MGA Communications

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MGA Communications (previously MGA/Thompson) describes itself as a Denver-based "results-driven public relations, marketing and research firm" founded in 1987 by Mike Gaughan, Jeff Julin, and Cricket Smith in 1987. [1]

In January 2008, MGA's Julin began a one-year term as board chair and CEO of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). [2]

In December 2007, Julin took part in a PRSA workshop presented to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), on "communications ethics." The event was organized after an October 2007 FEMA televised press conference on California wildfires, during which FEMA staffers posed as reporters, asking their boss softball questions. In a press release, PRSA said the goals of the session were to "review the current incident, prevent future errors in judgment and restore public confidence." [3]


  • Strategic Planning
  • Media Relations
  • Positioning/Branding
  • Risk Communications
  • Event & Promotions
  • Creative & Design
  • Public Involvement
  • Research
  • Crisis Communications
  • Community Engagement
  • Employee Communications

Rocky Flats nuclear weapons work

During the 1990s, MGA (then known as MGA/Thompson) worked on "community relations" for the Colorado state health department regarding concerns about the health risks posed to Denver area residents related to the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons factory. According to Denver reporter Richard Fleming, MGA employees charged "up to $160 an hour each for such services as polishing the speaking styles of health department consultants and arranging presentations for luncheon meetings of Kiwanis clubs and Rotarians." He noted that the PR firm had a long history of providing "risk communication" services to polluting clients:

The PR firm helped put the best face on the pollution of Denver's Globeville neighborhood by a century of smokestack fallout from an ASARCO smelter. When asbestos manufacturer Manville Corporation found itself beset with a potentially ruinous spate of liability suits, MGA/Thompson helped engineer damage control. Aerospace giant Martin Marietta called on the firm to train its public relations department in the art of dealing with outraged citizens after its Waterton Canyon plant came under fire for allegedly contaminating the drinking water of thousands of residents in the southwest metro area.
The firm continues to work on behalf of petrochemical giant Shell Oil at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, where Shell's pesticide operation helped turn the Army facility into one of the most polluted pieces of ground in the country. During a convention of PR firms held last fall in Denver, the company touted its success in "winning public acceptance" for a toxic-waste incinerator at the Arsenal.[4]

Greg Marsh, an environmental chemist and president of a citizens' watchdog group called the Rocky Flats Cleanup Commission, described the information given to the public by MGA/Thompson "watered down statements written by slick-talking liars."[4]

On its website, the PR firm states that its aim was to "educate thousands of people, dispel false claims, and shift focus back to where it should be - the cleanup and transition of the Superfund site to a national wildlife refuge worthy of the nation's pride."[5]

While the ground had been polluted by Shell, MGA sought to switch the media focus elsewhere. In mid September 2008 it was reported that MGA had won a Public Relations Socviety of America Award in the special events and community relations category. "MGA and its client, Shell Oil Co., partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Army to create a special event commemorating the arrival of a small herd of wild bison in 2007. The bison were being reintroduced to the site as part of a nationwide effort to conserve and expand America’s bison herd throughout the national wildlife refuge system. The event at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, near the Denver area, became the signature celebration of this ongoing conservation program and garnered international media attention and acclaim," [6]

Past and present clients

  • Americans for Balanced Energy Choices
  • Cabela's [7]
  • Colfax Marathon Partnership [8]
  • Colorado Education Association
  • Flying Dog Brewery
  • J.P. Morgan Chase, promoting "new non-contact credit card technology-called blink-that allows cardholders to make purchases by simply waving a card in front of a register instead of swiping it." [9]
  • Kroger / King Soopers
  • Pumpkin Masters
  • RTD West Corridor Light Rail
  • Questar Market Resources
  • Shell Oil Company - MGA was nominated for a "Sabre Award" from the Holmes Report for the crisis management campaign "Sarin Bomblet Discoveries at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal," on behalf of Shell and the U.S. Army [10]
  • Spivack Vision Center
  • U.S. Energy Corp. and Crested Corp., known as USECC. MGA was hired "to speak with business and community leaders" about USECC's "Lucky Jack molybdenum project located in west-central Colorado." According to a May 2006 press release, MGA was hired to help USECC in "understanding community concerns, minimizing environmental impacts and educating the public at large about the significant economic benefits that could be realized when the mine is brought into production." [11]

Other MGA Communications "case studies" listed on the Holmes Report website are titled, "Lanterns of Liberty" and "Meet Montbello 2001." [12]

Management team

Contact information

Headquarters: 1125 Seventeenth Street, Suite 1800
Denver, CO 80202
Ph: 303.298.1818
Fax: 303.297.3526

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Press fact sheet, MGA Communications corporate website accessed January 19, 2008.
  2. "MGA's Julin starts national PRSA chairmanship," Denver Business Journal, January 4, 2008.
  3. Press release, "PRSA Conducts Professional Development Workshop for FEMA, Offers Ongoing Counsel; Training Focuses on PRSA Code of Ethics, Crisis Communications Decision-Making," PRSA, December 6, 2007.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Richard Fleming (March 15, 1995). Glowing Reports. Westword. Retrieved on September 11, 2008.
  5. MGA Communications, "Just a Drop Can Kill You", MGA Communications website, accessed October 2008.
  6. "Communications Garners Top Industry Honors", PR Leap, September 12, 2008.
  7. Carol Carder, "Moving Dirt For Cabela's; Huge site preparation project for outfitter's new Colorado store under way in Wheat Ridge," Rocky Mountain Construction, October 24, 2005.
  8. "About Us: Sabre Awards," 2006 winners, Holmes Report website, accessed January 2008.
  9. Rob Larimer, "J.P. Morgan Chase to test new non-contact credit card technology in Colorado," Colorado Springs Business Journal, May 27, 2005.
  10. "Gold Sabre nominees," Holmes Report website, accessed January 2008.
  11. Press release, "U.S. Energy Corp. and Crested Corp. Hire Firm to Open Dialogue About Lucky Jack Molybdenum Project," U.S. Energy Corp., May 12, 2006.
  12. "MGA Communications," Holmes Report website, accessed January 2008.

External articles