CWC hosts evening of innovation speakers at Arts Center

Sep 19, 2013 By Eric Blom Staff Writer

TED, a non-profit organization, began by bringing together the worlds of technology, entertainment and design.

Through conferences and media it expanded to promote good ideas in diverse fields, such as music, education, science and history.

"They had idea leaders from all over the world give a talk under 18 minutes," director of workforce training for CWC Lori Ridgway said.

Now, with the help of Ridgway and others at CWC, the idea of spreading ideas has reached Riverton.

On Oct. 2, Central Wyoming College hosts a TEDx event featuring six speakers giving presentations on the theme "Innovation: Bringing Ideas to Life."

The event runs from 5:30 p.m. to about 9 p.m. At the Robert A. Peck Arts Center Theatre at CWC.

Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased at the door or online at

The "x" in TEDx means the event was organized independently of the TED organization, but it still must adhere to TED's guidelines.

Ridgway helped organize the event and said the presentations will follow the TED format.

"Originally, it was being able to tell somebody...your big idea through a story and conversational presentation," she said. "The speakers need to be really comfortable and relaxed in their delivery."

Ridgway hopes to attract a diverse audience of business people, students and others from Fremont County.

TED started as a conference 26 years ago but now puts on three large events every year. The organization's website lists about 1,500 TEDx events being planned and 7,600 that have already occurred.

TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Roger Ebert and United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The CWC slate features Phil Hessler, a film producer; John Kanengeiter, National Outdoor Leadership School trainer to NASA; Ashlee Lundvall, a hunter and Ms. Wheelchair USA from Cody; Maxwell Wessel, a researcher at Harvard Business School; Anne Even, a tough Mudder competitor, and Jason Kintzler, CEO of Pitch Engine.

The evening also features two videos of past TED talks.

CWC had to secure a free license from TED to put on the event. To receive that permission, CWC must film the TEDx presentations and post them to the event's website. The presenters also cannot be paid.

Other stipulations are designed to create an informal, approachable atmosphere. Speakers have to sit in the audience during the event and be available to speak with attendees during breaks and after the show.

Ridgway has used recorded TED talks in her classes for years. Then, she attended the official TED conference last spring with Lynne McAuliffe, dean of workforce and community education at CWC. The experience inspired them to organize a local event.

They worked to plan the event and find speakers.

"We were fortunate that Maxwell Wessel would be in the area," she said. "So we contacted him and we contacted some other people who we thought could bring an idea."

Planners still have some planning to do, though, to pick the two video presentations to show.

With about 1,600 TED talks on the organization's website, they will have many options.

The organizers wanted to pick presentations that bring a different perspective to the topic than the live speakers will give, Ridgway said. So they have held off on making their final selection while the presenters' talks take shape.

Video of each of the presentations will be posted to afterward.

There will be an intermission in the middle of the event, and food will be available for purchase.

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