Corporate Spotlight: Columbia Sportswear Company

By: Regina Ramazzini

TechConnect Innovation News speaks with Jeff Mergy, Director of Global Innovation at Columbia Sportswear Company

  Columbia Jeff Mergy

What are technology/solution areas that you have a primary interest in?

Columbia, the flagship brand of Portland, Oregon-based Columbia Sportswear Company, has been creating innovative apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment for outdoor enthusiasts since 1938. I lead the Performance Innovation Team (PIT), where we are focused on keeping people warm, dry, cool and protected. We are interested in emerging technologies and solutions that can change the game in keeping people more comfortable in the outdoors. 

What level of commercial maturity do you typically look for in technology partnerships? 

As a corporate innovation center, we are generally open to all levels, so much depends on the technology and project.  The Performance Innovation Team at Columbia Sportswear has a wealth of experience in taking technologies from the early stages to full on production. 

Please describe your company’s Innovation model and how this model helps to find new innovations.

We have a team that focuses on bringing new innovations to market.  These innovations are often developed in our lab, while other times through collaboration with our partners.  We have a great track record of success when working with our partners in solving problems.  We specialize in taking a lab innovation and commercializing it through large scale manufacturing.

Why work with TechConnect and the National Innovation Summit as a technology prospector?  Who are you looking to meet with?

We are interested in surveying the latest new technologies and meeting the people that bring them to life.  We hope to start new relationships that will help us push the envelope in allowing humans maximum comfort in the outdoors!

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