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Employee Spotlight: Mike McLaughlin

Employee Spotlight: Mike McLaughlin

How would you describe your role at PS&F?

My role is to support everybody’s needs at the offices to make it easier for them to do their jobs.

Tell me about your family?

There’s my wife Sheilia; we have been married for 30 years and she is on the Auburn School Board, and my daughter Hannah, who is currently counseling at the youth camp she grew up going to. She’s a sophomore at University of Wyoming and she’s really excited because this year she gets to live at her sorority house. Last year with the pandemic everything was remote, and she didn’t get that chance.

You do a lot of volunteering in the community, right?

Mostly we work with the homeless. We work on getting them housing, food, anything else they may need, but mostly I mentor and work with children. My family has fostered several kids over the years – we’ve taken in quite a few babies and children who come to us through Sunday community suppers at my church that I help with.

On top of that, I’d say about 35 – 40% of the homeless folks who come to eat are teenagers. I try to help them, talk to them, and do whatever I can to motivate them to finish their education, stay off drugs, that kind of stuff. A lot of times they don’t want to hear what I have to say, and they’ll get mad or yell at me. But if I can help just one kid out, it’s a victory for me.

I was in the same situation as a teenager, and nobody was there to help me. I wasn’t homeless, but I was almost there. My dad passed away when I was 12 and my mom was gone 14 hours a day working to support us. I was left to myself and had to make a lot of adult decisions – no kid that young should ever have to make those kinds of choices. I started going in the wrong direction before finding my way.

It’s important to me that these kids have a chance to enjoy their childhood, because I had to give up mine.

Mike McLaughlin and his family

What is something your co-workers would be surprised to learn about you?

I like to color. When I’m stressed out and life has me down, I take over our dining room table with giant coloring posters – at least until my wife gets mad that they’re all over the table (laughs). 

You were in charge of managing the Bellevue office facilities during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. What was that like?

It was pretty weird. I was lonely because there was nobody here. It felt like a scene out of an apocalyptic movie – I was just waiting for the zombies to show up. Once I walked out into the parking lot and there were deer because it was so deserted. It was just me, my facilities coworker Desmond, and the deer – there weren’t even any cars of the road. It really seemed like the end of the world.

It was nice to not have any traffic –but I’m just happy now that people are back in the office.

Mike McLaughlin and his family

Where did you grow up?

I’m a local boy – I grew up in the Burien/White Center area of Seattle and went through the Highline School District. Since then, I’ve lived pretty much everywhere around Lake Washington.

You’re a big Seahawks fan. Why?

When I was six or seven years old, the year before the Seahawks’ very first season, they sent coaches and players out into the communities, and they came to the YMCA where I went to day camp. One of the players and I just connected for whatever reason. He even stayed after the whole event was over and talked with me for two hours.

I still don’t know why he singled me out like that, but it was really cool. After that, I went and got a jersey, and I’ve been a big fan ever since.  

What is the most valuable advice you ever received? 

Go after your dreams. Don’t give up because someone else said you can’t do it. You’ll regret it for the rest of your life if you don’t. Trying and failing is one thing – but giving up is the worst thing you can do.

Mike McLaughlin and his family

What is your greatest indulgence?

Usually, I spend big money on something for my wife, or big trip like a cruise. We were supposed to go on a cruise last year for our 30th anniversary, but COVID-19 cancelled that.

If I’m spending money on myself, I usually spend it on fishing or bowling. Or maybe a Seahawks season ticket.

What is the quality you admire most in other people?

There’s an African Zulu greeting I learned about in college, “Sawubona.” It means “I see you,” but it’s a lot deeper than that. It’s an acknowledgement of someone’s existence and humanity – it says that someone is more than just a person passing by. So often these days, you pass people on the street and they don’t make eye contact or look away. I think it’s important to acknowledge our fellow man – I’m not sure if you’d call that being outgoing or something else. But I think it’s important to remember that no matter where a person may be in life, whether they’re the richest or the poorest person in the world, they’re still a human being.


Where are you from? White Center/Burien, Washington

Family? Wife, Sheilia; daughter, Hannah; and four dogs; Buddy, Tibbs, Café, and our newest puppy Augie

Favorite vacation spot? My family’s annual trip to Jack’s Resort on Jameson Lake in Central Washington

Favorite television show? Any nature documentary

Childhood hero? Bruce Lee

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