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College of Business

B2B Speaker Series : Rich Cho

 

Business-to-Business Speaker

The B2B Speakers Series is designed for business professionals in the greater Seattle business community. It features business executives who share their perspective, experience and expertise about current issues and developments with business organizations and the regional economy.

Image of Rich Cho

Rich Cho

General Manager 
Portland Trail Blazers

"Transitioning Careers--Lessons Learned from Boeing Engineer
to Portland Trail Blazers General Manager "

Thursday, March 3, 2011
12 noon-1:30 p.m.

Columbia Tower Club
Downtown Seattle
(no-host parking)

Sponsor: Wells Fargo

 

Rich Cho was named the Portland Trail Blazers' ninth General Manager on July 19, 2010, and enters his first season with the team in 2010-11. He oversees all day-to-day basketball operations for the Trail Blazers, including talent evaluation, player personnel decisions, contract negotiations and salary cap management.

The first Asian-American general manager in American major league sports, Cho joins the Trail Blazers from the Oklahoma City Thunder, where as assistant general manager he played an instrumental role in assembling the team's young and talented roster.

Cho, 45, entered the NBA as an intern with the Seattle SuperSonics in 1995 while earning a law degree from Pepperdine University School of Law. He was brought on as a part-time consultant for the SuperSonics in 1997. After being hired full-time as the team's director of basketball affairs in 1998, Cho was promoted to assistant general manager in 2000.

While assistant general manager with the SuperSonics/Thunder, Cho, who is known for his analytical skills, was responsible for constructing trades, salary cap and Collective Bargaining Agreement matters, player contracts and all player personnel issues. Cho also reviewed contract matters for the WNBA's Seattle Storm. Following the move to Oklahoma City, Cho oversaw the Thunder's D-League affiliate, the Tulsa 66ers, and their run to the championship game in 2009-10. A member of the Washington State Bar, Cho was also a valuable asset to the business office, serving as Vice President of Legal for the SuperSonics from 2005-07, in addition to his duties as assistant general manager. He handled all legal work involved with sponsorship agreements, licensing issues, employment contracts and immigration issues.

During his internship with the SuperSonics, Cho--with the assistance of two Microsoft programmers--helped design and implement one of the NBA's most advanced and comprehensive college and professional player-evaluation systems that integrates player statistics, scouting information and contract details.

A Pacific Northwest native, Cho attended Decatur High School in Federal Way, Wash., before earning an engineering degree from Washington State University. His law degree from Pepperdine includes an emphasis in sports law, contract negotiations and dispute resolution. Cho worked as an engineer at Boeing in Seattle from 1989-94 before leaving to pursue his passion in professional sports.

Cho stays active by playing basketball, tennis, ping-pong and softball in his spare time, and is an avid explorer of restaurants and cuisine.

He and his wife Julie, are the parents of Miranda (5) and Annika (3).