TEDxHuntsville 2014


Elevate:  This year we’ll lift our ideas, our dialogue, our work, and our world to a higher level.  Our 6th annual conference takes place at Randolph’s Thurber Arts Center on Sunday, September 7, 2014; doors open at 12 noon with talks beginning at 1:00 PM.

At TEDx Huntsville 2014, we identify individuals who are truly making a difference, making the Tennessee Valley better.  Their acts, big or small, move us and get us thinking about our community–they touch our lives and make us better.  There is a place where ideas emerge and resonate, and that place is TEDxHuntsville. This year’s After Party takes place at AM Booth’s Lumberyard from 6pm. Kelvin Wooten and Ken Watters/Ingrid Felts will be performing. There will be food trucks (I Love Bacon Food Truck, Rollin Lobstah, Sugar Belle Truckand Earth and Stone Wood Fired Pizza) and Mangos Caribbean Restaurant. This will be the best After Party yet.

Event Details

What: TEDxHuntsville 2014 
Where: Thurber Arts Center, Randolph School 4915 Garth Road SE, Huntsville, AL 35802
Who: 500+ attendees  (Including extraordinary thinkers, innovators, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, students and local civic leaders)
When: Sunday 7 September 2014  Doors open at 12 noon, Conference from 1pm to 5pm


Lisa Williams & Dwight Pope

lisadwightLisa Williams was the co-founder and president of 3D Research Corporation from 1997-2006. As the president of 3D Research, Ms. Williams was responsible for the management and operations of a multi-million dollar company with 17 locations throughout the United States and one international site. 3D Research was acquired by the Schafer Corporation in December 2005. After the sale of 3D Research Corporation, Ms. Williams took over as president of Systems Dynamic International in February, 2011, after their president had died unexpectedly. She was able to put the company back on track for success and left SDI in March 2012. Ms. Williams is currently the president of Soldier 1 Corporation.

Dwight Pope is an expressionist who is currently employed as a Film Technician for HDC at MSFC and who has been involved in art his entire life. He attributes his development and social awareness to growing up in the Inner City of Cleveland, Ohio. After graduating from high school he relocated to Huntsville, AL and attended Alabama A & M University where he graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree.  Dwight uses his art and speaking gifts as a departure point from which to expand upon the uplifting of humanity thru spreading love, light and positive energy.




Antonio Montoya


Entrepreneur and Startup Community Builder

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Antonio Montoya has been involved with high tech for over 20 years in consulting, sales, product development and marketing. An entrepreneur at heart, he started his own consulting practice in 1994, which took him to the Caribbean, and Central and South America. When he relocated to Huntsville in 2003, he joined the product management team at Intergraph (now part of Hexagon). In 2007, he joined AeroMetric (now Quantum Spatial) where he directed all marketing online and offline activities, and led the implementation team for Google Apps and Salesforce.com. Antonio founded Rocket Hatch to promote and support entrepreneurship in the Northern Alabama region. His mission is to connect local startups and entrepreneurs with the startup communities around the US and beyond, showcasing this community, and bringing the best people, programs and global resources to this area. He also advises several early-stage companies.

Debra Jenkinsdebra

Founder. Board Chairman, blogger and risk taker

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Debra hopes that her TEDxHuntsville talk will leave audiences inspired to find their own life’s calling as they hear about the unconventional way that she found hers. By working with people who have special needs, and surviving her son’s journey through addiction and into recovery, Debra has learned that we are all more alike than we are different, that it’s never too late to find your life’s calling and that the biggest risk in life is being afraid to take a risk.

Don Wilcherdon

Electrical Engineer, Arduino

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Don Wilcher’s talk will explain his journey to education, even though his training and experience is that of an Electrical Engineer. While in college, he noticed that the methods his professors used to communicate complex/abstract concepts in electrical engineering were not ‘user friendly.’  Because of their complicated teaching methods, he wanted to figure out a way to convey complex subjects to where anyone could understand them. Thus, his personal journey into education began when he developed his first weekend enrichment program for kids titled “Electricity and Robots.”  From there, his energies and focus are to help kids as well as adults learn about technology through hands-on building and experimenting with electronics and robotics.

