Wilson W. Smith III is an instructor in the Department of Product Design, and a Design Director at Nike, Inc., Beaverton, Oregon. He is a graduate from the University of Oregon (Architecture, '80) and had worked in the field of Architecture until joining Nike in 1983 as the Corporate Interior Designer. Initially, he designed showrooms, stores and offices, as well as various graphic publications.
After his 3rd year with the company, he made the jump to Product Design. During the ‘80’s, the footwear industry in the U.S. began to expand both in technology and style. Becoming a Senior Designer in 1990, Smith was involved primarily with the concepts of Nike's Cross Training and Basketball products.
Establishing the design direction for Tennis footwear throughout the 90's, he created many athlete-endorsed products including Andre Agassi's signature line. In 1997, he was the first dedicated Designer for Brand Jordan, and eventually inspired by, and collaborating with Michael Jordan, he created the industry leading Air Jordan 16 & 17.
In 2003, Wilson became the Design Director of Nike Court, which includes all tennis & racquet driven footwear, while leading the concepts for Nike endorsees Serena Williams, and Roger Federer. Black Enterprise Magazine named Wilson one of America’s Top Black Designers.
Currently, at 29 years with Nike, Wilson is a Creative Catalyst within the Zoo – Special Other Operations. Along with footwear innovation, he is involved in Nike Better World projects, which include aiding recovery efforts in Haiti, and is the Design Director for N7, which bring sport and all of its benefits to Native American and Aboriginal communities in the USA and Canada.
He is also a worship leader at SouthLake Church, Lake Oswego, Oregon.