Sean McDowell

Sean McDowell

VP, Innovation, Design & Sustainability - Converse, Nike

Sean was born in Tokyo, Japan and at age 5, he and his family moved to the small college town of Ithaca, New York. Both of his parents were professors and they instilled a strong sense of
curiosity from an early age. He studied Industrial Design at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with a minor in Psychology (Dean’s List & Rhodes Scholar Semi-finalist).

In the early 90’s, Sean began his career at a small design consultancy in Pittsburgh – Daedalus Design.  In the mid 90’s, McDowell combined his professional love of design with his love of sports and joined New Balance. His first shoe – the WW840 won shoe of the year. His work at New Balance caught the attention of the team at Nike and he was offered a job in the Running team in 1997.
Some of his roles at Nike have included:

  • Creative Director for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He led
    a team of 52 designers and won 3 international design awards
  • Director of Innovation at Converse where he set up the team and
    received multiple patents in the field of additive manufacturing.
  • VP/Creative Director for Nike Running – over seeing all creative
    work in footwear, apparel and accessories a $5.4B business. The
    team won Apparel brand of the year and numerous Runner’s World
    Awards.
  • VP of Innovation, Design and Sustainability at Nike subsidiary
    Converse. Leading a team of 86 designers in all aspects of design.
    Sean helped turn the company around after a 3 year decline.

Recently, Sean started his own design agency – Fountain Design and Innovation Center. The company focuses on break through innovation, indentifying market opportunities and helping corporations with a roadmap to success. Notable clients include: Philips Healthcare, Pepsico, BRP, Nike, Stanley, and CCM.