2019-2020 Year In Review

Members pose at club booth during OSU's Cookies and Clubs event.

In the continuation of our vision to create a community for like-minded students with a passion for sports and product development, we have rebranded as the OSU Sports Product Development Club. This distinction was made to ensure that the club retains focus on the entire product development process and not solely on the engineering side. Although we do value the many engineering minds that this club has attracted, we wanted to ensure that students of any major felt welcomed and important to the future of our club. The product development process involves the cooperation of many different disciplines within the industry and we want the future of our club to represent that collaboration so that our students can gain the experience and knowledge needed to build fruitful careers.

Our club has continued to carry it’s momentum from previous years as the number of members and active projects continues to grow. This year we had 22 different majors and a 5:2 male to female club ratio. The club has made considerable progress towards our goals of growing a diverse member base, taking on more projects, and building a strong leadership future by investing in the development of younger club members. We highly value the participation of younger members within club activities and encourage their involvement within club leadership as we know they are key in shaping the club’s future. We created an “Ambassador” position to help foster younger students or students new to the club that wanted to get involved. Of the 5 Ambassador students, 2 have taken larger roles in the club. These goals will continue to stay in our sights for this coming school year and we hope to continue and improve upon the progress being made.

 

Converting to virtual learning and adhering to the state’s stay at home orders at the end of the Winter term forced the club to re-evaluate and change the end of year plans. As the nation’s attention turned towards the coronavirus outbreak, we knew that the Spring term would be very different from previous years. For the safety of club members, we were not able to hold any in-person meetings, build sessions, or intramural sports activities. We also canceled all industry tours and guest speakers. While all club operations were forced to be held virtually, progress still continued as the leadership group was able to improve upon the club’s virtual presence and determine ways for members to still be virtually interactive. We implemented new processes and created a website to house all our work and future plans. 

Members pose at Nike Headquarters after a tour of their material and mechanical testing lab.

The beginning of Fall term was an exciting time as the club had just rebranded and created new promotional materials. We were able to attend welcome week club fairs with new banners, posters, stickers, and project demonstrations to attract new students and give people a better initial impression of what our club is all about. The highlight of our project demonstrations was Smart Strike’s shoe insert with force-sensing resistors. The prototype was at a stage where people were able to walk up, step on the sole, and see a visual graph of the force being applied at their forefoot, midfoot, and hindfoot. This interactive demonstration caused excitement and interest for many of the students that visited our booth. Our promotional efforts motivated more students to check out our club in the beginning weeks of the Fall term and helped bring in a new group of young club members eager to participate in projects.

Since the previous year’s 10 week “rapid ideation competition” during the Fall term was such a success, we decided to utilize this model again and implement the design process of Stanford’s d.school. This design process calls for the designers to identify, empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and then pitch their ideas. We chose the theme of “Health and Safety” for this year’s new projects. After club members had split into sport-specific groups and ideated new product concepts and business models, each team gave a presentation in our end of term pitch competition for the club to vote on and select which projects would be pursued. The new projects chosen included a mask with an attached air hose and backpack oxygen tank that would allow skiers buried in an avalanche to breathe and a knee brace for athletes with attached sensors that would allow for trainers and team doctors to assess the angle of bend that an athlete’s knee is subjected to during concerning plays in competition or practice. We brought in Michelle Marie from OSU College Of Business to talk about the business model canvas and how to implement it for each project.

During the Fall term, our club attended an industry tour of the Material and Mechanical Testing Lab at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. This was a fascinating experience for all in attendance as Nike is well known for their meticulous testing and groundbreaking technology implemented into their athletic footwear and apparel. Students were able to experience the atmosphere in which an industry-leading company conducts its work and improves its products through an intense passion for sport. We also had the pleasure of having our Former President and Founder Tim Slama show us around the campus.

As we moved into the Winter term, the new club projects shifted into the prototyping phase. The project teams researched the market competition and began narrowing down the vision of what a physical prototype would look like. The teams then purchased the needed materials and tools through club funding to begin constructing their prototypes. Each team was able to create a physical mockup of their first prototype by the end of the term. Testing and further prototyping were planned to occur during the Spring term.

Members working on senior capstone project creating an ergonomic rear bicycle rack.

The club sponsored two senior capstone projects this year. One capstone project focused on creating an ergonomic rear bicycle rack that would allow for easy storage of items and act as a rear fender to keep debris from dirtying the bicyclist. The other capstone project entailed creating a bicycle frame load testing device to ensure that a given bicycle frame’s structure would hold up to loads of daily cycling.

During the Winter term, our club attended an industry tour of Sigma Design, a product design and engineering firm located in Camas, Washington. Members in attendance were able to tour their facility and learn how a successful firm approaches designing products in a wide array of industries. Sigma Design was able to display what can be accomplished when a firm is able to design, engineer, and manufacture many desirable products in-house. The club also attended an industry tour of Stages Cycling, a company that builds and sells indoor cycles, in Portland, Oregon. Members in attendance got a chance to see how a company operates in the global fitness industry. With the increasing popularity of home-based fitness, it was very informative to see how Stages Cycling addresses customer demands with both a physical product and a digital platform experience. We renovated our OSU gym with Stages Cycling bikes so it was interesting to pick their brains on the industry. 

Members riding indoor cycles during a tour of Stages Cycling.

