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Video game group CEO plays where policy, tech intersect

Self-confessed ‘huge gamer’ moved from a legal practice to government, then back to private sector, always following his passion

January 24, 2012

The path Mike Gallagher took to heading the Entertainment Software Association has all the levels of one of its video games. He zigzagged from practicing law, to Capitol Hill, to a federal agency, back to law. Then came the surprise call from a recruiter. All against the electronic soundtrack of his love for the games themselves.

“I’m a huge gamer,” said Gallagher, president and CEO of ESA since 2007. He harks back to 1995, when he first came to Washington, D.C., to work for his local congressman. He fondly remembers playing “The Legend of Zelda” with his three children.

“We had a Nintendo 64, which was the hottest platform going. My kids were one, three and five.” His 3-year-old son could manipulate the controls and his 5-year-old daughter read the text. And his 1-year-old daughter would watch the others.