TEDxRichland speakers to share ‘ideas worth spreading’

TED talks are known worldwide for sparking imaginations, dialogue and ideas that prompt change.

It’s a template organizers hope to replicate in the Tri-Cities next month when speakers riff off the event’s “Invisible Adversity” theme.

The idea for the Richland event hatched when the group’s core organizers noticed a disturbing pattern. They hold leadership positions, sit on boards, are very involved in the community and go to a lot of events and hear speakers, said Jess Stangeland, 29, of Kennewick, TEDxRichland’s lead organizer and executive producer.

“There was a real deficit of ideas worth spreading. … We just wanted to be that kind of platform in the community to bring people together and have a TED-like experience and start some connection and collaboration and get new ideas into the community,” she said.

For the uninitiated, TED Talks (TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design) are under 18 minutes long. The nonprofit parent organization that shares them is based in New York and Canada and is “devoted to spreading ideas.” TED’s most popular talks are: “Do schools kill creativity?” “Your body language shapes who you are,” and “How great leaders inspire action.”

TEDx events like the one coming to Richland are smaller and feature a combination of live presenters and TED Talks videos aimed to spark “deep conversation and connections at the local level.”

TEDxRichland’s “invisible adversity” theme surfaced as the event’s focus when the organizers first began talking about holding the event last October.

“There’s something about it and it was an underlying theme we were having about a lack of voice and representation and seeing injustice. We were fascinated by that,” Stangeland said.

The theme fits a variety of topics and challenges the community to dig deeper into the meanings, molecules and imagination behind things we see, or don’t see, from inner selves to outer space, according to the group’s website.

The group asked the community to submit ideas for talks that fit the theme and 86 applications followed. The list then was culled to 20.

Stangeland said all identifying information was scraped off so the team could read through the proposed ideas without knowing who submitted them. They voted on their favorites, winnowing the list to 11 speakers.

“There were so many good ideas. It took me a lot to even narrow down to the top 20.

“It was definitely tough, but I’m really excited and really believe in all our speakers and their ideas,” she said.

The speakers include a mix of people, some comfortable talking in front of crowds and others who have never spoken in front of a large group. Stangeland said several rehearsals are planned and Toastmasters members will offer speaking tips.

The speakers all live in the Tri-Cities and receive no stipend.

The application deadline to hear the talks live has closed. One hundred people will be selected by lottery to sit in the audience. About 200 people requested admission to the free talks.

But don’t worry about missing them. TEDxRichland will be live-streamed on the group’s website and on social media. Viewing parties also are planned the day of the event at Mid-Columbia Libraries’ west Pasco and Kennewick branches, Washington State University Tri-Cities, Columbia Basin College and Fuse Coworking.

All the talks also will be online on the TEDx YouTube channel after the event.

TEDxRichland is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Uptown Theatre in Richland.

Featured speakers at the event are:

Adam Brault

Adam Brault

Adam Brault: “The suburbs are broken. Let’s upgrade the OS.”

Brault is the founder of &yet, a people-first software company. He started Doctype Society, the area’s first meetup for design/tech/software, and organized the first TriConf in 2011. He is also co-creator of Talky, a video chat service requiring no downloads or plugins. He’s also co-founder of Fuse Coworking, ^Lift Security, and WholeStory, a startup whose mission is to change hiring culture. He played a role in reopening Uptown Theatre as a community space, and since 2015 has been leading an effort to bring a public market to the Tri-Cities.



Scott Butner

Scott Butner

Scott Butner: “In Defense of Darkness.”

Recently retired from a 29-year career as an environmental research scientist, Butner now spends his time working as a professional photographer in the Tri-Cities. Though interested in the night sky since he was a child, Butner found himself wandering into the night with a camera about 10 years ago. His quest for dark skies has taken him throughout the western U.S., to mountaintops and deserts.




Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson: “Honoring Spanglish as a Resource.”

Johnson of Pasco earned his doctorate in sociocultural anthropology from Arizona State University. He is an associate professor of bilingual/ESL education at Washington State University Tri-Cities. His research focus involves ethnographic approaches to language-minority programs and policies in public schools. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses related to teacher preparation, including the theoretical foundations of bilingual and ESL education, teaching methods for bilingual/ESL education, sociolinguistics and diversity in education.



Justin Jones

Justin Jones

Justin Jones: “Silicon Valley Jobs in Tri-Cities, WA.”

