This summer, the SFIA will acknowledge five young professionals in the sports and fitness industry who have been selected as the 2017 SFIA Future Industry Leaders Scholarship recipients. All five recipients will be present at the fifth annual SFIA Industry Leaders Summit this September 13-14 in Chicago.
In the weeks leading up to the event, the SFIAinsider blog, in collaboration with SFIA Weekly, will be highlighting exclusive interviews with each of our five winners, in order of participant’s response. We are honored to have the opportunity to put them in the spotlight in the lead up to this prestigious networking event.
This week, we meet Colin Johnson, a Test and Certification Program Lead at VICIS.
SFIAinsider: Why did you apply to the Future Industry Leaders Scholarship Program?
Colin Johnson: It wasn’t on my radar until one of our VP’s suggested that I apply. That got the wheels turning and after learning a bit more about the Industry Leaders Summit, I came to the realization that I was a good candidate for the Scholarship Program and could really benefit from the opportunity to participate in the summit.
SFIAinsider: What made you want to work in the sports and fitness industry?
Colin Johnson: I’ve been an active person my entire life, playing hockey from a young age and participating in countless other sports and recreational activities over the last 30 years. From adult rec leagues to constant outdoor adventures, I’m always seeking out new ways to keep myself moving. So, it’s no surprise that for the last 8 years of my career, I’ve been involved in testing and/or designing products that promote an active lifestyle with a focus on keeping people safe.
SFIAinsider: What exactly do you do in your current position?
Colin Johnson: Most of the engineers at VICIS wear many hats and I’m no exception, but my primary focus is keeping the test lab running smoothly. In addition to making sure all our testing is done correctly and efficiently, I must also ensure that the test data we generate is of the highest quality. When developing a product that keeps athletes safe, high-confidence test data and thoughtful interpretation of that information is essential.
SFIAinsider: What do you find the most enjoyable part of your work?
Colin Johnson: The people. I’ve always found the people I work with and the resulting personal and professional relationships to be invaluable. I’ve been fortunate to work alongside motivated, smart, and generally good people. I try to remind myself that without the human component, nothing in this industry is possible.
SFIAinsider: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Industry Leaders Summit?
Colin Johnson: I look forward to meeting with and learning from the most influential people in the sports and fitness industry. The opportunity to interact with these folks on a personal basis is rare and not something I take for granted. In addition, I hope that I can offer some fresh perspective on the next generation workforce and how companies can set themselves up for success in coming years.
SFIAinsider: What is your favorite sports memory from your lifetime?
Colin Johnson: I was a freshman in high school and had been called up to the varsity hockey team. I had to skate hard every day to prove I deserved a spot on a team made up of guys that seemed twice my size. It was our first playoff game of the season, which just happened to be against our cross-town rival and in front of a packed house. The game was tied up in the third period and I was battling in front of the net; holding my own, if only just. A slap shot from one of our defensemen came in fast and low. I gave one final push to get my stick free and tipped the shot into the top corner of the net, just out of reach of the goalie’s glove. The crowd erupted and my team swarmed me in celebration. I had just scored the go-ahead goal and I was thrilled. We walked out of the rink with a win that night but it’s not the win that stays with me. It was the experience of working hard for something that seemed improbable, if not impossible, that still reminds me what it is to persevere. It’s a lesson that applies to far more than sports.
SFIAinsider: Do you have a favorite sports movie?
Colin Johnson: Remember the Titans. It’s a great movie about how a sport can bring people together and break barriers that seem otherwise insurmountable. And the soundtrack is pretty great too!