An entrepreneur, advocate, and published author, TJ Nelligan is a man of action who has made it his life’s mission to serve and benefit others.
Nelligan founded his namesake company, Nelligan Sports Marketing, Inc. (NSM), in June 1999 with the mission of becoming the premier sports marketing company in the nation. As a result of his leadership, NSM’s employees negotiated more than $500 million in sponsorship agreements with some of the country’s best-known blue-chip companies. After 15 successful years, Nelligan sold his company to Learfield Sports in February 2014.
Before founding NSM, Nelligan spent nine years at Host Communications, Inc., including serving as president of Host’s Sports Division and a member of Host’s Senior Management Committee. Before joining Host, Nelligan gained sales and marketing experience with Procter & Gamble and spent seven years on Wall Street.
Having spearheaded some of the most successful marketing campaigns in collegiate sports, Nelligan looked to elevate the Special Olympics’ status domestically and led the efforts to bring the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games to New Jersey. He then served as chairman and CEO of the 2014 USA Games, where he oversaw all aspects of the event, including corporate partnerships, sports operations, event logistics, marketing, and public relations. Nelligan has been involved with Special Olympics New Jersey (SONJ) since 1995, serving on SONJ’s
Board of Directors from 1995 to 2014 and as Chairman of the Board from 2001–2003. As chairman, he raised millions of dollars for the Special Olympics New Jersey Sports Complex. Nelligan has also served on the board for both special-needs schools that his son, Sean, attended and helped raise money for both the Children’s Center (now the P.G. Chambers School) and the Midland School.
An advocate for the needs of those with both intellectual and developmental disabilities, Nelligan served as Commissioner of the Commission of Higher Education for the State of New Jersey from 2005 to 2008. He was honored with the Man of the Year Award by SONJ in April 2007 at the SONJ annual gala. Montville Township High School inducted Nelligan into its Hall of Fame in 2004. Nelligan was named Montville Township Citizen of the Year in 2006 for his work with the special-needs population and the organizations that assist them.
Inspired by the sudden and tragic passing of his son Sean on Father’s Day 2019, Nelligan authored his first book entitled, Live Like Sean, as a way to remember what an amazing person he was and an opportunity to memorialize all of their stories. Live Like Sean provides a first-person perspective of seeing the world through a special needs person and that life lessons can come from the most unlikely places.
Nelligan is a graduate of the University of Richmond with a BA in economics.