Ian McGaughey was born in Virginia, grew up in New York and lives in Alaska where he is a senior manager for an Alaska Native organization. McGaughey also serves as the president of the Seldovia Chamber of Commerce and sits on the boards of directors for the Alaska Chamber and the Kenai Peninsula Tourism and Marketing Council.
As a child, McGaughey would make 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. After receiving a degree in Communications from American University, he worked for a television station in Arkansas, getting the opportunity to follow then-Governor Bill Clinton during his 1992 presidential campaign. Later, he worked for a television station in New York.
In 2000, he founded a small company producing various communications media, including TV shows, corporate videos, commercials, 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. 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.
After selling his communications company in 2010, McGaughey took a position working for a US Department of Labor location directing communications and outreach. In 2012, he relocated to a remote community on the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska, living in “one of the most beautiful places on earth,” accessible only by boat or small aircraft.
“You could say I’ve had a bit of a sailor’s life,” McGaughey said. “I love to travel and experience new places, particularly remote, out-of-the-way locations. ‘Looking At America’ shows that. The last thing I wanted to do was to travel the Interstates and visit cookie-cutter cities. 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 friendly people.”