Head men’s track and field coach Frank Gramarosso, Todd Radecky ’93 and head men’s cross countrry coach Al Carius.
When he was a political science major and member of the cross country team at North Central, Todd Radecky '93 wasn't sure where life would take him. Radecky stayed true to himself and his passion. He kept on running and never stopped.
Radecky has spent the last 12 years as an account executive with Nike. Radecky presides over several large accounts, chief among them the Green Bay Packers Pro Shop, the official merchandise store of the Packers in Lambeau Field. He also represents Nike to large athletics apparel chain Scheels, based in Fargo, N.D., and several other professional sports franchises, including the Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins.
Authenticity is Radecky’s business, and the Packers are one of few NFL teams that own their own merchandise store, allowing Radecky to deal directly with the team. Consequently, football season is a busy time of year full of quick decisions. “Football season is about paying attention to what’s going on every day, making sure our shops are full of product and everything is selling,” said Radecky.
As a manager for Dick Pond Athletics, Radecky took advantage of his connections through teammates at North Central and began at Nike in a highly sought-after position as a PRE, a specialized part of the EKIN program (EKIN is Nike spelled backwards). EKINs constitute the first wave of Nike sales, essentially training retailers on how to craft their approach to a given product.
“Whatever the big brand story is for a season—whether it be footwear, apparel or equipment—the EKINs will go out into stores and do tech clinics for the staff, explaining the technology of those products,” Radecky said.
Working as a PRE opened up the opportunity for Radecky to realize his ambition of working in product development at Nike headquarters in Oregon. “I really wanted to make shoes when I started with Nike,” Radecky said. “It was the one thing I wanted to do.”
Radecky crafted shoes for production, making color modifications and changing fabrics to update the products for different seasons. “I helped work on some of the spikes for United States track and field athletes at the Sydney Olympics,” said Radecky. “That was a pretty cool period in my time at Nike.”
Radecky was eventually given the chance to move into sales and it was “an offer I couldn’t refuse.” Taking over the Midwest region in Minneapolis got him closer to his hometown in Tinley Park, Ill. and afforded him the chance to work on major accounts in the area.
Radecky has enjoyed a number of special moments thanks to his work with Nike. He’s visited Nike production facilities in China and South Korea, represented the company at famous marathons in New York, Boston and Honolulu, and attended the U.S. national cross country championships and the Olympic Trials. The times that have stood out most for Radecky, however, were meeting Nike’s cofounders, Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight.
At Nike, Radecky worked on a pair of track spikes for Eastbay (left) and spikes worn by Team USA at the Sydney Olympics (right).
An avid fan of athletic shoes, Radecky has an extensive collection in his home office. It includes both Nike shoes and otherwise, including many pairs of track spikes. His most prized pairs are two sets of Nike Air Jordan III Black Cement basketball shoes (pictured, right) he searched for in vain for years.
“In 20 years of working at Nike it’s the one pair I could never get,” said Radecky.
Radecky attributes much of his success to the values he learned and the connections he made at North Central. “I’ve been blessed with the job and I got lucky getting in to Nike,” Radecky said. “A large part of it was because I ran for North Central College; I wouldn’t have been able to do it if it wasn’t for the boys down in Merner Field House.”