The club also toured the Portland facility of the University of Oregon’s Sports Product Design program, thanks to Susan Sokolowski . It was extremely beneficial to see how UO teaches a design process tailored towards sports products as the program was created specifically to help students transfer seamlessly into the sports industry. Club members were able to walk through the program’s design labs and talk with some of the students about what they were learning and how they were preparing for their careers in the sports industry. Susan gave us advice and inspired us with ideas of sustainability in sportswear. We took away a lot as a leadership group on how to fill in the areas that we aren’t taught in the classroom to help prepare us in the future.

The week after visiting Portland we went to Albany High and spent a couple of hours talking to high school juniors about college and went through an adjusted Ideation Competition. It was great not only for us to give back to the community but also to introduce students to a different type of career. 

Spring brought many new challenges for everyone including the club. Spring is usually the term where we get very hands-on for prototyping and make lots of progress. Due to online schooling and the safety of our members, we transitioned to online events. This included hosting a virtual SPD step competition where two competitive members achieved over 180,000 steps in a week, that is over 25,000 a day! We also hosted an SPD trivia night, where members competed in areas of OSU sports, general sports, and club history. Outside of virtual events, we also kept members up to date with the world of sports products through our weekly email newsletter. 

Out of the adversity, we also gained new connections and possibilities for the future. The local non-profit Oregon Sports Angels (OSA) reached out to the club offering their assistance. In working with OSA, founding partner Ralph Greene, we hosted a virtual panel with an incredible panel of industry leaders. The panel theme was "The Road to Success - Going from Product Concept to Consumer Marketplace Execution". Each panelist had unique experiences in the product industry and had practical advice for students looking to go into the field. There were also many ideas that inspired SPD leadership on ways to provide better experiences for our members throughout the school year. We look forward to collaborating with OSA in the future.

Banner for our virtual panel discussion with Oregon Sports Angels.

With the graduation of our seniors in winter and spring, we would like to welcome some members into new leadership positions. Jon Cordisco is now the new President, Zacc Schroeder is the new Chief Operation Officer, and Ben Lemery is the new Chief of Communications. We are working to keep the legacy of the club founders going as new members rise into leadership positions. Using their foundation to push the club forward.

 

More than ever, the future right now is uncertain, but we are working hard to provide SPD to our members no matter what is thrown our way in the fall. The three pillars of the club are hands-on projects, industry tours, and guest speakers and we hope to still provide these in whatever capacity we can. However, the safety of our members is paramount and we will do everything to keep safe. 

We are currently working on a long time goal of a Sports Engineering Summit to be hosted in Spring 2021. The goal is to have space where leaders in the sports product industry can share ideas and inspire the next generation of engineers and leaders. This will also be a symposium of the latest technology and of the latest projects from SPD members. Keep a lookout for updates on this event. We want to create a microcosm of Sports Product Development in Oregon with large companies like Nike and Adidas in Portland. With Guest Speakers, a competition at the end, and a symposium this Summit will grow Sports Technology and our community.

SPD project team Smart Strike is currently participating in the statewide pitch competition, InventOregon 2020. The project was started two years ago during our data-driven sports ideation process and it is a force sensing insert for runners to learn and improve their running form. They won $2,500 from the Invent OSU competition held campus-wide and punched their ticket to the statewide competition held virtually. They are continuing to improve the product and will be presenting their final pitch in mid-September. 

Members of the Smart Strike team participating in the Invent Oregon Remote Competition.

We would like to thank everyone who has supported us in the 2019-2020 school year. That includes our mentor, OSU professor, Scott Campbell, and our alumni for their support and guidance.

Prototypes for the sensor-integrated shoe insert, water polo dummy, avalanche oxygen mask, and the club's new sewing machine!

Graduating Seniors

Ben Lowe graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Mechanical Engineering degree and was the club President that had previously managed the club’s email communications and had started the club’s monthly F&A newsletter. He contributed immensely to the progression of our club and helped form many industry connections that will assist in the future search of industry tours and guest speakers. Ben also participated in OSU’s Cycling Club along with his involvement in SPD. His future aspirations are to work as a creative product designer/engineer in the sports/outdoor industry. Ben is currently working as a Manufacturing/Design Engineer at Deviation Ski and Snowboard.

Ben Lowe

Mechanical Engineering

Evan Leglar

Mechanical Engineering

Evan Leglar graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree and was the club's Chief Operating Officer. While being involved with the club he was dedicated to building a high functioning team of officers with detailed goals and the ability to execute innovative ideas. He wanted to leave the club with a great deal of respect for design and development as a craft. Evan also participated in OSU’s Club Baseball team in his time at the university. His future aspirations are to develop his operational and engineering skills as he seeks opportunities that will lead towards a successful career in growth of design and manufacturing businesses. Evan is currently working as a Manufacturing Engineer at Zepher Inc.

Kristina Owen

Mechanical Engineering

Kristina Owen graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree and was the club’s Chief Communications Officer. She helped improve our club’s email communications and virtual presence in a time where virtual participation has become crucial to retaining the involvement of club members. She also contributed greatly to the progress of many club projects. Kristina participated in the OSU’s Cycling Club along with her involvement in SPD. Kristina is currently working as a Process and Tooling Engineer at HP.

Support Our Mission!

The OSU Sports Product Development Club is a student run organization. With our goals growing each year, we are in need of support from the OSU communities and industry. Our highly motivated members are eager to work on a variety of projects, travel for company tours, and hear guest speakers from around the world. Over all else, we hope to provide our members with diverse exposure to the sports and outdoor products industry. If you or your company would be interested in supporting our mission to provide students with impactful engineering and business-related experiences, please contact us through social media or the email below!