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AO401 Introduction to the Athletic and Outdoor Industry

Certificate Track: Athletic and Outdoor Product Management

The Introduction to the Athletic and Outdoor (A&O) Industry course focuses on the overarching challenges people working in the industry face every day. This includes exploring the fundamental challenges in innovation, pain points, incorporating sustainability practices, branding and positioning, strategic planning, and achieving long-term strategic objectives as well as short-term goals. Competition in this industry is tremendous with global brands dominating the market and start-up businesses emerging at a rapid pace; this course examines strategic initiatives of the global players as well as the developing companies that are tomorrow’s innovators. Obtain a full perspective of the ins-and-outs of product management, sustainability initiatives and the relationship between manufacturers and retailers that is specific to athletic and outdoors.

Coursework includes lecture and small-group work in class, and selected readings and case studies to be completed outside of class.

 What You Cover

  • What is the A&O Industry?
  • What are the challenges unique to A&O?
  • Why are sustainability initiatives important in A&O?
  • The role of innovation and creativity in capturing the interest of consumers
  • The important relationship between manufacturers and retailers
  • Industry leader perspectives from case studies and guest lecturers

How You Benefit

  • Become informed about the challenges of the A&O industry
  • Be able to speak articulately about how and why the A&O industry is different from other industries
  • Learn from industry experts and gain real-world insights

Cost: $435
Discounts may apply, please refer to the registration page for details.


Instructor: Jennifer Nolfi
Jennifer Nolfi is an experienced business professional who brings a unique blend of work in both the public and private sectors. She has extensive ties to the region and Oregon's business community. One of Jennifer’s greatest strengths is her ability to weave together ideas, people, and resources to form partnerships and bring programs to life.  

Jennifer recently joined PSU as the Director of the Athletic & Outdoor (A&O) Industry Program.  Prior to joining PSU, she served as the Director for Partnership Development at Looptworks, a design firm that uses excess premium materials to craft limited edition clothing and accessories. There Jennifer gained experience in taking a product from ideation to market and working with partner brands to reduce their waste stream. Before that, Jennifer spent 12 years working for the Portland Development Commission. She counts among her key accomplishments: spearheading a public-private research partnership that culminated in the very first comprehensive market sizing study of the A&O Industry; an action plan to position Oregon as a leader in this space; and providing a platform for PSU to launch a program focused on the A&O industry.  Jennifer served on the PSU Athletic & Outdoor Advisory Board and continues to be active with SYNQ Consulting.

Interested in bringing this program to your organization? Contact Michelle Giovannozzi.