Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The city of Portland and I have a love/hate relationship.

Let's start with the hate.

Portland is the meteorological equivalent of Mordor.

A pretty nice Portland afternoon.
It never stops raining.  Ever.  Which is a real issue when your primary (read: only) mode of transportation is a road bike.  As I write this, it's been raining for 96 consecutive hours.  To my knowledge, it's only stopped raining this week for about 10 minutes, which conveniently was enough time for it to hail for about 10 minutes.

Despite my recent investments in some pretty rocking wet weather gear (which includes but is not limited to bike fenders, two rain coats of different thicknesses, neoprene shoe cover booties, and two pairs of gorton's-fisherman-yellow waterproof pants), I show up for work looking somewhere between a drowned rat on a good day and Captain Jack Sparrow on a bad day.

Mornin', boss.
Wasn't kidding about the Gorton's Fisherman thing.
The locals - Portlandites, if you will - assure me that the summers here are beautiful, but I just can't be sure if it's beautiful on an absolute scale, or beautiful relative to what they're used to.  I figure that when you're used to getting your ass kicked every day, somebody stealing your lunch money three times a week probably seems like a pretty good deal.  We'll just have to wait and see.

But for as sadistic as the weather can be, the people, culture, and geographical beauty of the Portland area make it an awfully enjoyable place to live, albeit wetly.

The folks here have created a funky, artistic, laid-back environment in which the only thing they love more than brewing delicious hand-crafted beers is drinking their delicious hand-crafted beers.  Carlo and I have been checking out some really awesome Portland activities during our time off from Nike - hiking, Trail Blazers NBA games, and drinking delicious hand-crafted beers to name only a few - and there's a seemingly infinite amount out there left to do.

My wife, Karen, was also in town this past weekend, and we got to indulge in another of the Pacific Northwest's outdoor wonders - skiing on Mt. Hood.  For all the trouble the rest of the country's ski resorts are having keeping their mountains under snow, Mt. Hood could maybe even stand to get rid of some.  There are feet upon feet upon feet of fresh powder, and another 20" has fallen since Sunday.

We also explored Hood River, a very cute, very sleepy little town at the base of Hood which boasts (surprise!) some awesome breweries.  We had a terrific time and are very much looking forward to her next visit.

There's at least 3,000' of vertical climb behind that cloud!
Karen is a ridiculously good skier, which means she spends
a lot of time at the bottom of mountains waiting for me.
All things considered, Portland and I are getting along.  But just barely.  The internship at Nike is going very well, though.  With any luck I'll be back soon with more fun stuff to share!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Welcome Class of 2014 & Internship News

When I started this blog, I knew I'd have a tough time getting myself to post regularly, but I pledged to do my best to write something every week or two.

So much for that, huh?

Alas, here we are - well into March with Spring fast approaching, and there are two big pieces of news in the LGO world:

1.)  Off-cycle internships are underway for the Class of 2013!

But even more exciting,

2.)  The incoming Class of 2014 should be hearing of their acceptances very soon!

The Classes of 2012 & 2013 are definitely very excited to welcome the newcomers to the LGO family.  I can't believe it's been an entire year since I got the news myself.  Man, time flies.

Since I know far more about my own off-cycle internship situation than any of us know about the Class of 2014 (save maybe the Admissions Committee!), I suppose it makes more sense to discuss that.  Carlo Quinonez and I have embarked on the maiden LGO voyages with brand-new partner company Nike.  We're both located at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, just a few miles west of Portland.

I feel insanely fortunate to have been matched with Nike in my particular role, as it's almost like the internship was created just for me.  Nike won the licensed apparel contract for the National Football League, and they're launching the full NFL product line this Spring.  But here's where it gets awesome from the perspective of a supply chain geek + football nut like me:

Nike is developing a rapid response supply chain model intended to be capable of fulfilling customer orders for NFL replica jerseys and other apparel in less than a week.  The technical and logistical challenges with accomplishing such a feat are immense, when one considers that the traditional model for ordering clothing/apparel goes something like "order what you want six months in advance, get what you ordered six months later shipped via ocean from southeast Asia."

The NFL doesn't work that way.

For example, if you had to place orders for the 2011 season six months in advance, you'd probably have gone heavy on Peyton Manning jerseys, right?  Makes sense, considering he's been in the Top 5 of jersey sales for about the last hundred years.  And just about the time your #18 Manning jerseys were set to arrive, the news on ESPN would have been breaking that Peyton was out for the season with a neck injury.  In the blink of an eye, you're sitting on a mountain of inventory that nobody wants.

On the other side of the coin, you also probably didn't predict that Tim Tebow would become the sensation he did, and you'd be trying to rush expedited orders of #15 Tebow jerseys back to North America, and spending fortunes on airfreight in the process.

Nike's NFL supply chain will be different from the status quo in a lot of exciting ways; not the least of which being able to receive big NFL news on Sunday and react by having the right products in the stores  the following week.

To avoid droning on even further, I'll stop this post here and resolve to write more soon.  I've got a lot of fun things to share about living in Portland and the Pacific northwest.  As a teaser, I'll leave you with a photo I took on a hike through a gorge 30 minutes from the city.  Gorgeous stuff out here:

And welcome Class of 2014!