little catamaran we keep on the beach.

8. Biggest fan crush: The New Orleans Saints — but not because they won a Super Bowl last year. My last stop on the corporate trail was Community Coffee. I spent a lot of time in New Orleans, where they have passion for life and a not-so-great football team.