Nelson  Farris

Nelson Farris

Nelson Farris was born May 4th, 1942 in Long Beach, California, where he would spend his entire childhood and adolescence. In high school, the athletic Farris played football, baseball, basketball and ran track and cross country.He attended Long Beach State University, graduating in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in communications. Farris also served six years in the United States Marine Corps Air Wing Reserve during the Viet Nam era, from 1965 to 1971, achieving the rank of E-5 Sergeant.With a business partner, Farris opened a small retail store in Long Beach in 1972 that carried the recently introduced Nike line of running shoes. In the course of business, Farris came to know employees with Blue Ribbon Sports, the company that would become Nike, Inc. In January 1973, after his business partner had moved on, Farris accepted a job from Blue Ribbon Sports as the promotions, direct sales and retail manager for southern California.Although the job title sounded lofty, Farris essentially promoted and sold Nike shoes out of his car at track meets and directly to runners. He also managed the store he’d owned prior to joining BRS, which the company acquired, plus a second retail location in Culver City.In 1978, Farris relocated to Nike’s home office in Beaverton, where he directed the Nike Running program. Three years later, Farris moved to Holland to help open Nike’s first European-based office and to launch its promo/sports marketing program.In 1983, Farris returned to the United States, where he helped managed the sports marketing and promo efforts leading up to and including the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.Over the next decade, from 1984 to 1994, Farris held a wide variety of positions within Nike, which was (and to a smaller degree still is) common within the growing company. From starting up Nike’s apparel screen printing operation to working as a manager within Nike entertainment marketing department to managing the EKIN training program, Farris wore many Nike hats during this period.The next decade of Farris’ career would see yet another round of positions, as Nike relied on Farris’ experience to help launch new departments including Internal Communications and Customer Service. Currently the director of corporate education for Nike’s human resource department, Farris focuses on employee education and development. He also serves as a corporate consultant in various areas, drawing on the wisdom and expertise he’s gathered as the company’s longest-tenured employee.All told, Farris estimates he’s held 20 different jobs during his Nike career, traveling well over a million miles while visiting more than 50 countries on six continents. And as far as anyone can tell, he has no intention of slowing down.