PULLMAN, Wash. — Blake Nordstrom, president of Nordstrom Inc., will be the guest speaker at the second Washington State University Power Breakfast, scheduled for 7:30-9 a.m. Feb. 18 at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel and Towers’ Cirrus Room.

“Mr. Nordstrom leads one of the nation’s leading fashion specialty retailers and is instrumental to the success of the company’s operations and its future,” said WSU College of Business and Economics Dean Len Jessup. “The company and Mr. Nordstrom’s role in this unique and successful organization are very much in line with WSU’s initiative on entrepreneurship and innovation. We are very pleased to have Mr. Nordstrom address the Power Breakfast audience.”

The breakfast is open to the public. Reservations can be made online at http://pubforms.wsu.edu/PowerBreakfast, by e-mail at supportexcellence@cbe.wsu.edu or by phoning Traci Tyacke at (509) 335-1386. The cost per person is $25. The Sheraton Seattle Hotel and Towers is located at 1400 6th Ave.

 

Nordstrom was founded as a Seattle shoe store by John W. Nordstrom in 1901 with his stake from the Alaska gold rush. Today, under Blake Nordstrom’s leadership, the company has 150 stores in 27 states. Operating on a February through January fiscal year, Nordstrom Inc. posted third-quarter earnings 71 percent ahead of the same quarter in 2003, with year-to-date net earnings up 83 percent to $253.5 million compared to last year.

Blake Nordstrom brings a deep passion for the company’s customer-focused culture and an extensive background in merchandising and company operations. Since being appointed president in August 2000, he has refined the company’s initiatives and established the groundwork for better merchandising execution, expense management and improved sales growth in all channels. He has renewed management’s commitment to the “front lines” of the business, directing resources and support to the sales floor. Additionally, he appointed an executive team that is working to integrate all company initiatives to improve short-term and long-term operating performance. In 2003, under the leadership of Nordstrom and his executive team, the company achieved its highest net income and earnings per share in company history.

Nordstrom knows the company from the ground up. He began his career at an early age working in the stockroom of the downtown Seattle store. After holding various positions in the women’s shoe division, he was named merchandise manager for women’s shoes for Nordstrom Rack, Place Two, and Alaska stores in 1987.

After managing the San Mateo, Calif., and downtown Seattle store, Nordstrom was appointed vice president and general manager of the Washington and Alaska region. He was named co-president in 1995. He was an early proponent of the credit division’s federal savings bank charter, which today provides unprecedented products and services to Nordstrom customers.

In 2000, Nordstrom assumed the position of president for the Nordstrom Rack group, overseeing all aspects of store operations, expansion and marketing. Later that year, the company’s board of directors appointed him president of Nordstrom Inc.

The WSU Power Breakfast series, presented by the WSU College of Business and Economics, kicked off in September 2004 with its first guest speaker, Kerry Killinger, chief executive officer and president of Washington Mutual. The goal of the series, said Jessup, is to inform, inspire and engage members of the regional business community by providing them with fresh outlooks on highly relevant corporate leadership topics. The series is also in line with WSU’s public responsibility to the state of Washington and the importance it places on the values of inquiry, knowledge, engagement and leadership, among others.

WSU has been an integral educational institution since the 1890s, with studies in business fields from the start. WSU has recently been ranked among the top 50 public research universities in the U.S. The College of Business and Economics was reaccredited in 2004 and is among the top public programs in the West, with several of its departments and programs ranked among the top in the nation. Under Jessup’s leadership, the college is implementing numerous changes to boost the excellence and reach of its programs. And, the CBE, with its Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, is charged with leading the university’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Initiative that will ultimately infuse entrepreneurship into all areas of study throughout the university.