Open-Air Oregon: The Top 3 Reasons To Employ a Sporting Goods Industry Recruiter
The state of Oregon is unsurpassed in its natural physical beauty. From the stacks of the Pacific coastline to the Columbia River Gorge and the vistas of the Cascades, perhaps it's no surprise that Oregon has emerged as a commercial and cultural hotbed of outdoor lifestyles, tourism, and brands.
Major outdoor manufacturing firms like Nike, Adidas and Columbia Sportswear are just a few examples of the more than 300 firms that make up Oregon's thriving outdoor industry.
Employing 14,000 Oregonians at an average annual salary of $80,000 - well above the median household income of $49,420 - the sporting goods outdoor industry is a major economic boom for the state. Its vitality has also created a nurturing environment for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and existing businesses in the industry.
The region boasts an abundance of workers with experience in the industry, strong public-private partnerships and resources, and a culture that's passionate about the outdoors. Partnering with an outdoor industry recruiter can help businesses leverage these regional strengths to give them a competitive edge in the global marketplace.
Oregon's Sporting Goods & Outdoor Industry: A Climate Ripe for Growth
Oregon's sporting goods and outdoor industry is knowledge-intensive, focusing on design and management rather than manufacturing. As a result, skilled labor is a must.
Fortunately, the concentration of industry-specialized talent is rivaled by few other places in the world. Sporting goods recruiters in the region can use their extensive networks to help companies tap into this deep well of expertise.
When it comes to finding the candidates that will best serve their business needs, there's simply no substitute for a recruiter versed in this unique competitive landscape.
Public-Private Collaboration in the Sporting Goods & Outdoor Industry Cluster
The sporting goods and outdoor industry is also one of the clusters targeted by the state's economic development organizations for accelerating growth. Collaboration between public and private interests has created supportive policies, the expansion of educational programs, and resources for networking and innovation.
The Portland Development Commission, for example, offers peer-to-peer sessions for entrepreneurs, a design forum, and matching grants to participate in sustainability assessments. Sporting goods recruiters can help companies leverage programs like these to their benefit.
Holistic Business Practice: A Culture of Active Living
Oregonians value active living. For many, that's what drew them to the region in the first place. Locating talent that's both passionate about outdoor recreation and skilled in core competencies is part and parcel of what a sporting goods recruiter does.
Industry research shows that manufacturers whose employees appreciate and consume their company's products have a greater overall impact from a branding perspective. When both consumers and employees are dedicated to the outdoor lifestyle, a community will emerge and flourish around the hub of an organization.
Beyond the Oregon Advantage
These are just some of the unique advantages offered by working with a sporting goods recruiter in Oregon. At Generator Group, we go beyond these regional strengths by:
- Making connections with local talent and facilitating introductions and placements, from entry to executive level
- Introducing effective talent acquisition systems to firms through established recruitment techniques and relationships
- Developing and promoting the visibility of unique outdoor branding identities that coincide with the ethics and sensibilities of the active lifestyle
There are a great number of other key benefits that you will enjoy when you partner with an outdoor industry recruiter or sporting goods recruiter. Contact us now to learn how to leverage our industry-renowned skills to finding the best talent for your company.
The New Voice of the Blazers
Strategic Executive Recruitment Pays Off For Portland
Michael Lewellen is the new Senior Vice President of Communications and Public Engagement for the Portland's much-loved pro basketball team, the Trail Blazers. Lewellen brings 30 years of communications, public relations, and marketing experience to the job, previously working at Nike, BET, NBC Universal, and Fox Sports Network.
Yet this highly qualified, passionate candidate could have been easily overlooked.
Lewellen did not come from another team. His experience in entertainment and sportswear fall outside the industry. While it's readily apparent how they translate to this position, it takes a strategic approach to capture and qualify out-of-industry candidates like Lewellen.
That approach paid off: "We are thrilled to have Michael on our team," said Trail Blazers Chief Operating Officer Sarah Mensah. "He brings the right balance of knowledge of our team and city, along with added new energy, leadership and experience."
Redefining Executive Recruitment
We approach every executive search as a means to serve the business objectives of our clients. The first step is gaining a clear understanding of their strategic needs.
In the case of the Trail Blazers, there was a need to proactively develop a voice for the team on a local and national level; the need for someone specifically and singularly tasked with developing a communications and public engagement strategy.
Understanding this allowed us to clearly define a success profile for the role, determine key competencies, and use the right recruitment tactics to find the best candidates for the job.
Fit Matters: The Key to Successful Executive Recruitment
We routinely look both inside and outside our clients' industries for candidates using this approach. Why? Because fit is what matters.
