In his own words: Mike Cowan of the Peppermill Resort
Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about the Peppermill and the duties of your position.
Mike Cowan: The Peppermill is innovative and exciting and has always been changing since the day I started. I co-direct the advertising department with Patty Halabuk. She’s in charge of operations and I tackle the creative. We take care of the advertising for all six properties. Print, radio, TV, large format, outdoor, Web etc. The pace is fast and we’ve got a super talented team.
NNBW: How did you get into this profession?
Cowan: I’ve always been drawn to it I loved to paint and draw. I tried other things but always ended up back in this direction. It was hard to break into the business; everyone wants experience, and I had none. Finally someone took a chance on me.
NNBW: What’s the most important thing you have learned in your career?
Cowan: Listen to everyone’s opinions but be confident in yourself.
NNBW: What’s changed about your job with the recession?
Cowan: We put our heads together and work smarter, more strategically and try to do and be more effective with less.
NNBW: What was your first job?
Cowan: I worked for a lawn mowing service. I excelled in edging.
NNBW: Have any advice for someone who wants to enter your profession?
Cowan: Keep at it, study it, live it and you’ve got to love it.
NNBW: Tell me about the most fun you have had on the job.
Cowan: Our shoots. Especially for the club (EDGE nightspot). We work almost exclusively with club employees. There aren’t too many boundaries, and it’s great creating something wonderful from a few ideas and a lot of ingenuity.
NNBW: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Cowan: Whether you think you can or you think you can’t you’re right.
NNBW: If you could live your life over again, what one thing would you change?
Cowan: How I dressed in the ’80s. Other than that, not a thing.
NNBW: How do you spend your time away from work.
Cowan: When I am not working I try to stay focused on what is most important, my family.
NNBW: If you had enough money to retire right now, would you?
Cowan: No, I may not work quite as many long hours but it’s in my blood.
NNBW: What’s the last concert or sporting event you attended?
Cowan: Stone Temple Pilots and a Wolf Pack football game.
NNBW: Where’s your perfect vacation spot?
Cowan: New York! With all of that energy it feels like the hub of the world. The art, entertainment, architecture, cuisine, history … I could go on and on.
NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like most about working/living here?
Cowan: I love Reno. I believe in Reno.
Name/Title: Mike Cowan, creative director, Peppermill
Number of years in this job? 6
Number of years in this profession? 11 but it seems like I’ve been doing this in some fashion my whole life
Education: Bachelor of Arts, University of Nevada, Reno
Last book read? “Designers Don’t Read” by Austin Rowe you know they do read, just little bits at a time (captions are nice)
Favorite movie? Tough one but I’ll say “Amelie” or maybe “City of Lost Children.” I really like most films by Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
What’s on your iPod? Deadbolt, Disturbed, Garden State, George Winston, U2, Sinatra, Snow Patrol I am all over the place
Spouse, kids or pets? My wife and best friend Kelly, our two boys Finnegan (8) and Macallister (5); Oliver the boxer and Lucy our fat feline.
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“I point out many cases of where privately owned companies do just as bad a job as publicly owned companies,” says Reno resident and former teacher Robert (R.D.) Gardner.