Career Profiles

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From Oregon to DC and Back: Alumnus shapes public perceptions

By Chloe Meyere, Duck Career Network Communications Associate and UO Student


Doug Badger ’91 BA, English
Partner, Quinn Thomas Public Affairs


After living in Washington, D.C., for more than 10 years, University of Oregon alumnus Doug Badger decided it was time to return home to Oregon.

While in D.C., Badger worked in both political and strategic communications, acquiring skills that allowed him to adapt to the job market in Portland. In 2009, he co-founded Quinn Thomas Public Affairs, a public relations consulting firm that works a great deal on local and state public policy. The firm’s main goal is to sell a particular idea or vision to a targeted audience. As a managing partner, Badger directly consults with the firm’s clients.

A Glimpse into Public Relations

Although every campaign is unique, the consultative process remains the same, Badger says. For instance, one of his most interesting campaigns involved a water distribution dispute between Texas and Oklahoma. The debate was whether Oklahoma or the federal government held the authority to allocate the Oklahoma native water that Texas received. Quinn Thomas was hired to bring media attention to the matter in order to convince the Supreme Court to hear the case.

Badger and his team began by conducting intensive research, what he calls the “discovery phase.” He heavily investigated the issue from legal, scientific, and economic perspectives. The key was to determine the audience – in this case, other western states that would be positively affected by a ruling in favor of Texas. Badger gathered all of his information and condensed it into a message that was relayed to the media. Finally, all the crucial aspects were merged into one timeline, determined by, and revolving around, the Supreme Court certiorari* hearing.

His UO education, a Foundation for Success

Although this is a very involved process, Badger finds it extremely interesting. He attributes a large portion of his success to the skills he gained while studying at the UO. 

“In PR and politics, you need to be able to digest large volumes of information, and from that, determine what the key points are,” he explains. “Majoring in English taught me to write and critically analyze, which are both skills I use regularly.”

A Career for Worldly and Creative Types

Beyond the structure, however, he describes PR as a very creative field, one where job-seekers who enjoy learning about life and the world around them will find the most success. Badger notes that candidates who have acquired a wide range of knowledge will be the best fits, as that knowledge informs their creativity. With all these components, Badger is able produce fresh and innovative campaigns, working in a riveting career field he loves and recommends to all those interested.

* A decision by the Supreme Court to hear an appeal from a lower court