Joe Martinjoe

Fitness Professional

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At one point in Joe’s life, he was overweight, depressed, and had basically given up. At the present time, Joe is a successful business owner, devoted husband, loving father, best selling author, follower of Christ, and a fitness professional who gets the opportunity to help others change their lives every day. Joe’s life changed by doing three things that every person is capable of doing. Joe would like to share those three things.

Joe Martin is the owner of Huntsville and Madison Adventure Boot Camp.  He has won several awards, including Huntsville’s Healthiest Trainer, and Huntsville’s Healthiest Male.  Adventure Boot Camp was voted the best place in Huntsville to workout, and his book The Wellness Code hit the Amazon Best Sellers list. He prides himself on his ability to make exercise fun, safe, and effective for everybody no matter what size they are or what kind of shape they are in.

Karen Wynnekaren

Soil Scientist and Geophage

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Karen Wynne has made a career of playing in the dirt, as a farm worker and manager, a soil mapper, a wetland delineator, a perc tester, and organic farm planner. After clinching fourth place in a collegiate soil judging competition at Ohio State University, she knew she was destined for great things in soil science. She has focused her efforts on the southeastern United States, working primarily with small farmers to develop alternative production and marketing options that support more sustainable approaches to farming. In addition to her work with individual farmers and on her family’s own semi-neglected farm, Karen has worked with many partners to build other key pieces of the puzzle for local food systems in the area, including the Madison City Farmers Market, the North Alabama Food Policy Council, Southern Fresh Produce, and the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network.

Kelvin Wootenkelvin

Organic Musician/Producer

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Kelvin Wooten intends to show how technological advances are asset to the creation of music. The face of popular music has changed through these advances, making it accessible to anyone who wants to create. With this, however, there is more of a chance for those who are at heart not true musicians a hand at creating as well. This over-saturates the market with sub-par quality. The expectation for quality music as a whole diminishes. This is because the technology is not used as a tool, but rather a crutch. The soul of music should not be sacrificed by the methods in which we create and distribute the art. Kelvin has played, written, arranged or produced for Earth, Wind & Fire, Mary J. Blige, Al Green, The Bee Gees, Anthony Hamilton, Nappy Roots, Jill Scott, Macy Gray, the Isley Brothers, Tony Toni Tone and TLC to name a few.

Kisha Freed

Conscious Artist

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What is that special thing that makes some of the world’s greatest heroes so ah-mazing?  The late South African President, Nelson Mandela, survivors of Nazi concentration camps, Harriett Tubman, and Ghandi, for examples?  They all possessed a Superpower! But what is this Superpower, and how do we get it?  It’s really simple. You already have it!  And once you become mindful of it, you will have the opportunity to use it with greater consciousness.  Kisha will share some examples of everyday people who have used this Superpower to change or redirect the course of their lives, and inspired the lives of others.

Kisha is the CEO of Word-Xpress.Com and Publishing. Word-Xpress recently launched a breast cancer support community campaign which offers emotional and mental support to breast cancer survivors, patients, and caregivers. This is one of several artist community projects launched by Word-Xpress.com.

Lori King-Taylorlori

Serial Entrepreneur

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In this journey through life, each of us deal with some form of human tragedy, pain, or loss.  Many stumble through the predictable stages of grief until they fall into a black hole of depression. For 20 years, Lori King-Taylor and her husband actively pursued building their family, and for 20 years they suffered through infertility and failed adoptions.  During her darkest moments, Lori questioned “Is there a reason for the pain?”  Eventually, she realized that she could help more children than she could ever adopt, serving the underserved. For the last several years, Lori has traveled to the ends of the earth to care for orphans and has found a joy and purpose for her life in serving others.

Lysa Parker, MS, CFLElysa

Cofounder, Attachment Parenting International, Certified Family Life Educator

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Parents around the world are hungry for information on child development and they want support for their parenting choices. They not only want to be better parents but they intend to create a more compassionate, empathic world one family at a time.

