“I think the big thing is – if you look at my resume – I care about people. I really care.”
P.J. Morgan’s resume is extensive; a nearly five-decade compilation of accomplishment in business and public service aimed at elevating his lifelong hometown.
“Every wish, every dream – whatever I’ve wanted to achieve has been fortunate enough to happen,” he says.
Morgan launched his first real estate venture, P.J. Morgan Company, in 1967 and grew it into one of the largest real estate firms in Nebraska. He matched that commercial success with a string of political wins: Nebraska State Senator (1970), Douglas County Commissioner (1973 and 2010) and Mayor of the City of Omaha (1989 and 1993).
“I think as Mayor, you have a chance to really do some positive things. We worked with affordable housing. Planning Director Bob Peters did a great job for us in that area. And we were out in the community all the time, trying to do the right thing for the right reasons. I think that’s what life is about, doing the right thing for the right reasons.”
Morgan helped convince the College World Series to enter into an unprecedented, multi-year relationship with Omaha. His administration initiated Drug Free School Zones and enhanced the Omaha Police Gang Unit – both of which inspired a rare mayoral appearance on Meet the Press with David Brinkley, White House meetings with Former President George H.W. Bush and a speaking slot at Republican National Convention.
In 1996, his career came full circle with a return to the real estate business. PJ Morgan Real Estate has since grown from one employee to almost 80 and done work in more than 100 cities.
“My style is more of a team effort and getting input from others, and that’s brought good fortune and success,” he says.
Beyond real estate and public office, Morgan’s community impact includes board service for a lengthy list of organizations, including United Way, Greater Omaha Chamber, MECA Advisory Board, Omaha Airport Authority and Salvation Army, where he worked on the development of the Kroc Center.
“The important thing is liking what you do. That’s so important. And it’s so important for many reasons – and one of those is that life is short.”
Quick to describe himself as “luckiest guy in the world,” Morgan has no plans to retire anytime soon.
“For me, it’s just fun. I really enjoy going to work tremendously, and the reason I enjoy it so much is the people I’m around. They bring a real pleasure and an enthusiasm and a spirit. As long as I continue to enjoy it, I’m going to continue to do it.”
2017 Business Hall of Fame Honorees