Finding a successful candidate hinges on finding the best fit with the organization's culture, business goals, and current executive team. Looking at executive recruitment from this angle reveals possibilities that would otherwise be ignored - possibilities like Lewellen.
Lewellen has the ideal intersection of experiences for the job:
- Driving six years of double-digit growth in ratings for Black Entertainment Television, launching some of the network's most successful programming including the BET Awards
- Directing public relations for the Goodwill Games on behalf of Turner Sports
- Working for Fox Sports Network and NBC Universal
- Developing community engagement strategies at a non-profit
- Demonstrating deep involvement in the Portland community during his five-year tenure at Nike
Now, he will be dedicating this combined expertise to developing the new voice of the Trail Blazers during a transformative time in the team's history.
We're proud to have delivered the best candidate for the job to the best pro basketball team in the country (okay, we're a little biased) and can't wait to hear the new voice of the Trail Blazers.
This is just one of more than 50 successful executive searches we've done since Generator Group was founded. For more information about Generator Group and our executive search services, please contact Enrique Washington - CEO.
Portland Executive Search Firm Places SVP for Portland Trail Blazers
Generator Group lands 30-year communications veteran for Portland Trail Blazers
September 10, 2012 - Portland, Ore.- The Trail Blazers, Portland's much-loved professional basketball team, announced the hire of Michael Lewellen as Senior Vice President of Communications and Public Engagement. Lewellen joins the Portland Trail Blazers following a successful executive search performed by Generator Group, aPortland executive search firm who specializes in retaining executives and other key employees for the sports industry, sporting goods industry and outdoor industry.
Lewellen brings nearly 30 years of communications, public relations and marketing experience at a variety of category and industry-leading brands to his new position at the Portland Trail Blazers. Lewellen will direct communications and public engagement strategies for the basketball team, and lead the Blazers' communications executive team in its media relations, community relations, and team relations work.
"We are thrilled to have Michael on our team," said Trail Blazers Chief Operating Officer Sarah Mensah. "He brings the right balance of knowledge of our team and city, along with added new energy, leadership and experience."
"This is an exciting and transformative time in the Trail Blazers' history, and I'm so pleased to have this opportunity," said Lewellen, who spent five years in thePortlandcommunity earlier in his career. "I appreciate the confidence that Sarah Mensah and the Blazers' executives have placed in me, and look forward to being a contributing member of the organization."
Lewellen returns toPortland- and its enthusiasm for sports - fromOrlando,Fla., where he was Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the Heart of Florida United Way. Lewellen held several different positions at Nike Inc., based inBeaverton,Ore., from 1991 to 1996. During that time, he was deeply involved in the local community, serving on the boards of the Urban League of Portland, Oregon Public Broadcasting and the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs.
Lewellen's diverse experience helps him bring a high level of sophistication to the Trail Blazers' communications strategy. He led corporate communications for Black Entertainment Television for eight years, driving six years of double-digit growth in ratings, and launching some of its most successful programming, including the annual BET Awards. Lewellen has also worked for NBC Universal/Universal Orlando Resort; Fox Sports Network/Fox Broadcasting; and directed public relations for the Goodwill Games on behalf of Turner Sports.
The choice of Lewellen for the Portland Trail Blazers underlines Generator Group's emphasis on creative executive search processes. Generator Group routinely looks both inside and outside its clients' industries to find the best fit for each clients' corporate culture, business goals and current executive team.
About Generator Group
Founded in January 2000 by three former Nike recruiters, Generator Group was created to fulfill a single, unique vision: To take the successful talent-acquisition skills used by Fortune 100 businesses and develop them for small and medium businesses. Headed by talent-management experts who understand the needs of organizations with limited resources, Generator Group's goal is to increase the hiring success rate for growing businesses while providing them with the talent-management skills needed to survive and thrive.
For more information about Generator Group and its executive search services, please contact Enrique Washington, CEO.
Turn Your Corporate Culture into a Recruiting Advantage
Corporate culture is a powerful recruiting tool, even it you don't have a ping-pong table.
Take it from your friendly Portland sporting goods recruiter and outdoor industry recruiter: A strong corporate culture is a huge advantage when it comes to hiring the best people.
Why do so many people want to work for Nike, for example? Sure, the brand is the best of the best, worn by the most elite athletes when they're setting world records in front of millions of viewers. But look at the Nike campus, and you'll see a corporate culture that lives and breathes athletic performance - and supports Nike's recruitment efforts.
