Just deliver it: ODI Scholar has Nike internship

Just deliver it: ODI Scholar has Nike internship

By Aaron Marshall

Just deliver it.

For industrial and systems engineer Anna Villaver, the twist on the longtime Nike slogan of “Just Do It” became a way of life during a summer 2019 internship spent with the Oregon shoe giant.

Working her fifth internship as a college student, Villaver's job with Nike involved working to improve transportation logistics for the company when they ship Nike Products to distribution centers across the world.

“My project involved working with small parcel shipping and increasing visibility for their transportation logistics. It's crucial that new products arrive on time to their meetings,” said the senior, a Morrill Scholar from the Cincinnati area. “That's how department stores pick what they want to be on the shelves. These meetings are very important for the company because it's how any product gets sold, even before it's posted on the website.”

There are hundreds of thousands of Nike samples that are shipped through carriers like UPS, DHL and FedEx, and the current small-parcel shipment tracking is not compatible with Nike's system, according to Villaver.

“I had to talk with all of the different Nike departments to figure out what to do to have these tracking messages integrated with our system,” she said. “What should these messages contain? What kind of information do we need to plan for? What kind of packaging is being used for shipment? Where is it coming from and how long until it gets there?”

Villaver said her time on the Nike campus also meant rubbing elbows with celebrity athletes including a close encounter with LeBron James in the employee gym. “My friend said to go ask him if he missed Cleveland, but I wasn't going to do that because he had an entourage around him!”

Away from the office, Villaver said the Nike culture encouraged employees to be active and hosted fun activities for the more than 300 summer interns in the company, including a white water rafting trip and Women's World Cup watch parties. “I really liked their message to expand the definition of athletes and support the endeavors of people who want to live an active and healthy lifestyle,” she said. “They really support that for their workers, and it really showed in the internship groups that they were pushing that lifestyle.”

Another perk of working at Nike was a chance to snap up some reduced-price gear from the company. “I came into the job with one pair of Nikes and I definitely have over 30 pairs now,” she said. “I guess you could say I'm a sneakerhead, but I don't want to label myself that because I know there are people who are really intense about it.”

With a December graduation date looming for Villaver, she is pursuing job opportunities with Nike and elsewhere across the country. Someday, however, Villaver said she will look to return to the Pacific coast. “I love the West Coast. I want to end up there eventually,” she said.