Central Michigan Life – College of Business to host first full-time NIKE employee

Jeff Johnson, the first full-time employee of Nike, Inc., will be giving a presentation about his experiences with the company and his history of entrepreneurship Thursday, Sept. 7, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in Grawn Hall atrium.    

Johnson joined Nike in 1965, where he helped develop the company’s first line of running shoes, modeling them for commercials and selling them out of the trunk of his car at track meets. Johnson was also the one to up with the name Nike, drawing inspiration from the Greek goddess of victory.    

Johnson retired from Nike at age 41 shortly after the company went public in 1980.    

College of Business Administration will host the event. It is one of the first major events to be held in recently-completed Grawn Hall atrium. Johnson will give the presentation in the form of a conversation with Jeff Thomas, entrepreneurship chair for the college.    

Johnson’s experiences will hopefully be an inspiration to students because the company’s origins as a college start-up, said Bruce Marble, executive director of the Entrepreneurship Institute at Central Michigan University.    

“It’s also going to point out a great lesson, which is that you got to be persistent, and you have to have a passion,” Marble said. “The businesses that are successful are the ones were somebody believes in it, and they want make it work.” 

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