Oregon athletic and outdoor brands including OIA Global, Adidas Outdoor, Gerber, Columbia Sportswear, Hydro Flask, and the Outdoor Industry Association are sponsoring six Portland State University students to attend the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, Aug. 3 through 6, in Salt Lake City. The event is the biggest trade show of the year for the athletic and outdoor industry. OIA, the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer, partnered with PSU to provide this unique immersion student experience.
The students are part of PSU’s Athletic and Outdoor (A&O) Industry program, a specialty within PSU’s School of Business Administration. The program was launched in 2013 with industry support to teach students all aspects of the industry, from product development to marketing. Oregon is the global hub for the industry, according to Jennifer Nolfi, an industry veteran and the program’s director. She was hired in 2015 to build the program and cultivate deeper ties between the school and the A&O industry.
This is the first year in which PSU has partnered with OIA and regional industry leaders to make it possible for students to attend the trade show. Nolfi said participation in the show will immerse the students in the A&O industry, trends, innovations, issues and culture, which she said is critical to the success of the program and the future of the industry.
“This is not only a unique opportunity for students to experience the broad diversity of brands and products, but a chance for brands to invest in their future success by supporting the next generation of outdoor professionals,” said Scott Welch, senior global manager of corporate relations for Columbia Sportswear.
The Pacific Northwest has more than 800 A&O businesses, and the industry employs more than 14,000 workers in Oregon. The average wages are more than $80,000 annually, which is 70 percent higher than the statewide average for all workers.
“Our industry needs bright, enthusiastic and adventurous new blood coming in as the original members are ready to pass over the keys,” said Diane Kay, marketing and merchandising manager at adidas Outdoor. “I have been in the industry since I graduated high school and have loved it from the beginning. It has given me more experiences in travel than I could have gotten in almost any other industry. It has kept me young and active and involved with the world.”
The PSU students, including graduates and undergraduates, will staff and support OIA-hosted educational sessions and events at the show. OIA is a membership-driven trade association that unites and serves more than 1,200 industry organizations through its focus on trade and recreation policy, sustainable business innovation, market and consumer insights and education and leadership development.
This article was initially published in Portland State University News as “Athletic and outdoor brands send PSU students to largest US outdoor industry trade show” and has been republished here with the consent of the original content owner.