Senior Innovation Project Manager, adidas Running, Portland, USA
Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Mechanical Engineering
He loves using his engineering skills to create running shoes that help athletes break Olympic records, says Jason Stewart, a former professional athlete who competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics.
“I’ve worked on projects that have sold millions of running shoes to people all over the world. I’ve also been involved in projects that helped athletes win Olympic titles and break world records. I designed and developed the full track and field range for the past Olympic Games, and with my background in the sport this means a lot to me.
“As part of the adidas Running Future Innovation team, I project manage the creation and integration of large scale, industry leading sports footwear innovation. Basically, I make sure that our innovation is relevant and meaningful to our consumers,” the AUT engineering alumnus says.
Jason discovered his love for engineering after his sporting career ended.
“When I was a professional athlete, I was based close to the adidas headquarters in Germany where I became friends with a number of employees in the adidas running product development team. We started talking, and I soon realised that a mechanical engineering degree is extremely valuable in this industry, and the rest is history.”
AUT’s reputation for creating career-ready graduates made it easy to choose where to study engineering, Jason says.
“When I decided to return to study, I had been out of school for a while and really had no idea about universities in New Zealand. But I’m a hands-on, problem solving type of person and AUT had a great reputation for having a more practical style of learning. So it seemed pretty logical to me to study at AUT.
“The whole experience of my engineering degree was great, and the people were the highlight for me. We had great camaraderie in the classes. AUT was definitely more my style of university, with smaller, more interactive classes and more autonomy.”
Advice for other students
Remember that the skills you need to complete your studies will also be essential for your future career, Jason advises other students.
“Engineering was a difficult degree to get, at least for me. I had to be as resourceful and efficient as possible, and those are great skills to have in any job. The most important thing when you study is time management, and that is also really important when you have a job. AUT helped me refine all of those attributes.”
Time is precious, he adds.
“No matter what you do, make you sure you’re doing something you want to do and that will be relevant to your future. That’s all that matters.”