Lysa Parker is a parenting educator, writer, social entrepreneur and most importantly, a mother. When she became a mother for the first time, she thought she was educated enough that she would have an easy go of it, but was quickly proved wrong. Her experience taught me many lessons, that created many opportunities for personal growth and the desire to give back to humanity. Twenty years ago she cofounded a nonprofit organization called Attachment Parenting International to promote secure parent-child attachment relationships through education and community support groups. Their goal is to cut through the myths and misinformation about childrearing practices by providing the best research-informed best practices.

Margaret HoelzerM08-Margaret Hoelzer 150x150

3x Olympic Medalist USA Swimming

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Margaret Hoelzer is an Olympic medalist, winning two silver medals and a bronze medal during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Originally from Huntsville, Alabama, Margaret swam during the summer for Jones Valley Recreation Association (JVRA), Space City Swim, and for her team at Huntsville High School. Margaret later swam on the team at Auburn University, where she earned a degree in psychology, with a minor in criminology. Margaret is a public speaker on child abuse issues, and is the national spokesperson for the National Children’s Advocacy Center. In 2009, Margaret relocated to Seattle, Washington, and then to Fullerton, California, where she trains at Fullerton Aquatics with Coach Sean Hutchison.

Mark Noblemark

Sports Exercise Physiologist / Kinesiologist


Mark Noble, an Exercise Physiologist & Human- Performance- Enhancement-Specialist, will demonstrate technology that has the potential to benefit people of all ages by merging the genius of two innovative technologies. Noble honed his skills at Texas A&M University under Coach Emil Mammaliga, and later as Head-Speed & Strength Coach at the U.S. Military Academy with famed Coach Mike Krzyzewski. Over the 18 years they worked together, Krzyzewski and Noble saw many of the athletes they mentored– in football, soccer, golf, softball, volleyball, baseball, handball and figure skating–achieve National Championships and Olympic status. A devoted husband, father and grandfather, Noble says the inspiration derived from working with athletes and now with young and old who wish to improve their health and well-being inspired him to found the Human Performance Lab at UA Huntsville. “Through this new technology,” says Noble, we have the opportunity to improve lives from cradle- to- the-grave.

Niki Werkheiserniki

3D Printing in Zero-G Project Manager/NASA Nerd from Way Back

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Any remote location, whether it is the middle of the desert or the surface of Mars, presents a challenge in terms of obtaining the resources one needs to thrive. Analogous to the way the printing press evoked the Renaissance and generated a middle class by making information accessible to everyone, 3D Printing will do the same by providing the individual with the capability to produce on-demand goods wherever and whenever they might be needed. This is particularly meaningful when applied to space exploration where the supply chain has been severely constrained due to the dependency on launching everything that might be needed from earth. This year, we will make history by launching the first 3D Printer to the International Space Station. This technology will forevermore improve the way we live and operate in space and ultimately provide the much-needed solution for sustainable human exploration.

Philip Kovacs, Ph.D.philip

Education, Evolutionist

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The educational reforms of the last 100 years are predicated on information scarcity. Today, not unlike the early 1900s, Children go to schools where they download facts that administrators then ask them to regurgitate, sometimes using computers. The world we live in now is information dense. We no longer need fact-distribution centers. We need spaces where children learn to identify, access, and utilize information from various knowledge systems in order to create change in a given space over a given period of time. This talk addresses the limitations of current educational practices and presents a compelling vision of how tomorrow’s schools will operate. Unlike many TED talks covering education, Dr. Kovacs closes with a pragmatic, immediately implementable, cost saving example of a transformational global space for student development and growth.

Stephen F. Blackstephen

Director, UA Center for Ethics

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Stephen Black studied American History at the University of Pennsylvania, receiving his Bachelor’s degree in 1993, magna cum laude, and attended Yale Law School, graduating in 1997. Following law school, Black moved to Birmingham, became involved in public affairs and practiced law at Maynard, Cooper and Gale. He spent a year serving as an assistant to the Governor, researching policy issues and economic development projects. Leaving the Governor’s Office in 2001, he returned to Maynard, Cooper and Gale. In 2004, Black was appointed to the University of Alabama faculty, and was asked to create, and then direct, a new Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility.  Also in 2004, he founded Impact Alabama: A Student Service Initiative; he currently serves as its President and Board Chairman.  In 2013, Chancellor Robert E. Witt asked Black to serve as Special Advisor to The University of Alabama Chancellor for Outreach and Community Engagement.

