EPIC: The Place to be for Entreprenuers & Innovators

EPIC is the place to be for the entrepreneurial and business community in the Ozarks! OzSBI’s annual signature National Small Business Week event celebrated its ninth year with a focus on Agriculture in the Ozarks in 2024. EPIC attendees are rewarded with a full day of rich learning from experts in the business community (and, in 2024, experts in the agriculture community).

EPIC includes a keynote speaker, a business roundtable, a mixer, and a business pitch competition. We have featured many dynamic and motivating keynote speakers, including Ellen Rohr from Zoom Drain and Sarah Hill from Healium. We welcomed Kevin Johansen from AgButler in 2024. We have had many notable roundtable participants over the years, including Bobby Walker from Devil’s Backbone Knives, Jolene Durham from Piney River Brewing, Amy Hamilton from Hamilton Native Outpost, and Kristin Newman from Newman Farms and The Farmer’s Daughter.

Several of our past pitch competition winners have gone on to create successful businesses in our surrounding communities, including Thomas Sallings with Court Square Cafe in Alton and Todd Weakley from T&A Squared Wood Products. In 2024, the winner was Andrew Bradley with Air Solutions, a radon mitigation and mini-split installation business.

Get ready for EPIC in 2025, as we celebrate our 10th year! It is sure to be… epic! Keep an eye on this page or our Facebook page for more information as we begin planning. We look forward to seeing you at EPIC 2025!

Meet our EPIC 2024 Keynote Speaker

Keynote Speaker: Kevin Johansen

Kevin joined us from Lebanon, Missouri, where he raises cattle on his family farm and serves as the Founder and CEO of AgButler, an online platform that connects farmers and ranchers with high-quality labor. Kevin, a fifth-generation farmer, has deep agricultural roots. His family operates two century farms, and he holds a degree in animal sciences. He’s actively involved in 4-H, FFA, and the American International Charolais Breeders Association.

AgButler is a mobile application designed to help users overcome the challenges of agricultural workforce shortages by creating a network of experienced ag laborers made accessible in real-time. Similar to “ride-sharing” technology, our system allows farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses to connect with available laborers filtered by location, ratings, work experience and availability.

I did not know what to expect at this competition and information event, and I was so impressed by your round table guests; they are amazing women!

I am so happy I was a part of it and after watching the video of the pitch competition, I know what to add and change. The opportunity was splendid.

More locals need to take advantage of the resource! I thank you and I am sure many have thanked you!

Donna Harper, Pitch Competition Contestant

Highlights from EPIC 2024:

Thank you to our EPIC 2024 Sponsors

Crown Manufacturing is an EPIC sponsor

I did not know what to expect at this competition and information event, and I was so impressed by your roundtable guests; they are amazing women! I am so happy I was a part of it and after watching the video of the pitch competition, I know what to add and change. The opportunity was splendid.
More locals need to take advantage of the resource! I thank you and I am sure many have thanked you!

Donna H.

Donna H.

Past Speakers:

Keynote Speakers

Brook Kaufman – 2023

Brook Kaufman is the President & CEO of Visit Rapid City where she leads the charge to grow the local visitor economy. Prior to joining Visit Rapid City, she was the CEO of Visit Casper where she played a pivotal role in a variety of marketing efforts, including taking the lead in promoting the Great American Eclipse which passed directly over Casper in 2017. Through her leadership during the Eclipse, Casper welcomed thousands of visitors, received national and international media coverage and realized significant economic impact. Brook spoke to the EPIC audience about how she led the eclipse marketing effort in Casper, Wyoming, which saw a significant economic gain during the eclipse in 2017. She presented seven essential strategies for successfully marketing your business, services and product, or event to eclipse tourists.

Sarah Hill – 2022

Sarah Hill is a 12-time mid-America Emmy award-winning TV journalist who developed Healium for herself as well as the millions of others who want to self-heal their anxiety for better sleep and human performance. As the CEO of Healium, Hill has 25 years of experience building unique media franchises. She holds two patents for biometrically-powered media, her company’s mental fitness products are clinically validated in 5 peer-reviewed journals, and her immersive experiences have been viewed more than 7 million times. Healium’s roots are in virtual travel for Veterans. In 2015, Hill’s team built a program called “Honor Everywhere”, which uses virtual reality and augmented reality to allow aging Veterans the opportunity to virtually visit their WWII, Vietnam, Korea, & Women’s Memorials.

Ellen Rohr – 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016

Ellen is also a successful franchisor, helping launch a plumbing franchise to 47 locations and $40 million in sales in under 2 years. Now, she is the president of Zoom Drain and Sewer, LLC. a new franchise concept operating in 12 locations, and tracking $18 million in franchisee sales. She is a columnist for PHC News, and an “in the trenches” contributor to many business journals and trade magazines. Ellen is a popular, high-energy TV Celebrity who has been on over 150 news programs, encouraging people to make their own money.

Gary Wilbur – 2017

Gary has been an entrepreneur and owner of multiple businesses in Missouri since 1990. He created an acronnym that has shaped his life’s foundation: CHARGE (Create Habits Around Real Goals Everyday). He studied entrepreneurs such as Sam Walton, Brendon Burchard, Brian Tracy, and Charles Red Scott and learned their principles. Then he built his roadmap to personal success.

Ted Amberg – 2015

Ted Amberg began his career in entertainment in 1991 performing magic professionally at parties. His passion for magic soon led him to create his own booking agency that promoted all types of entertainers, bands, and other unique acts.  Ted attended Missouri State University, majoring in marketing and business management. He has written several industry best-selling books and courses that teach other similar companies how to run their companies effectively with a focus on safety, professionalism and marketing. He has been the recipient of several business awards, including the Springfield Business Journals 40 Under 40, Best Place to Work, as well as Springfield’s prestigious Small Business of the Year Award.

Other Speakers:

HIVEMINDED Marketing – 2023
Dr. Peggy Hill – 2023
Bobby Walker – 2022
Dr. Jenny Long – 2022
Johnna Swineford – 2022
Melanie Stinnett – 2019
Phil Wages – 2019
Chad Sisco – 2018
Kathy McFarland – 2018
Jonathan Bergman – 2018
Joleen – 2017
Rick – 2017
Brian Clark – 2016
Scotty Wall – 2016
Josh Holstein – 2016, 2015
Kris Lumby – 2016
Zac Kelly – 2016
Josh Stacy – 2015
Steve Pierce – 2015
Susie & Diana Hicks – 2015