NKU grad realizes boyhood dream

People all have dreams and aspirations. For some, those dreams come true; but for others, they end up as deflated fantasies. Northern Kentucky University graduate Eric Sandy’s lifelong dream has come true. While most young boys are dreaming of becoming a sports superstar, Sandy was dreaming about the superstar’s feet. No, he doesn’t have some strange fondness of feet, but instead for the shoes.

“He was always fascinated with footwear,” Chad Sandy, Eric’s twin brother, said.

Eric, who graduated in 2009 with a marketing degree, was recently hired at Nike, Inc. under the Jordan Brand as a footwear production artist.

“It’s been a dream of mine ever since I was about eight years old,” Eric said. “And it still hasn’t really hit me.”

Before Eric came to NKU he wanted to go into the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) at University of Cincinnati to study industrial design. Financial reasons kept Sandy from going into the program, so he came to NKU for marketing.

“I really wanted to get familiar to the business side of the industry,” Sandy said.

Sandy credits his college job for keeping his dream alive. He was employed for five years with Champs Sports, a subsidiary of Footlocker, Inc. Constantly being around the customers and the footwear kept him interested in what he wanted to do.

Eric’s first taste of success came in 2010 in a design contest held by Mesh01. Mesh01 is a company that pairs designers, like Eric, to different brands.

Through that contest, Eric was sent to Beaverton, Ore., where the Nike, Inc. headquarters is located. While in Oregon, Sandy learned the ins and outs of the business and eventually moved there in March.

“It seemed it would be easier to land something if I lived in the area,” Eric said.

Before he knew it, he heard the words: “Congratulations, you got the job.”

He kept saying: “I feel like I just got drafted to the pros.”

For Eric Sandy, the best part of his job is waking up in the morning and driving to work. “I get to hang around designers all day and see exclusive top secret products,” Eric said.

Becoming a shoe designer was everything for Eric. In his brother’s words, “He eats, drinks, sleeps and breathes footwear.”

Story by Brandon Barb