Newly named marketing firm partner has grown with ‘agency nobody saw coming’

Oct. 20, 2020

This week’s Up-and-Comer is Chris Kappen, partner and chief operating officer at Epicosity.

Name: Chris Kappen

Age: 30

Hometown: Sioux Falls

What brought you to Sioux Falls?

It’s actually what brought me back to Sioux Falls. I grew up here, but like many high school seniors never intended to stick around for a career.

I attended South Dakota State University to pursue a degree in advertising. During my junior year, I was searching for marketing internships and stumbled on a little company — that I found in the phone book — by the name of Epic Multimedia here in Sioux Falls. I applied for an internship there and was interviewed by my future business partners, Eric Sivertsen and Justin Smorawske.

After my internship was complete, Eric and Justin offered me a full-time position to their new five-person agency team. I’ve been honored to be part of this now 30-plus-member team and have been living in Sioux Falls since 2012.

What keeps you in Sioux Falls?

Our friends and family are a big part of it. My wife, Angie, and I love this community and the fact that Sioux Falls is growing at a fast pace. New businesses seem to pop up all the time, and we especially enjoy trying new restaurants with food from different cultures.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?

It feels like I’m part of something special here. Epicosity is the agency that nobody saw coming. To be on the ground floor of something like that from the beginning and contribute to how we got where we are today is one of my favorite things.

How did you get connected to your industry?

It’s actually a fun little story! In high school, I wasn’t a straight-A student. Many of the typical school subjects like math and science just didn’t hold my attention. But junior year, a journalism course was offered that really piqued my interest, so with my less-than-stellar grade history, I pleaded my case to the guidance counselor, and he went out on a limb for me and got me registered. That course opened the door to the journalism industry and led to my decision to pursue a journalism degree. In college, my passion grew, particularly for digital media and marketing, and through some wonderful professors like Roxanne Lucchesi at SDSU, I began making connections to the real-world advertising industry.

Describe Epicosity in three words.

Demanding. Exciting. Fulfilling.

What is something someone might be surprised to learn about you?

I am 50 percent Greek from my dad’s side of the family, and my grandma — yiaya in Greek — was a first-generation immigrant. My yiaya, Phyllis, was a huge part of my life growing up and taught me so many life lessons that I’ll never forget. She came from a generation that valued hard work and ownership in a business. Her family started a cafe/restaurant here in America after emigrating and made it very successful all while raising a family and hardly speaking English. I am incredibly proud to say that I’ve followed the family tradition and become a partner at Epicosity, buying into the ownership group.

What’s your favorite way to give back to your community?

Get out there and enjoy it! My favorite way to do that is by spending my money at local businesses and trying different things. Beyond that, I’m proud of Epicosity’s commitment to donate up to $50,000 a year in free agency production to great causes like Feeding South Dakota, Junior Achievement of South Dakota and others.

What’s one business you’d like to see in Sioux Falls that isn’t here now?

I’d love to see more retail options for men’s clothing and footwear in Sioux Falls. With Gap and Banana Republic closing up shop in The Empire Mall, I’m so excited to see how our local retailers can capitalize. J.H. & Sons is a phenomenal choice to get some nice threads and shoes. I’d love to see more boutique-style places like them open up in town to give guys options on how to dress for any occasion.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I hope in five years I can look back as proudly as I can now at the team we’ve built and the clients our agency has been able to serve. I’m looking forward to the journey!


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Newly named marketing firm partner has grown with ‘agency nobody saw coming’

This week’s Up-and-Comer is Chris Kappen, partner and chief operating officer at Epicosity.

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