Straughn High graduate has her head in the clouds

Published 11:59 pm Monday, July 6, 2009

Andalusia area native Megan L. Young is spending lots of time with an eye toward the sky these days.

The 2004 Straughn High School grad, also an LBWCC alumna, is working hard to promote the Wind Creek Blimp. The blimp sports an A-170LS Lightsign which allows the Poarch Creek Indian Gaming Authority (PCI) to use the latest technology to interact with its customers and frequently change its promotional message.

The blimp was christened at PCI’s Wind Creek Casino and Hotel near Atmore in June. Since then, it’s flown in Birmingham during City Stages; in Montgomery for a Biscuits game; during the Blue Angels’ show; and returned to Wind Creek. The airship’s schedule is literally “up in the air,” but it has a firm date in Atmore on July 17, when Wind Creek will host Reba McEntire in concert.

As public relations coordinator for the Poarch Creek Indian Gaming Authority, Young is handling the day-to-day operations of the blimp, including planning the schedule of events and creating a ground presence for it at various events.

“The blimp has proven to be a marvelous marketing venture thus far,” she said. “Many people have not had an opportunity to see a blimp in person; therefore, upon first glance of this huge, illuminated ‘balloon,’ most are awe-struck … then people start pointing their finger towards the sky, talking excitedly all the while, and pull out the camera for a quick picture.

“If up close and personal with the blimp, the first reaction is usually about how large the aircraft really is … 178 feet to be exact!” she said. “Billboards, TV commercials and magazine articles are all common ways of advertising which may be easily overlooked; a blimp does not fall into one of those categories. It undeniably grabs the attention of its audience while the massive 70 foot by 30 foot video screen captivates them.”

Wind Creek Casino and Hotel officially opened in January 2009 and is visible from Interstate 65. The hotel features 236 rooms. The casino has three dining facilities and a coffee shop, and will open a cooking studio and spa later this summer.

Young has worked with PCI Gaming for two years and currently is completing her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Faulkner University.