Jones is a consulting architect at VMware. His previous work history includes positions at Accenture, Lockheed Martin, E-mu Systems, Creative Labs and Keen Energy Services. He frequently presents at technical conferences, including VMworld, Puppet Labs conferences, RADIO and TechSummit. He is an active member of the Fuse Coworking space in Richland and winner of the 2016 Tri-Cities Launch University for his team’s software idea, Compass DMS. His personal interests include board games, music, brewing and tennis.



Kimberly Kessler

Kimberly Kessler

Kimberly Kessler: “I am a Villain in Disguise.”

Kessler didn’t finish college. When she was 20 years old, she landed an entry-level job at a local credit union. She grew up there and even met her husband there. And it’s where she learned to write, speak and teach. After climbing the corporate ladder for 10 years, she quit in 2014 to be a stay-at-home-mom and pursue passionate projects. Since then, she’s gained a son through open adoption and written her first novel.




Becca Lingley

Becca Lingley

Becca Lingley: “Overcoming Tri-Cities’ Historical Bias.”

Lingley is director of operations at Flex Rental Solutions, an online instructor at Liberty University and a co-founder of Fuse Coworking. Her career includes experience in human resources, nuclear power, tourism, economic development, management and sales. She holds an master’s in business administration and a doctorate in marketing. She moved to the Tri-Cities in 2010 from Virginia, has served on the city of Richland’s Economic Development Committee and has worked with various organizations in a volunteer capacity.



Douglas McKinley

Douglas McKinley

Douglas McKinley: “Automated Cars will Reshape the Justice System.”

McKinley is an attorney in Richland, where he handles a variety of cases ranging from complex civil litigation in federal courts across the country to simple misdemeanor matters locally. He is also a co-founder of NHThree LLC, a high-tech startup developing new technology for the green manufacture of ammonia. Prior to co-founding NHThree, he served as director of administration and general counsel for Integrated Environmental Technology LLC, a high-tech startup spun out from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Prior to joining IET, McKinley was senior intellectual property counsel with PNNL.



Marie Noorani

Marie Noorani

Marie Noorani: “Fear = the box not existing.”

A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Noorani has lived with her children in the Northwest for two decades and considers it home. Her past jobs include tour director, telemarketer and bartender. She currently teaches English and history at Christ the King School in Richland. She is an internationally exhibited paper artist and lead singer/songwriter for the band Zilliox.




Michael Rastovich

Michael Rastovich

Michael Rastovich: “It’s Easy to Draw – Why is it Hard to Draw?”

Rastovich set upon the journey of an artist even before the age of 5. In his 20s, he studied with master artist Siegfred Hans and Howard Wexler in New Mexico and lived in an adobe hut in the middle of the desert while learning his craft. Being a Renaissance man, he gathered together from varied sources all of the materials to build his own etching press. He eventually worked for a museum design company in Portland, and using his exceptional drawing skills, created conceptual drawings for museums around the U.S. He has always been a full-time artist and made his living that way.



Alice Schlegel

Alice Schlegel

Alice Schlegel: “The YinSense of Bees.”

Schlegel wanted to bring balance to her life, so she started practicing yin yoga and adopted two beehives. These two actions had two important similarities – observation and patience. It was through these two actions that she was able to pause into stillness and find balance, a process she affectionately calls stepping into the “yinsense.” Schlegel is an educator and administrator at Columbia Basin College and a certified yoga teacher. She is also an apprentice beekeeper and a SoulCollage facilitator. She received a master’s in adventure education with a concentration in yoga and ecophilosophy from Prescott College. She completed Yoga Behind Bars training and is now teaching yoga in a state prison.



Paul Stansbury

Paul Stansbury

Paul Stansbury: “Radiological Ignorance Causes Non-productive Fear.”

Stansbury graduated from Georgia Tech with a doctorate in nuclear engineering. In the early ‘80s, he got a job with GE in Wilmington N.C., manufacturing nuclear fuel for commercial power reactors running the radiation protection department at the plant. In 1990, he moved to the Tri-Cities to be a section manager for Battelle, managing about 40 scientists and engineers doing applied research in radiation protection in the workplace, in the environment and inside the human body. After the company reorganized, he became an individual contributor doing applied radiation protection projects around the country and around the world. In 2012, he retired from Battelle and started working for Dade Moeller Inc., a small radiation safety and environmental consulting company, while pursuing his passion for developing the graduate certificate program in radiation protection within WSU’s School of the Environment.

The entire production’s cost will be under $10,000. The money comes from sponsors and in-kind donations.

More information at www.tedxrichland.com or on the group’s Facebook page.

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