Five Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Mike Surbaugh

Five Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Mike Surbaugh

After a couple of months on the job as Chief Scout Executive, I am happy to report just how much fun I am having connecting with all of you: both reconnecting with many folks I’ve encountered throughout my Scouting career, and also getting to know so many new people — staff, volunteers and Scouts alike.

It’s always interesting to learn about the impact Scouting has had on everyone’s lives. That information grounds me and is a tremendous source of inspiration for me. At the same time, I also just enjoy getting to know our supporters on a personal level and hearing about the things important to them.

Many of you know that I ride a Harley and have a bucket list of National Parks I want to visit, but I’m often asked what other “non-Scouting” things I’m interested in. Here are a few things that have been asked of me recently (and I’m happy to respond and hear of your favorite interests!). We’ll start with the leaders I admire most:

  • Leadership: Great leaders have a few things in common. It has been said that our greatest leaders emerge during periods of conflict or uncertainty. They understand the unescapable need for change. They have a clear vision about what needs to change and how to make change happen. The living leader I admire most is General Joe Dunford, the recently named 19th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The historical leader I admire most is Abraham Lincoln. Both of these men’s leadership styles reflect conviction, character and understanding of how to lead change. (And, by the way, my most important mentor? My dad.)
  • My Favorite Quote: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” — Theodore Roosevelt
  • Sports: I don’t watch much regular season sports, but enjoy watching the Pittsburgh Penguins and Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs. If you don’t get Pittsburgh, then you wouldn’t understand. It’s a Pittsburgh thing.
  • Books:I read a lot and usually go through a book a week. I try to read educational books, from management to biographies, and then treat myself with a good action/fiction book. My current favorite author is Lee Child, who writes the Jack Reacher series. My brother, dad and I have read them all.
  • Travel: I would love to visit Australia and New Zealand with a stop in Tahiti. I want to hike the mountains and see the bush of Australia. I also want to do some snorkeling on the reefs in Tahiti, and the Great Barrier Reef. It’s a big dream, and it takes a long time to get there, so it will probably have to wait for retirement.

How about you? Do we share any of these interests in common? Or what interests do you want to tell us about?

Thanks for reading.


Nathan Johnson

As a member of the Communications team at Boy Scouts of America, Nathan Johnson enjoys finding and sharing the stories that inform, inspire, and delight the Scouting family.


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Five Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Mike Surbaugh
Five Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Mike Surbaugh
Five Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Mike Surbaugh