The EPI Training Team
The EPI Training Team is made up of professionals who work every day producing results for their clients. All of these professionals have worked with Event Architects on various projects and share Kristi and Fred Shepherd’s passion for excellence and collaboration.
The EPI Training Team Includes:
KRISTI GRAY SHEPHERD, EVENT ARCHITECTS
Strategy, Planning, Marketing, Ticket Sales and Sponsorships
Kristi Shepherd has successfully operated her event business in the Twin Cities for over 23 years, the first 12 years called Kristi Gray, Inc. (KGI) KGI’s events ranged from sports to guerilla marketing to entertainment to educational conferences. Kristi’s expertise was tapped to assist with many of the national events that took place in Minnesota in the 1990s including the Super Bowl, the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the International Special Olympics and the U.S. Open.
Kristi has worked with decision makers from Fortune 500 companies and organizations such as the United Way of America, the White House Office on National Service and the National Council on Aging in national movements in which she played a pivotal role. Kristi was instrumental in EVENT ARCHITECTShelping then St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman realize a capital city renaissance by creating and launching Firstar Capital New Year in 1996. The event, a family-friendly, arts and culture celebration on New Year’s Eve, was featured on ABC-TV’s 2001 national telecast as one of only two U.S. cities highlighted for their post September 11th New Year’s celebration.
In 2002, Kristi renamed her company Event Architects. Her husband, Fred Shepherd, joined the company in 2003, providing production, logistics and marketing expertise for all Event Architects projects. Current Event Architects projects include the annual Walk to End Hunger at the Mall of America on Thanksgiving morning, Catholic Charities' Dorothy Day Center's 32nd Anniversary and the Lillehei Heart Institute's Red Hot Soiree.
FRED SHEPHERD, EVENT ARCHITECTS
Logistics, Production and Marketing
Fred Shepherd is a master of logistical management and can squeeze more out of a budget than anyone in the business.
Fred's first career in Sales and Marketing spanned more than 30 years. Over the course of his career, the value of the products and services that Fred has sold or managed totals nearly half a billion dollars. Fred has been on both sides of the table in event management for the corporate world, as consumer and as service provider. As a sales and marketing executive, he developed and produced incentive programs and corporate meetings throughout the the world, involving thousands of sales people.
In 1999, Fred joined a small Minnesota-based company that specializes in corporate meeting production. Fred altered the direction of the company and set it on a path of successful growth. The company grew consistently, with sales volume from 2002 to 2003 demonstrating an amazing 350 percent increase. In 2002, Fred joined his wife, Kristi Gray Shepherd, and her company, Event Architects, to provide production, logistics and marketing expertise to their clients. Following the successful Faith's Lodge Gala in 2006, Event Architects also managed the construction of Faith's Lodge's new facility in Webster, Wisconsin. This retreat is a haven for couples and families who have lost a child or who have a seriously ill child. Fred’s management and negotiation skill brought this project in $500,000 under the projected budget, and within the aggressive 11 month timeline.
DAWN BRYANT, SIMPLICITY TALKS
Messaging, Public Relations and Social Media
Dawn Bryant is a fanatical communicator who loves helping others be great. After more than 11 years in corporate America, she leaped out of her comfort zone and launched Simplicity Communications and Consulting in 2009. Dawn believes too many people and organizations either over-think communications or gloss over it. She’s seen great communicators and great communications strategies strengthen organizations and individuals; she’s also watched bad communicators and ill-developed strategies unintentionally damage reputations.
Helping others be genuine and effective communicators is a healthy obsession for Dawn. She coaches clients by asking hard questions, understanding audiences, learning different perspectives and building relationships that strengthen business, nonprofit and personal brands. Her 13 years of experience includes expansive work in public relations for large technology and entertainment retailers Best Buy Co., Inc. and the Musicland Group. Hundreds of individuals at all levels of organizations have experienced her training and counsel. Those people have going on to give powerful speeches, effective presentations and successful news media interviews (including The Wall Street Journal, Time, Business Week, Fast Company, Seventeen, ABC World News Tonight, NBC Nightly News, 60 Minutes and NPR) Dawn’s also prepared dozens of crisis plans, and successfully managed uncountable, potentially damaging issues including one recognized by the FBI as exceptional work.
TOM BOTHOF AND ROSS GISH, BIG EVENT PRODUCTIONS
Audio, Video and Lighting Design, Technical Direction, Staging and Production
Tom Bothof launched his career in the early 1980's as a performer in live theatre, which ultimately blossomed into an interest in audio support for live performances. In 1982 he started Twin Town Sound, providing audio facilities for live bands, theatre and corporate presentations. Tom provided audio touring packages, production management skills and sound design services for National touring theater productions. He has 14 years of touring experience with New York based shows such as Pump Boys and Dinettes, Big River, Into the Woods, Guys and Dolls, The Buddy Holly Story, The Who's TOMMY and The King and I along with numerous other successful productions.
Ross Gish began his career with a Minneapolis based Audio-Visual facilities company, and developed an extensive working knowledge of lighting design, power distribution, projection services and intelligent lighting. Ross' extensive knowledge of rigging and technical production has evolved in the course of designing and installing shows for literally hundreds of corporate events and meetings. He has also toured with national music acts performing functions from audio engineering to tour management.
GREG NJOES, MARILYN WEIS AND DAVID BORNOWSKI, RICHFIELD FLOWERS AND EVENTS
Richfield Flowers and Events is the premier event décor company in the Twin City area. The company was founded over 50 years ago, and Greg Njoes purchased it in 1979. Marilyn Weis serves as their General Manager and David Bornowski as one of their most talented designers. Greg, Marilyn and David have all worked to create some of the most fabulous, unique and cutting edge events in the Twin Cities including Faith’s Lodge Gala, Hope Rocks and Como Friends’ Sunset Affair.
HILLARY FEDER, HILLARYS
Since founding her company in 1989, Hillary Feder’s vision to create a process that would combine creativity with strategy has resulted in the development of integrated programs and products to enhance her clients’ internal and external relationships. She is the owner, researcher, marketer, cheerleader and chief strategist for the company that began in her home and now serves hundreds of business and individual customers every year. After graduating from the Boston University School of Management, Hillary began as an assistant buyer in retail at Filenes department store in Boston. She also spent seven years as a senior buyer with Dayton-Hudson department stores.