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Executive Snapshot: PR pro trades fog for 100-degree nights

When Kurt Ouchida attended University of California, Davis, he earned degrees in a hat trick of undergraduate majors — English, psychology, and rhetoric and communications. It proved to be the ideal academic base for Ouchida’s career in marketing, public relations and advertising.

“I have an outgoing personality and was wired to do something in the marketing and PR realm,” said Ouchida, 47, a married father of two living in Henderson and co-owner of BRAINtrust Marketing + Communications in Las Vegas.

Ouchida was born and raised in Sacramento, Calif., moving to San Francisco after college in Davis to work at the marketing/PR firm of Kamer-Singer &Associates. He moved to Las Vegas in 1993 to open a Kamer Singer satellite office.

Ouchida opened BRAINTrust with co-owner Michael Coldwell in 2006 after working seven years for Las Vegas Sands Inc. as vice president of communications. BRAINtrust is Nevada’s third largest advertising agency, with 30 clients including the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, United Way and the Las Ventanas senior home.

“Our strategy was always to widen our client portfolio and not (be) looked upon as a niche agency,” Ouchida said. His firm’s clients are in government, hospitality, entertainment, gaming, attractions and professional services.

What was the transition like going from Sands to your own company?

It was a relatively smooth transition. I learned a lot during my time at The Venetian and I attribute some of the success we enjoy today to the lessons I learned and the contacts I made. I was fortunate to be on the inside of a tremendously entrepreneurial culture, where you were challenged on a daily basis to come up with new ideas, more efficient ways to compete, and more diligent ways to stay above the competition.

What’s unique about marketing and public relations in Southern Nevada?

There is no place like the Southern Nevada market. It is nonstop, fiercely competitive and ever-evolving. With 40 million visitors a year and roughly two million residents, this makes for a unique challenge. You need to be at the forefront of emerging technologies, at-the-moment consumer data, and new marketing channels micro-targeted on a preferred customer segment.

What do you enjoy doing to unwind?

Spending time with my family. It is immensely rejuvenating just hanging out with my wife and two sons, listening to music, plucking a guitar, searching out the newest restaurant, or just doing a project around the house. I get up early on weekends to get in a few miles of cycling and running or a few hundred yards of swimming.

What is your favorite bicycle route?

The River Mountain Loop is as picturesque as they come. I like the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a long ride, when you knew you gave it your all to crest a hill or fought through wind to maintain a certain speed. No one can help me through it. It was just me and my trusty bike.

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