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New hire brings heat to Outlaw’s digital platforms

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Mike Somerby, Outlaw Partners’ newest team member, closes out a wave of four young new hires the company has brought to Big Sky in the past nine months. PHOTO BY BAY STEPHENS

By Bay Stephens EBS Staff Writer

BIG SKY – After missing his flight from London to Munich, Germany, for Oktoberfest, Michael Somerby didn’t bother buying another plane ticket. He bought a bus pass instead.

From London—where he was studying abroad during the fall of 2015—the bus carried Somerby across the English Channel via ferry to Paris, France. From there, he hitchhiked the 500 miles to Munich to celebrate the age-old holiday.

“I guess my friends in Munich were having wagers on if I would make it at all,” Somerby said. “Adventurous” is one of the words he thinks friends would use to describe him and is underscored by time exploring places like China, Turkey, Switzerland, and India. Now he’s on to his next adventure: Montana.

As the newest addition to the Outlaw Partners team, Somerby was hired in January as digital editor, a role that involves managing and growing the company’s digital and social platforms while helping on the editorial side as a reporter.

In 2017, Somerby earned a bachelor’s in journalism from Elon University in North Carolina, a degree he pivoted to after a displeasing freshman year in the school of business. He’s always been a storyteller, he says, so journalism was a far better fit.

After graduating, Somerby spent two months teaching high school students in rural southern India before returning stateside and working as a media buyer for a prominent media company in New York City where he purchased advertisement space on network and cable television.

After five months he traded the position for work on the production team at Whitehouse Post, a commercial editing company also located in the Big Apple.

There he oversaw post-production for various commercial campaigns, including editing, color work, sound work and visual effects. The biggest job he produced was the ESPN College Football Championship campaign, which he endeavored on from August to December. He also produced works for Facebook, Nike, and American Biopharmaceuticals Companies.

Somerby said the 11-month experience taught him the ins and outs of post-production, personnel and asset management, and how to juggle a litany of tasks.

Having grown up visiting Ennis, where his great grandfather and now grandfather has ranchland, he knew a more manageable pace of life in a more organic setting was out there. He left his previous job Dec. 31 and, after interviewing, officially started at Outlaw Jan. 29.

“I was coming out here regardless,” he said. “I just knew it was a good place to be.”

Montana is a welcome change for Somerby, offering more prospects of community and outdoor recreation than the big city or even his hometown in southwest Connecticut. He looks forward to hiking and camping this summer, as well as honing his skiing, fishing and rock-climbing prowess. Mountain biking and elk hunting are also on Somerby’s list.

In the meantime, Somerby is relishing the opportunity to think creatively with the Outlaw team and bolster the company’s digital platforms while carrying on its spirit of powerful storytelling.

“Outlaw has a great company culture,” Somerby said. “We have a canvas and we’re given a lot of ability in what we can do and what we can try. Big Sky is going through a very transformative stage, and I think Outlaw and EBS are part of the stewardship of that growth. There’s still so much that can happen and I want to be a part of it.”

Although his nose is to the grindstone bolstering the company’s digital presence and thinking up new and compelling storytelling methods, Somerby says he’s looking forward to meeting community members and learning more about Big Sky. And he’s thrilled for this next adventure.

Joseph T. O'Connor is the previous Editor-in-Chief for EBS newspaper and Mountain Outlaw magazine.

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