Former USA Climbing CEO Takes the Helm of EP USA Marketing

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Kynan Waggoner, EP USA Marketing Director
Kynan Waggoner, the new Marketing Director of EP USA. (All images courtesy of Kynan Waggoner and EP)

EP USA recently informed CBJ that Kynan Waggoner―who served as CEO of USA Climbing from 2014 to 2018―is now EP USA’s new Marketing Director. As the head of the company’s marketing department, Waggoner will oversee all marketing endeavors for its holds, volumes and climbing wall products.

According to Waggoner, the move to EP developed out of his previous partner and client relationships with the company. In 2012, Waggoner was working as USAC’s Operations Director when Entre-Prises first partnered with USAC, providing U.S. comp climbing’s governing body its first portable bouldering wall. That relationship continued throughout Waggoner’s time at USAC and is still going strong today, with EP walls providing the backdrop for major comps like the recent World Cups in Salt Lake City.

 

After leaving USAC, Waggoner and his brother, Derek Waggoner, opened Gripstone Climbing & Fitness in 2019 with a full range of bouldering, lead and speed walls by Entre-Prises. Of note is that Gripstone is located in Colorado Springs, home of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center, and most recently Entre-Prises provided the climbing walls for sport climbing’s Olympic debut.

“EP has been just fantastic to work with over the years,” said Waggoner. “The men and women working here are smart, motivated professionals who are stand-up people and climbers through and through. They built incredible walls for the Olympics and USA Climbing, as well as our gym in Colorado Springs. We’re also working on an expansion of the gym’s bouldering walls that will be through EP.”

Entre Prises climbing walls for Olympics
The Entre-Prises lead, bouldering and speed climbing walls used at climbing’s Olympic debut earlier this month.

Waggoner’s arrival will also support Todd Chester, EP USA’s previous Marketing Director, who will stay in the company’s marketing department as Creative Manager. With a background in digital communication and brand management, Chester says he will now be able to focus more time and energy on content production in this role, which has been his professional passion.

“I’m excited to have Kynan on board. He brings such a great experience and relevancy to
our culture here at EP and the values that we bring to our clients,” said Chester.

The Marketing Director transition at EP matched Waggoner’s personal objectives as well. “Part of the reason I left USA Climbing was that the travel was just getting to be way too much, and I knew that it wasn’t going to be good for my personal life to be on the road that much,” Waggoner told CBJ.

Waggoner and crew at 2008 Vail Bouldering World Cup
Waggoner and other members of the setting crew for the 2008 Vail Bouldering World Cup, the first World Cup on American soil.

Residing in Colorado, Waggoner will predominately work remotely for Bend-based EP USA. Staying in Colorado will also allow Waggoner to keep routesetting at Gripstone on the side. Waggoner has been passionate about setting for decades, having established USAC’s Routesetting Committee with Chris Danielson and Mike Moelter and serving as chief routesetter for major U.S. comps before USAC existed.

As for Waggoner’s objectives for his new position: “Do good work for a good company is the easiest way I can put it,” said Waggoner. “The job of the Marketing Director and the marketing team is to prime the market for the eventual purchase of the good or service that you’re selling, and EP has been doing that for years―especially having been the wall provider and one of the volumes providers at the Olympics. I have a feeling that type of investment in competition through the IFSC and USAC will pay off in the future, considering the growth of the sport. Right now we’re priming ourselves to make more of an impact with holds and volumes domestically, with a new mix of urethane shapes in the works, in addition to our wall projects.”