A&O: The Year In Review

Although summer has just begun, it’s the end of the fiscal year here at PDC, and we thought it would be a good time to highlight some of the event and program successes we have achieved over the past 12 months.

The PDC works with the Athletic and Outdoor (A&O) industry to organize and support initiatives that help the businesses, entrepreneurs, and talent in our diverse industry ecosystem. The programs reach more than 600 people per year and have fostered collaboration and community within an otherwise competitive industry. Our programs are tied to PDC’s strategic goals for supporting middle-wage job creation and wealth creation and increasing access to high quality jobs for underserved populations, minorities, and women. Our accomplishments in FY 2015-16 included:

  • The 6th Annual A&O Industry Celebration attracted more than 150 members of the industry to celebrate diverse voices. Keynote by Rue Mapp of Outdoor Afro and storytelling contest winners Ian Williams of Deadstock Coffee and Jennifer Ferguson of Handful.
  • The Entrepreneurial Peer to Peer (P2P) program is now in its fourth year, bringing together small- to medium-sized A&O companies like Bridge & Burn, Orox Leather, Make It Good, and others to learn and share with each other. This year’s class was once again facilitated by Sean Beers and featured courses taught by industry experts from Keen, Xenium HR, and Sasquatch Agency.
  • Athletic & Outdoor Young Professionals (AOYP) partnered with Keen to host September’s Get Your Foot in the Door event, which featured stories of people with diverse backgrounds and how they got their start in the A&O industry, as well as information on careers at Keen, Adidas, and Columbia Sportswear. The newly constituted AOYP committee also got to work hosting Monthly Meetups around town and our inspirational spring event in March, which presented Poler’s founder, Benji Wagner, as the keynote plus an outdoor photo contest for its members.
  • Pop Up Portland: Tokyo For the third year in a row, PDC and Business Oregon partnered to organize an export mission to Japan for local Portland makers and consumer products companies. This year’s group included: Cycle Dog, Orox Leather, GoumiKids, Portland Gear, and Hand Eye Supply with Columbia Sportswear, Travel Portland, and Danner joining us in Japan. The four-day event drew more than 2,000 attendees and resulted in more than $40,000 in sales, plus the opportunity for participating companies to develop relationships with distributors and retailers.
  • Outdoor Retailer We ran a contest for A&O companies with diverse founding teams to win free hotel and registration for 2015 summer Outdoor Retailer. Society Nine, Antigravity Equipment, and Handful were the winning attendees. Our work was even featured in a SNEWS article about the show.
  • Business Retention and Expansion Our work includes meeting one-on-one with business owners in Portland to identify opportunities for growth or provide advice on how to better plug into the A&O network. PDC staff met with or assisted 50-plus A&O related businesses in the Portland region.
  • We also continued our support for Pensole, PSU, Oregon Sports Authority, and the Struktur Design Conference

Our work is driven by an industry council and supported by many public and private entities throughout the city that we collaborate with to make the above programs a reality. Thanks to the following sponsors and collaborators: Business Oregon, Greater Portland Inc., Columbia Sportswear, Adidas, KEEN, Icebreaker, Rapha, Leupold and Stevens, Leatherman, Pensole, Notogroup, Chris King Precision Components, Yakima, Perkins Coie, Point B, Davis Wright Tremaine, OIA Global, Aquent, Lane Powell, Portland State University, and Buckley Law.