PSU’s Center for Retail Leadership: Taking Over the Summer Outdoor Retailer Market
Author: Melinda Crouchley
Posted: August 29, 2018

Four student delegates from Portland State University’s School of Business traveled to Denver, Colorado July 23-26 for a formative experience at the renowned Outdoor Retailer Summer Market trade show. The students represented the flourishing Athletic and Outdoor (A&O) Industry Certificate program and presented for the first time since program delegates were invited to attend in 2016.

“We were invited by Outdoor Retailer to host a session and took the opportunity to highlight a joint research project entitled ‘Consumer Preference of Eco-Innovations in the Athletic & Outdoor Industry’ conducted by a faculty member, Jacob Suher, and Ethan Cotton, a senior marketing student who also used the project as his honors thesis,” said PSU’s Center for Retail Leadership Executive Director, Jennifer Nolfi. 

Cotton presented and facilitated a discussion that included Columbia Sportswear Director of Global Product Compliance Borg Norum (MBA ‘08) and Bolt Threads Vice President of Product Development Jamie Bainbridge. The session will air on Outdoor Retailer’s YouTube channel this fall.

Student Delegation 
The four A&O student delegates Jaksen Krahnke, Jordan Looysen, Alexandra Strnad, and Andrew Downes, attended the largest industry trade show of the year. They met with brand representatives, conducted job shadows in vendor booths, and interacted directly with industry leaders from companies like adidas Outdoor, Gerber, and DaKine.

“I volunteered with the Outdoor Industry Association's educational workshops and attended presentations that taught me a lot about the outdoor industry,” said Jaksen Krahnke, a business major with a concentration in marketing and A&O student. 

The Outdoor Industry Association, Columbia Sportswear, Gerber Gear, Hydro Flask, and Prosper Portland teamed up with PSU’s A&O Program to sponsor this trip. 

After Market Value 
A primary goal of conference attendance is career development and job placement for A&O students. 

Krahnke’s goal is to graduate in 2020 and then focus his career on brand management or digital marketing within the athletic and outdoor industry. 

“My top companies are adidas, Columbia, Yeti, and Nike. The Outdoor Retailer Summer Market gave me a resume builder and invaluable hands-on experience,” said Krahnke. 

“We have 100 percent placement of A&O students that have attended this show and graduated. It is a differentiator in a competitive marketplace,” said Nolfi. “The Outdoor Industry Association is very impressed with our students. Each delegation has a unique perspective, personality, and composition, and each is also recognized for their professionalism, passion, work ethic, positive, and can-do attitude.”

For more information about the Athletics and Outdoor Industry Certificate: