Flowering tree with Bell Tower in background


Lifting Off

With help from Washburn alumni, Mammoth explodes into creative atmosphere

Group posing

Members of the Mammoth Creative team who are Washburn graduates, from left to right: Jerrica Towle, ba ’13, Ronnie Murphy, ba ’04, Rachel Harden, ba ’10, Kip Kraisinger, ba ’05, Eryn Allen, ba ’05, and Blake Kresge, ba ’09. Photo by Austin Walsh, Mammoth Productions

From The Ichabod - Spring 2022

By Annie Flachsbarth

“We were joking that it’s like a rocket ship. Rocket ships aren’t always a smooth ride. But it's fast, and it's fun. And the view is great.”

As vice president of creative for Mammoth Creative, Kip Kraisinger, ba ’05, explained, working for Mammoth has been a bit of a whirlwind. In the year since joining forces with Mammoth Sports Construction in 2021, the creative group has expanded its Meridan, Kansas, team – now including six Washburn alumni and a Washburn intern. They’ve even opened a second location in Lenexa, Kansas. By all accounts, this is just the beginning of their story.

One Giant Leap for Creative Kind

The Mammoth crew was launched from a Topeka-owned creative agency called Bajillion, which was sold to Austin Abbott with Abbott-Unlimited in December 2020. They continued as an agency under Abbot-Unlimited for six months or so until they were approached by Mammoth Sports Construction with the opportunity to join forces. The team had helped with Mammoth’s rename, rebrand, film work and website in 2018, so the relationship already existed and the move was a good fit.

“Austin was great, and we owe a ton of gratitude and debt to him for helping us keep our dream alive,” Kraisinger said.

According to Ronnie Murphy, ba ’04, vice president of strategy, the move gave the team the bandwidth to focus on what they do best.

“We were able to let people who wanted to just come and create things, just create things,” Murphy said.

As a branch of the larger Mammoth brand, Mammoth Creative gets the privilege of having a lot of built-in work coming from the construction, concrete, engineering and architectural divisions of the company. This diminishes the struggles to find new clients that many creative agencies have in their first few years.

“Mammoth is doing sports construction projects throughout the Midwest for tons of schools, and now they get to introduce us as another service,” Murphy said.

Preparing to Launch

Murphy and Kraisinger met in college while working on Washburn’s Campus Activities Board. For Murphy, that experience gave him an edge up in his career.

“When I graduated, I had already booked shows, planned events, worked with ticketing systems and had a lot of real-world experience. It was really valuable in getting my first job,” Murphy said.

Kraisinger had a similar experience after finding his love for graphic design in a mass media layout class. CAB also gave him the chance to do graphic design and learn a lot, and he played football, which gave him more than just experiences on the field.

“I met so many people I still have relationships with to this day. For example, we’re working with North Alabama on a project and the athletic director there is Josh Looney (bba ’05) – I played football with him,” Kraisinger said. “It’s awesome to see how these things come full circle.”

Mammoth’s lead filmmaker, Blake Kresge, ba ’09, started working for Topeka’s WIBW news station his sophomore year. His teachers gave him the leniency to pursue his job, even if it occasionally conflicted with class.

“I went to the Final Four my junior year for work. I missed an entire week of school to do that, but my teachers worked with me,” Kresge said. “That support was nice because I didn’t want to fail and lose my scholarship – plus it allowed me to get real-world experience in the industry.”

Ready for Liftoff

As an award-winning agency, it’s safe to say Mammoth Creative is doing more than a few things right. Their key to success is in the people, the collaboration and the clients. 
“I lean toward collaborative. That's why we're all still here together. Things weren't always easy,” Kresge said. “We have great creatives, and when you can get out of a rut and find the creative answer together it’s super exciting.”

The fact that nearly 30 percent of the Mammoth Creative team is made up of Washburn University graduates isn’t an accident.

“We get really excited when we get a resume from a Washburn graduate,” Murphy said. “Based on the experience we've had, there’s a connection point and shared interest. Plus, we always want to build back into the community that built us.”

The team has proudly done work for Washburn Athletics, the Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation and the Washburn University School of Business.

“I’ve always enjoyed going back and doing projects at Washburn,” Kresge said. “There’s a lot of good things happening there.”

Winter 2024 The Ichabod magazine cover with picture of the bell tower and snow fallen on campus

The Ichabod tells our story with features on alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends, along with the latest campus news. View the current and past editions


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