Ralph H. Hansen / President and CEO
Ralph Hansen's experience in racing dates all the way back to 1967 when he first became friends with Anton "Tony" Hulman, the owner of The Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Upon graduating from Indiana State University in 1970, Ralph went to work during the racing season at The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as an assistant to Tony Hulman. From 1970 to 1978, Ralph got to know many of the race team owners and drivers. He became aware of the fact that they needed help in acquiring and managing corporate sponsors, as there were little or no professional sports marketing operations at the time.
In 1985 Ralph was introduced to the highly respected IndyCar team owner, Carl Haas, by his good friend Jack Safro. During the first year of Ralph's involvement with Carl Haas and Paul Newman, he conceived of what is now the most successful sponsorship acquisition concept today. Still referred to by many as the "Kmart concept", it was the idea of a major retailer working with it's vendors to support a major sponsorship program, and it had never been tried before its introduction by Ralph and Pegasus Marketing Group.
Many years later and hundreds of millions of dollars in sponsorship raised, the concept is still valid and in use today around the world. Ralph has innovated other major creative programs for prominent companies like Eli Lilly and Company, McDonald's Corporation, as well as many others. Believing in and following "The Golden Rule" has been the standard that Ralph and his firm continue to live and do business by today.
William McEssy / Partner
William McEssy began his distinguished business career as an attorney in 1964. He actively practiced law until 1980 and still serves on the Marquette Law School Board of Directors. In 1980, he began his career as an owner/operator of McDonald's restaurants. He currently operates 42 of McDonald's top producing restaurants in Illinois and Wisconsin. He assisted Ralph Hansen in creating the business relationship with Newman's Own salad dressing and McDonald's Corporation. This alliance has produced tens of millions of dollars for charity. Mr. McEssy is Chairman and CEO of McEssy Investment, Inc, the owner of Eagle Oil and Gas Enterprises LLC, and is also a major stockholder in the Andretti Winery in Napa Valley, California. Mr. McEssy, and McEssy Investment Inc, are the recipient of 232 various awards from McDonald's Corporation.
As an active philanthropist, both he and his wife Lois, through their private foundation, have benefited many religious based organizations. They endowed the McEssy Theological Center / Library at St. Mary of the Lake - Mundelein Seminary. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Advisory Board of St. Mary of the Lake - Mundelein Seminary, the largest Catholic seminary in the United States.
Paul Brian / Vice President
Paul Brian is vice president of Pegasus Marketing Group of Lake Forest, Illinois. Pegasus has led the sports and cause marketing industry in the field of motor racing for the past 25 years, representing prestigious clients such as the Paul Newman/Carl Haas Indy Car racing teams.
For 20 years, Paul Brian served as Director of Communications and spokesman for the Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA). The trade group is the nation’s oldest and largest franchised new-car dealer organization, managing local, county and state legislative issues, plus regulatory and continuing education affairs for its members. The CATA is best known to the general public as the producer of the nation’s biggest auto show every February at McCormick Place.
Paul is also a 35-year-veteran Chicago broadcaster. His weekly WLS radio show—Drive Chicago—has been twice recognized as the nation’s best automotive program by the International Automotive Media Association. Now in its 15th year on air, Paul is one of our nation’s best-known and respected automotive industry experts, focusing on the local, national and global automotive scenes featuring industry news and newsmakers, product reviews, motorsports, and (of course) a flurry of questions from listeners. Paul is also well-known for his years at another of the city’s legendary radio outlets, WGN.
Paul’s background in covering and being a part of the automotive industry dates to his teens and includes a three-year stint on the management team for Fiat Group’s Alfa Romeo Indy Car Team based in Milan, Italy. His position included management of the team’s marketing communications programs, public relations, trackside hospitality and executive guest care.
He is a past president of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and is the recipient of two Midwest Emmy awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Science for production of television specials featuring the Chicago Auto Show. Brian was the recipient of the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award from The Legends of Motorsport Guild for his support and activities surrounding the sport he loves. Paul has also been recognized with a rarely presented Lifetime Membership in the Sports Car Club of America, where he was cited for his “countless hours and years of promoting our sport, its events and the safety and spirit of the group’s competitors.”
Paul is a US Army veteran and is honored to serve as chairman of Operation Homefront-Illinois, providing for the needs of deployed military families and wounded warriors. He is an active member of the US Army Recruiting Command’s Advisory Board and the board of the Allen J. Lynch Medal of Honor Veterans Foundation. In 2010 Paul deployed to Forward Operating Base Ghazni in Afghanistan for a two-week embed with Task Force White Eagle of the storied 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division of the US Army. Twice he has had the honor of jumping with the US Army Golden Knights Parachute Team. Brian also collaborated as the voice talent and executive producer of a holiday album, The Soldier’s Christmas Project, benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project. He is also a trustee of the Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities.
Paul is an accomplished chef, enthusiastic golfer, an avid “foodie,” and was the winner of the 1983 World Championship Chili Cook-off in Terlingua, Texas.
William Hansen / Director of Sponsorship & Corporate Relations
William Hansen is often the face of Pegasus Marketing at the track. Dating back to 1997, he has a wide range of experience working with many different company's products, services, challenges and needs. William is passionate about creating and maintaining sponsorship programs that aid in taking care of personnel, encouraging corporate growth and advancing the company's culture. This strategy is executed through a close, personal relationship with a company's executives and employees.