Alum shoots, scores with new Adidas gig
Prashanth Peketi’s education has taken him from life as a student athlete in Twinsburg, Ohio to a management position at one of the world’s biggest sports equipment and apparel companies in the world. And his time in Ohio State’s Materials Science and Engineering program helped make it all possible.
Peketi, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Ohio State in 2015, started out as a biomedical engineer.
“I knew I wanted to do engineering, but I wasn’t sure what kind of engineering,” he said, citing Ohio State’s rich range of opportunities and alternatives in the field. “I knew that, coming to Ohio State, I’d have a great education, but I’d have the flexibility to change and make some moves, too.”
His first move came during an early orientation class introduced him to the field of materials science and all of its varied professional outcomes.
“I think the materials science program allows you to grow in a lot of different ways,” he said. “If you want to be flexible in your future career, become a materials scientist, because my skills can be used in the automotive field, the sports field, the food processing field. I’ve had internships at Dannon Yogurt, Volvo Trucks, and a sports company where I was testing equipment.”
Those internships connected him with people who helped him refine his interest in sports engineering, which he describes as “very technical but also very applied… Whatever technology might have a chance of being applicable within a sports product, you kind of just grab it and go, because everything moves so quickly.”
After graduating from Ohio State, he pursued a master’s degree at Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England, an internationally recognized program in the field. At Sheffield Hallam, he studied with people from Germany, Italy, India, Japan, and more at Sheffield. “I was the only American in my cohort.”
Now, he’s settling in as an assistant manager on Adidas’ basketball innovation team. He’s part of a multidisciplinary group that talks to athletes to gather insights on what they need from their apparel and equipment to transfer into engineering objectives, like “this shoe doesn’t have enough traction.” He’ll work among sport scientists, designers, and engineers, to translate needs into innovative products.
While working in the sports industry is a dream come true for Peketi, he knows that his education at Ohio State has positioned him for a huge range of opportunities.
“What you need is that broad-based understanding of how materials work [that Ohio State provides], and anyone can use that skill.”