Mike Rogge

Hello, my name is Mike Rogge, but most people call me Rogge. I write for magazines and websites you might like and run a media company called Verb Cabin. I’m a proud board member at Alpine Initiatives, focusing specifically on branding, industry relations, and messaging.

What is your greatest fear?

My greatest fear is one day I’ll wake up unhappy. At the moment, I might be the happiest I’ve ever been. Seriously. I’m getting better at focusing on the moment, being present. That’s something J.P. Auclair made happen so effortlessly. I looked up to J.P. My fear is I’ll lose that ability I’m working so hard to obtain, wake up one morning and say “Ugh…this isn’t right.” So far, so good.

What is your greatest extravagance?

When my fiancé is out of town I skateboard down to the Old Range Steakhouse, order a Lil’ Buckaroo Cut of prime rib medium rare, a mountain of mashed potatoes, and an Old Fashion. It’s a little excessive. A little too Mad Men. I recently learned cow farts are a massive contributor to global climate change. Just writing this made me feel guilty.

What is your current state of mind?

I’m content with where life took me and where I’m taking it. I’m concerned about the growing indifference or anger by Americans when it comes to social issues. There seems to be an effort to jump into a fight rather than admit there is a real problem with (really any issue you can fill in here) and it needs to be worked on. Also, my mind tells me I’m hungry. My father-in-law is making meatloaf in the kitchen. It smells delicious.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

I don’t like today’s notion of authenticity. Don’t get me wrong, there are some real authentic, wonderful, down-to-earth people and for that I’m thankful. But someone saying they, themselves, are authentic sort of immediately indicates they’re not.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Integrity is important to me and I constantly question whether I’m doing the best job I can to be genuine. It’s easy to get jaded and dismiss people with other opinions. It’s self-evaluation to keep it all in check. I’ve definitely made mistakes, professional and personally, and it’s important to realize those mistakes and own up to them rather than push the blame elsewhere. My father has integrity. I look up to him. He takes pride in his work.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

I like the women who stand up for themselves, fight for what they believe in, and make a lot of noise. Society used to call these women “needy” or “bitchy.” I like to think of them as strong and confident. Also, I love when my fiancé laughs in awkward situations. She can diffuse most moments with humor.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I made more of an effort to see my family back in New York. I get back there a couple times a year, but it’s difficult being three hours behind them in California. My niece is 16, nephew is 6, and new nephew is on the way in spring ’16. I wish I could be in two places at once, watch them grow up and become the people they’re going to be. I love those kids.

Who is your hero of fiction?

Calvin of Calvin & Hobbes is the man. I used to read those comic strips as a kid.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

I can’t identify personally with a historical figure, as most of them are tremendous people who made major impacts on society, history, and the human race in general. I haven’t done anything like that. I respect and admire the writer and teacher Norman Maclean. He’s one of America’s best scribes, using poetic language to tell stories of the great American West. Warren Miller is a personal hero. His writing is light and dry like the best powder snow.

Who are your heroes in real life?

Roy Tuscany, Steve Wallace and the rest of the High Fives Non-Profit Foundation are my heroes. They have a tremendous ability to affect change in meaningful ways. I love what they do. J.P. Auclair was and continues to be a major influence on my life. I’m a huge fan of the New York Mets, so their entire pitching staff is a hero in a total fan-boy kind of way.

What is your greatest regret?

I wish I applied myself a bit more in high school, but ultimately I don’t have a lot of regrets. I wish I’d been nicer when I was a dick, compassionate when I was jaded, but ultimately I don’t dwell on the past. I try and learn from it.

East or west coast?

East Coast forever has my heart. The west coast has me now, though. I love Northern California and Upstate New York/Vermont equally if you can even believe that.

Favorite mountain?

West Mountain in Queensbury/Glens Falls, New York, forever. That mountain made me the person I am today.

What does AI mean to you?

Serving on this board is a tremendous honor. I believe in the end A.I. will be our fallen friend J.P.’s lasting legacy. That’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly. No one on the board does. But let’s put that aside for a moment. A.I. is building momentum. We can be those agents of change. This foundation can improve the lives of so many people in so many communities that need it. A.I. means there’s hope we can make the world better. I don’t mean to sound all “non-profit, heal the world-ish,” but holy guacamole we can actually do something good and leave places I’ve lived in and loved so deeply better off than when I first met them. That’s what AI has the ability to do and I look forward to being a part of kick starting that future through this foundation.

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