Ideas Worth Spreading
TEDxDetroit 2012 featured more than a dozen of the best and brightest minds sharing their passion, wisdom and innovations.
Our speaker roster balances left brain and right brain – academics, artists, inventors, entrepreneurs and innovators. Each speaker only has a short block of time to share their positive idea for the world. We find them inspiring. We hope you will too.
Pow! The Detroit Mower Gang kicks grass all over the abandoned parks of Detroit. They put horsepower to the ground and keep old playgrounds mowed so that Detroit’s kids have a place to play. Anyone is welcome. Tom Nardone is the Gang leader. Doing Something Is Way More Than Doing Nothing!
Born and raised in the city of Detroit, Andrae overcame odds to become a 3rd year doctoral student at only 28 years old. Next year, he will be Dr. Townsel. But life in the city was not all peaches and cream. It was filled with adversity, but he had hopes and dreams. Currently, Andrae is living what he dreamed 10 years ago.
Anthony has spent his life learning, creating, and designing in Michigan. He has been awarded six US patents and has seen over 600 of his designs make it to production. In 2011, Anthony held his first art show to support his latest green energy idea, Strait Power, a shark-inspired method for improving the efficiency of fluid flow. Currently he is an adjunct professor at the College for Creative Studies, and consults on a wide range of products.
Flint native W. David Tarver is an entrepreneur, engineer, corporate executive, community leader, and author of the new book Proving Ground: A Memoir. He launched a telecommunications instrumentation firm in the basement of his New Jersey home and sold it twelve years later for $30 million. He did so without angel investors, venture capital, or government contracts.
Noah is an artist and the driving force behind Leon Speakers formidable growth (Michigan’s Top 50 Companies to Watch and Inc 5000 List). A worldwide leader in the custom audio channel, Leon Speakers has pioneered trends from the custom soundbar for flat-panel TVs to the concept of Living Space Theater, and most recently, a new journey into interactive sound sculpture.
Refreshment entrepreneur Joshua Smith, 10, believes in “Doing Big Things Even Though You’re Small.” He doesn’t sit by and just let things happen. If they aren’t right, he wants to know what can be done to make things better. He set up a lemonade and popcorn stand to raise money for cash-strapped Detroit and donated more than $3600 to groom city parks.
826michigan is a nonprofit writing and tutoring center serving more than 2,500 school-aged students each year. Every program is free for students, thanks to generous and diverse support, including proceeds from Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair.
Andy Didorosi is a 25-year-old Detroit native and college dropout. Armed with delusions of grandeur and not enough sense to stop, he’s somehow started a handful of successful businesses in the Detroit area. Examples include The Thunderdrome!, Paper Street, WiFi Ferndale , and BuildingMinder.
Sean is one of three founding partners in Mindfield, a creative media development company based in downtown Detroit. He’s never had a real job, but somehow, finds himself owning a castle with his business partners.
Amy is a Detroit-based writer, content professional, and organizer of historical antics. She is a co-founder of the Detroit Drunken Historical Society, author of Hidden History of Detroit, and blogs at Nighttraintodetroit.com.
Since he was 22, Coach Khali dreamed of opening a gym, to give back to his community. After much adversity, he wanted to provide a safe haven for children like him in the neighborhood where he grew up. After saving for 10 years, Khali opened his gym in 2005, and with help from family and friends, he started Downtown Boxing Gym for Youth, a free program for Detroit-area students.
Doug is the Founder and Chief Awesome Officer of RedPawn Media. Creator, Designer, Change Maker: “Build things with your bare hands and your mind. You’ll be surprised how happy it makes you.”
David is an award winning mentor, speaker, writer, college instructor, and former Program Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters. His life’s mission is to be a voice for the voiceless, chart a path for the lost, shine a light on the invisible, and give hope to the forgotten.
The images that Daniel creates are fanciful, abstract, colorful and often spontaneous. With his “Art Action Experience”, Daniel creates a large black and white painting to the rhythm of music, then invites people to paint the images in color. His world has been featured at galleries and festivals around the country and was most recently featured at the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum for ArtPrize 2012.
Nawal Motawi graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Fine Art. In 1992, she founded Motawi Tileworks in a garage studio. Today, Nawal employs more than 30 people and sells tile through hundreds of retailers around the county.
Neil Greenberg is a transit guy. He rides, he drives, he listens, he schedules, he designs, he implements. He’s happy to discuss integrated, outside-the-box solutions for public transit – in Detroit and beyond.
As manager of Ford Global Trends and Futuring, Sheryl Connelly tracks consumer trends and collaborates with people throughout the Ford system to see how that information may impact future products. In addition to her job at Ford, Sheryl is a TEDster, a licensed attorney and a graphic artist.
Peter is an innovation consultant withFahrenheit 212, an assistant professor of graphic design at Lawrence Tech and founder of Studio Couture Detroit, - a repurposed fashion boutique that uses art and design methodologies to promote community building and urban renewal.
Paul Savage, Nextek’s CEO, is the architect of the company’s IP, financial, and partnering strategies. He is also a Founding Governing Member of the Emerge Alliance Corporation and a member of the Board of Directors of Winrock International, a non-profit entity that seeks to advance and improve the lives of people around the world.
The Nordin Brothers, Erik & Israel, have been working together designing sculpture and functional art since 2000 as The Detroit Design Center. Their art includes metalwork, blown glass, wood and other media. They specialize in modern designs for homes, restaurants, clubs, businesses, offices, lofts and other interior spaces. They have collectively won 7 Detroit Home Magazine Design Awards.