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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 23, 2009

Alumnus and shoe guru Zach Bromert to talk Nikes with business students

Anyone who laces up a pair of Nike running shoes might know Zach Bromert's work.

Bromert, a 1999 UI graduate, is senior product line manager for Nike, where he works with many aspects of the Swoosh's running shoe lines. He'll return to the university later this week to meet with students in the Tippie College of Business and discuss marketing and professional and career development on Thursday, Feb. 26 and Friday, Feb. 27.

When Bromert graduated from Iowa in 1999 with a business degree, he knew he wanted a career in athletics. The starting kicker for the Hawkeye football team the previous four seasons, he knew his on-field career was over when he kicked his final field goal in the fall of 1998.

"An athlete has to be honest with himself and know his limits, and I knew I didn't have the skills to kick in the NFL," he said. "But I had a great time playing for the Hawkeyes, and it helped me get my education and start my career after I graduated."

He combined his education and athletic passion to land a job with Nike not long after receiving his diploma. He worked first in sales and marketing in the company's Chicago office, then moved to its Oregon headquarters seven years ago to work in product development.

As a senior product line manager, Bromert works with all parts of Nike's running shoe development, marketing, production and administrative process, from conception through sales. His primary job is working with footwear designers and product developers to create running shoes in the $75-and-under price range.

He works with focus groups to see what runners want in a shoe, designers to see how those ideas can be incorporated, manufacturers to make sure the shoes meet quality standards, and marketers to get the shoes on runners' feet.

"The most important thing that runners want in a shoe is comfort," said Bromert. "They want to keep running, they don't want to get injured. It's our job to keep that from happening by providing a shoe that provides comfort and stability so they can run safely."

One challenge in a successful running shoe line, he said, is that each runner wants something different, so he needs to provide as much variety in his shoes as possible. Take, for instance, style. For some, it's important. For others, less so.

"Serious runners care less about style than in function and performance," he said. "But for casual runners, or people who also wear the shoe to school or work or to go out, style becomes more important."

Bromert will speak to two classes at the Tippie College of Business that will be open to the public. He speaks to a marketing class at 8:05 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 26 in Room W10 in the Pappajohn Business Building, and to a career development class at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 27 in Room W151 Pappajohn.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010 (office), 319-541-8434 (cell),