Alumnus Makes 40 Under 40 List | CSUSM Steps Magazine
Chris Placencia (’11) graduated from Cal State San Marcos with a degree in Business Administration and a passion for entrepreneurship. He recently was named to San Diego Metro Magazine’s “40 Under 40” awards list, an annual selection of San Diego’s brightest, most innovative and most community-spirited leaders under the age of 40.
A serial entrepreneur, Placencia founded his first company, Jason Paul Marketing, in his senior year at CSUSM after participating in the College of Business Administration’s Quick Pitch Competition. The annual competition challenges students to deliver a fast and compelling two-minute business pitch to judges. Placencia took third place, and with further prompting from his professors decided to move forward with his idea.
“It started out slow. At first I was only doing websites for friends and family,” reflected Placencia. “But through networking and new connections, we’ve expanded and put together a diverse and talented team. I love to draw attention to my clients and bring them new customers — it’s gratifying and makes me excited when I hear that my clients are happy and that their businesses are growing because of our help.”
In addition to professional success, those listed in the 40 Under 40 list are committed to community involvement and outreach. Placencia is certainly no exception. He is a member of Red Bird Foundation’s board of directors and a San Diego Association of REALTORS® Young Professionals Network board member.
He attributes much of his success to the education he received at CSUSM and the dedicated faculty he came to know while attending school. “The College of Business Administration has been a major factor in my success. The marketing classes gave me a strong foundation, and the one-on-one attention from faculty gave me the push and confidence I needed to try to branch out on my own. Although I always wanted to start my own company, I thought I’d probably go the corporate route. But Professors Ron Gerevas and Jim Hamerly believed in me — they said to go for it, so I did.”
Jason Paul Marketing — named after a childhood friend of Placenia’s that died of leukemia at the age of 15 — is a full-service design and marketing firm specializing in web design, search engine optimization, social media and graphic design. Placencia has also founded several other start-ups including City Restaurant Websites, 400 Media Group and HomeViewer.
“At CSUSM the professors don’t just lecture,” he said. “You get to develop relationships with them.” Jim Hamerly, who previously taught entrepreneurship, is now a trusted mentor that Placencia calls on for advice and guidance.
What advice does Placencia have for entrepreneurially-minded future grads? “Have a strong business plan. Find mentors with experience and partners who are going to be in it with you for the long haul. And, most importantly, follow your gut.”