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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Nike's $315 Le Mars Connection

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

AP -- "Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement admit they're loud and occasionally rude, but they argue that when officials won't listen, activists must demand attention. The group has a history of confrontational tactics dating to the 1970s, but recent incidents gained more attention, especially when members heckled then-Iowa caucus candidate Mitt Romney at the 2011 state fair."

They were obnoxious, even rushing the stage as vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan attempted to speak at this year's state fair.Hugh Espey, the group's executive director, says, "Iowa CCI has used confrontational tactics since the mid-1970s and won't stop now."

I can attest to that, having met with members of that group many times during the 1980's and 90's. They are to a civil discussion what Paris Hilton is to the girl next door.

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Another confrontational group is the National Urban League (NUL). Their mission is, "to enable African Americans to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights."

Nike is on their bad list. This fall, the sneaker giant is expected to unveil its $315 'LeBron X' sneaker. The NUL whistles 'foul!' They are afraid that gullible parents will spend their money on an "empty status symbol."

Wait a minute - I need to digest all this. Those the NUL represent voted big-time (92%) for Barak Obama four years ago. Now, nearly four years later the economy isn't in much better condition, but the Washington Post says that African Americans will undoubtedly stick with the President again.

The "nation is struggling" the NUL says, so they want to stop, or control, what an American company can sell? Their efforts would be better placed working to improve education for the offspring of their members, and trying to return manufacturing to the USA.

Nike has owned the company making Converse Chuck Taylor's sneakers since 2003. I don't recall whether I or my buddies wore Chuck Taylor's as we lost basketball games during our high school years. More likely we wore something cheaper that looked like them.

Wikipedia says the Converse shoes have been popular among many groups including greasers, athletes, punks, grunge rockers, alternative rockers, surfers, Metalheads, rappers, emos, skaters and hipsters.

My 25-year-old grandson wears a pair of Taylors. He might have some hipster, leanings, but none of the others! Oh -- we were comparing shoe prices and his sneakers cost about double (and I think he bought them used) the price of his dad's or mine. They did have that hip well-worn look.

Mr. Eric D. Sprunk, CPA, is Vice President-Merchandising & Product at NIKE, Inc. The title means a lot of things, but mainly that he's in charge of overseeing everything Nike makes--from LeBron's sneakers to Tiger's red shirt--from design to development to manufacturing. Billions of dollars are at stake when he makes a decision.

Bloomberg estimates Sprunk's 'Total Calculated Compensation' to be $4,448,264 for this year. Born in Le Mars in 1964, he is a graduate of Montana University. His parents, Wes and Rachel, moved to Missoula and bought an auto dealership.

Eric is a Montana U graduate and the MU web site says, "He talks fast and doesn't always stay on topic, but somehow, he never comes across as unfocused. His focus, like a laser, simply changes targets. Quickly." Those of you who knew Wes in Le Mars will remember what a go-getter he was.

"He also might be the most unlikely corporate executive in America, considering he started his career as an accountant, and now helps decide what shoes Kobe Bryant will market, and thus wear, each NBA season," continues the University page. "Even though he was a standout basketball player at Hellgate High School, he didn't exactly fit the mold of the typical jock in the early 1980s. He took weekly piano lessons and played the tenor saxophone in the school marching and jazz bands. His mother, the business manager for the Missoula Children's Theatre, would not let him lead a one-track life."

Reported to be relocating to our area, Bob Vander Plaats isn't alone in escaping the frigid northern climes. We have also been blessed with dozens of hummingbirds lately. They will move on.

Don Paulin, 2carpenterdon@gmail.com, 7557 30th Av, Norwalk, IA 50211 - 515-201-7236

By Don Paulin
Been There, Done That


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