PSU unveils new A&O certificate program

New PSU business program to focus on the state’s athletic and outdoor industries

(Portland, Ore.) April 22, 2013 — Portland State University’s Center for Retail Leadership is launching a certificate program specifically aimed at preparing students to work in Oregon’s burgeoning athletic and outdoor industries. Enrollment for the program will begin in the fall.

A certificate is an area of special emphasis requiring additional coursework added onto normal degree requirements. Coursework for the new certificate will center on major competitive issues in the industry with an emphasis on marketing, retailing, distribution and sales. It will include guest lecturers from companies such as Nike, Adidas, Columbia Sportswear, Keen, Gerber Knives and Tools, Icebreaker, The Clymb, and Mizuno. Industry involvement will be a key component of the program; for example, one of the courses will be taught by two Nike executives.

“The athletic and outdoor industry is a cornerstone of Oregon’s business community. We see this program offering a significant training foundation for building local talent,” said Grant Barth, a former Nike executive currently with Levi Strauss, who is teaching in the certificate program.

“It offers students such robust access to industry leaders – it’s something we see as an opportunity that only PSU can offer.”

According to the Portland Development Commission, Oregon has more than 800 athletic and outdoor industry firms, with a total employment of more than 14,000. The average wages are more than $80,000 annually, 70 percent higher than the statewide average for all workers.

Creation of the Athletic and Outdoor Industry certificate adds a second distinct emphasis to PSU’s Center for Retail Leadership, part of PSU’s School of Business Administration. The Center was created in the 1990s to focus on Oregon’s food industry. In the last six years, every graduate of the Center has gotten a job right out of college. The Center offers a food industry leadership certificate program, as well as courses, conferences, forums, seminars and internships.

“We created this new certificate program because the athletic and outdoor sector is a key part of our regional economy,” said Tom Gilpatrick, executive director of the Center for Retail Leadership. “This whole sector is vibrant and growing; we see a great opportunity for industry careers for our students.”

The School of Business expects 20 to 25 students to enroll in the new certificate program this fall, and estimates 100 students will graduate from the program in the next five years. For more information, visit the program’s Web site at, or contact Lauren Beitelspacher, director of the program, at 503-725-9805,

About Portland State University (PSU)
Located in Portland, Oregon, PSU has about 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students. PSU’s motto is “Let Knowledge Serve the City,” and we provide every student with opportunities to work with businesses, schools and organizations on real-world projects. Our downtown campus exhibits PSU’s commitment to sustainability with green buildings, while sustainability is incorporated into much of the curriculum.