Watters/Felts Projectwaters2

Modern Jazz with World Music Edge

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The group is three years old, Hunstville-based, and involved in the UAH jazz program as well as Grissom High jazz band. They are dedicated to investing in their community to support local young musicians.

Ken Watters spent years performing in NYC, where he was infused with deep rhythms of traditional jazz, plus over 50 trips to Haiti, where his flugel and trumpet matured to encompass complex world beats from the island’s Zouk style.

Abe Becker graced Indiana University’s prestigious music program, to follow by teaching at UAB and then UAH. His bass lines form the basis of many of the group’s originals. He has co-written with lead singer Felts, as well as arranged for Birmingham’s String Theory, and also plays with top 40 band Bonus Round.

Darrell Tibbs has recorded and toured with Donna Summers among other world renowned names, and adds tasty sauce to all the right jazz dishes. He is known for his surprising gift of humor and lyrics. He is about to release his own long-awaited album of originals.

Keith Taylor has his own CD of originals out, and shares his talents outside the group with his home church as well as the UAH jazz program. Eloquence defines his signature voice on keyboards, yet during more driving diversions, he becomes a heavy part of the rhythm section.

Marcus Pope runs a relentless drum school and clinic for young up-and-comings, and is the backbone of each WFP tune. His comic and lively interaction with percussionist Tibbs is the main draw for returning audiences. Pope is responsible for the “feel” of each piece.

Singer Ingrid Felts has been produced by LA’s In Sync Music for her first solo record, Manna, an indie pop album. Her pop, gospel, and rock background influence jazz vocals for a unique interpretation of jazz standards and on-the-spot lyrics within Watters/Felts’ live compositions.



3D Printing in Space Lab

NASA will be sending the first ever 3D Printer to space on the SpaceX-4 Cargo Mission to the International Space Station this Fall.  3D Printing is not only revolutionizing the earth-based supply and demand chain for how we obtain goods, but it will provide the much-needed solution for affordable and sustainable exploration of the universe. At TEDx Huntsville, NASA will have a flight-like replica of the first printer going to space, as well as several examples of the types of parts that will be printed, and a commercial printer making parts during the event. Come see 3D Printing in action!



Artimaps LLC provides cartographic, artwork, design and public safety consulting services. This includes the unique hand-drawn plausible fictitious maps that David has been creating since the age of five. These maps are created on a variety of mediums, including wood, board, canvas and even skin! Maps of real places and custom artwork, including commissions are provided. Commissioned maps are very unique and involve consultation with the client to be able to include significant aspects of their life into a map.
At TEDxHuntsville, David Nuttall will display and explain his maps and create a temporary map that will require/encourage attendee participation.


MindGear Labs

MindGear Labs, where creating is easy and learning is fun! We have something to offer everyone at MindGear. Our STEAM classes, summer camps, and after school programs expose kids to the joys of science, arts and technology. Our members are called fabologists and they are in every evening and weekend growing their skills and working on their remarkable projects. And we’re always ready to prototype your business’s next great idea!

Nickel Cigar Box Guitars

Tennessee Valley EV Drivers

Tennessee Valley EV Drivers spreads awareness of electric vehicles by conducting public outreach events, Q&A sessions, and test rides in our personal vehicles to educate the public about new and emerging consumer options in this field. Our mission is to educate and inform local drivers about all the ways that electric cars can benefit us individually and collectively – as a sound investment, as a step toward energy security and a cleaner future, and as an overall better driving experience.
Wonders of Arduinos, Electronics, and SNAPTricity

This TEDxLab will demonstrate the ease in which cool gadgets can be built using the Arduino, off the shelf electronics, and SNAPTricity. Wireless devices for monitoring physical stimuli such as light and motion will be demonstrated. Learn about SNAPTricity. Explore technologies like wearable tech watches, smartphone-Bluetooth controlled devices. Also, Don Wilcher’s book Make: Basic Arduino Projects books will be available for purchase at $20.00.