- Buildings at Nike's headquarters, located in Beaverton just west of Portland, are named after famous athletes: Steve Prefontaine, whose coach, Bill Bowerman, designed Nike's first running shoes with Nike founder Phil Knight. Michael Jordan, the legendary basketball player whose name still sells shoes with air cushions in the soles. Mia Hamm, the soccer player who put women's soccer on the front page of sports sections across the nation. And about 14 more athletes whose achievements imbue the Nike campus with the spirit of competitive sport.
- Nike's Oregon headquarters and other locations worldwide offer top athletic facilities to their employees - and expect employees to use them. Gyms, exercise classes, outdoor running tracks, bike racks, not to mention showers, saunas and lockers make it easy for employees to live the Nike motto, "If you have a body, you are an athlete." Employees who exercise at lunchtime get extra time to shower and eat. The payoff? Nike is able to recruit employees who care about sports and fitness - the kind of people who are most likely to be passionate about Nike's products and brand.
- Nike employees don't have to worry about how well their young children are cared for while they're at work: the company's childcare and early childhood education facilities are second to none. As a recruitment advantage, this is huge, and it demonstrates that Nike understands all employees care about their kids' welfare.
- Nike's employee store offers steep discounts on the latest products. This is not just a recruitment advantage - it also means Nike's 40,000 employees, and their friends and families, are walking advertisements for Nike.
These few highlights of Nike's corporate culture may sound daunting to the management team of a smaller company that can't afford elegant architect-designed buildings on a 175-acre corporate campus. But even smaller companies can ask themselves: What kind of company are we? How can we express our values in ways that attract the employees who will build our business?
For example, companies of any size can encourage good health at work if their management team walks the talk and takes exercise breaks during the day. Any company can demonstrate its commitment to the community by recycling, subsidizing employee use of public transportation, or encouraging employees to take part in company-wide charitable activities.
Remember, Nike was once a small company - and its founders worked hard from the very beginning to create both a successful business and a corporate culture to support it.
What's the best corporate culture you've ever seen? Tell us about it in the comments below! (You don't have to name the company unless you want to.)
By: Kevin Servino
Aligning Your Personal & Professional Interests
Over the last two years I have received lots of emails and calls from people seeking advice on how to enter into the Outdoor, Sporting Goods or Action Sports industry. Most of these people either received my information from a friend in the industry, or simply found me on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. First and foremost, my job is to market jobs to candidates, not candidates to jobs, though with an ageing workforce and a personal appreciation for diversity, I see a necessary shift for these industries to be more inclusive of enthusiasts from other industries vs. the exclusive attitude I currently see. Below are some tips for people interested in being noticed by companies and recruiters in the Outdoor, Sporting Goods or Actions Sports industry.
1. Dress for the job you want
If you are a CFO and a passionate climber, but have no industry experience and the picture of you on your LinkedIn page is of you in a business suit, you likely won’t be top of mind for a recruiter looking through their contacts for a job in the Outdoor industry. The image does not translate the interest, which is what many of my clients want. The professional skills will translate, but the personal interest will likely retain you in the company longer and allow you to assimilate into the culture easier. If you have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and have a picture of it, put it on your profile!
2. Express your interests
Listing your interests on your resume is typically not encouraged. If you are hoping to penetrate the Outdoor, Sporting Goods and Action Sports industry, this rule does not apply. If you are a passionate angler and have traveled across the world to fly fish, or played Division I college football put it on your resume. It makes my job, and the job of an internal recruiter easier to locate you. In addition, keep tabs on websites who promote the type of roles you want. Examples of websites include: www.outdoorindustryjobs.com, www.workinsports.com, http://careers.outdoorindustry.org/jobs, as well as several specific LinkedIn groups.
3. Reverse engineer your search
I met with a gentleman within the last year who was in-between jobs. He lived in China while working for Nike and speaks fluent Mandarin. When I looked at his resume I noticed there was no reference to Mandarin. He was shocked. I have worked on searches in China and Mandarin is one of the top search terms I look for. My advice for candidates interested in roles in the Outdoor, Sporting Goods, or Action Sports industry is to reverse engineer your resume by putting yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager or recruiter. What are the key words you would likely search for to fill your role? These could include terms like softgoods, hardgoods, names of key accounts you have called on…
4. Being in the right place at the right time
There are tons of groups on-line who cater to people who share a common interest. These include websites dedicated to running, climbing, hiking, fishing, skiing, etc. Get involved in those groups. Many of the professionals in the industry play in those areas. You may just be the hidden gem who forms a strong friendship with a key decision maker. Face time often beats resume time in this industry. Get involved and get noticed!