x = independently organized TED event

This event occurred on
September 14, 2010
6:00am - 6:00am EDT
(UTC -4hrs)
United States

What do significant solutions require?

Harrison Dillon, co-founder of Solazyme, nailed it when he told the story about his partner’s first reaction to the idea of making oil from micro-algae:
“That’s delusional. I love it!”

Over the course of 10 talks from 10 amazing speakers, it became clear that knowledge alone won’t carry the day. It takes visionaries with wild ideas and the resolve to carry them out — but also the leadership and passion required to bring others along. As Metro Atlanta Chamber president Sam Williams said in describing the role of urban statesmen, “A leader with vision will always be joined by other people.”

The Coca-Cola Company’s David Butler told the crowd, “Wicked problems can only be solved by design.” But “Darius Goes West” director Logan Smalley made the case that solutions come from turning stories into movements — and that even a low-budget documentary can tackle big issues.

Ryan Gravel, the visionary behind the Atlanta BeltLine, explained how the nation’s largest urban renewal project survives political cycles because it first found neighborhood support. It was a theme echoed by Anne Milling, leader of Women of the Storm, as she charmed the record crowd with stories of how her community group has brought congressional attention to restoring post-Katrina New Orleans, and now to restoring America’s Gulf Coast wetlands.

Daron “Farmer D” Joffe brought to life the example of one person’s ability to share solutions with others. And InterfaceRAISE’s Jim Hartzfeld shared how the influence of one company’s actions can change the course of industry. Mills Snowden of Team HyPower reinforced the common thread that solutions don’t follow a linear course and require flexibility and perseverance.

Tad Leithead, the first citizen chairman of the Atlanta Regional Commission, provided the takeaway idea of the day. His grandfather, Leithead explained, gave him the courage to jump horses by telling him to “throw his heart over the fence, and the horse will follow.” Leithead encouraged the crowd of 200+ to throw their hearts over the fence and then watch as the Atlanta region clears the hurdles of the next 50 years.

United States
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Logan Smalley

Creator and Director of Darius Goes West In 2005, while still a special education major, Logan produced a documentary about the 7,000-mile cross-country trip of a lifetime with Darius Weems, a teenager from Athens, Ga., afflicted with Duchenne muscluar dystrophy. Darius Goes West has won over 25 awards, raising awareness of and money to help find a cure for Duchenne MD.

Sam Williams

President, Metro Atlanta Chamber The Metro Atlanta Chamber focuses on the big issues that matter most to the business community: creating jobs and boosting the region’s quality of life by finding solutions in the areas of transportation, education and the environment. Sam was named president of MAC in 1997 after serving as president of Central Atlanta Progress. Prior to CAP, Sam was a partner for 21 years in John Portman’s architecture-development firm.

Tad Leithead

Chairman, Atlanta Regional Commission ARC is a catalyst for regional progress, focusing leadership, attention and planning resources on key issues facing the 10-county Atlanta area. It is made up of both elected officials and citizen members. Tad is the first citizen member to ever become chairman of ARC. A former executive with Cousins Properties, Tad served on the transportation and air quality committee of ARC before becoming its chairman.

Ryan Gravel

Architect, Perkins+Will Originator of Atlanta BeltLine Ryan received his bachelor’s degree in architecture and his joint master’s in architecture and city planning from Georgia Tech, where his thesis in 1999 laid out the original vision for the Atlanta BeltLine project. His subsequent work as a volunteer and later in the nonprofit and government sectors was critical to the BeltLine’s moving from thesis into reality. Ryan returned to private practice as an urban designer at Perkins+Will, working on a variety of planning and design projects, but remains very involved in the BeltLine.

Jim Hartzfeld

Managing Director, InterfaceRAISE Jim helps organizations — from Fortune 1000 companies to large government agencies — weave sustainability into everything they do. InterfaceRAISE is the consulting subsidiary of Interface, Inc., and draws on the sustainability journey and successes of the entire Interface organization around the world.

Daron Joffe

Organic/Biodynamic Farmer Daron “Farmer D” Joffe is an organic/biodynamic farmer, environmental educator and social entrepreneur. He is the founder of Farmer D Organics. Farmer D’s signature products includes Farmer D Organics Biodynamic Blend Organic Compost made from 40,000 lbs/week of green waste spoils from Whole Foods Market and is available for sale at Whole Foods Markets throughout the Southeast.

Mills Snowden

Team American HyPower Automotive X Prize Competitor Team American HyPower has taken a mainstream production car and made it a contender in the Automotive X Prize, the race to develop a 100 mpg automobile. The team is comprised of four entrepreneurs (one of which is an aerospace engineer), four electrical engineers, one PhD in chemistry and a designer.

David Butler

VP Global Design, The Coca-Cola Company David Butler leads the The Coca-Cola Company’s global vision and strategy for design and for building its reputation as a design-driven company. His work over the past several years in “redesigning Coke” earned him a spot among Fast Company’s Masters of Design in 2009.

Modern Skirts

Modern Skirts is an alternative rock band based in Athens, Ga. The band consists of four members: Jay Gulley (guitar and vocals), JoJo Glidewell (guitar, piano, and vocals), Phillip Brantley (bass, guitar, and vocals) and John Swint (drums). Formed in early 2004, the band quickly gained popularity and notoriety in the Athens music scene thanks largely to the buzz created by their high-energy live shows in the Athens area, mostly at the world-famous 40 Watt Club. August 2005 saw the independent release of their debut album, titled Catalogue of Generous Men. The album quickly became a standard in Athens, and won the band the first of several Athens Music Awards. The album has been praised in various media outlets, most notably in Paste Magazine and on National Public Radio. The vocal harmonies and subtle melancholy in songs like “Pasadena” and “Sugarpile” have helped to secure the groups success in Athens and around the Southeast. Modern Skirts’ prominent use of the piano derives from the significant influences of groups such as The Beach Boys, and their flexible use of song structure centers around catchy melodies and memorable hooks, similar to those used in Brit-Pop and by The Velvet Underground.

Harrison Dillon

President, CTO & Co-Founder, Solazyme, Inc. Harrison Dillon — and his San Francisco-based company, Solazyme — are solving a nest of complex issues that involve fuel scarcity, energy security and environmental impact. The company uses algal biotechnology to renewably produce clean fuels, chemicals, foods and health science products. Harrison’s work in the field of microbial genetics began in the Microbiology and Immunology Department at Emory University.

Anne Millings

Women of the Storm / Be The One Campaign It all began as an idea in the aftermath of Katrina: Anne Milling saw the devastation around her and decided that it was important for Congress to see her city, tour its devastation and understand its needs. Women of the Storm was born, and its action and impact are legendary — and continuing. The group has now created the Be the One campaign, focused on restoration of the Gulf coast. A genuine “steel magnolia,” Anne Milling will charm you as she reveals the power of simply making people aware of their role in a solution.

Chef David Larkworthy

Co-Owner and Head Chef, 5 Seasons Brewing David Larkworthy is changing the way Atlanta thinks about local, seasonal, sustainable food. At 5 Seasons, his casual Roswell brewery, David is serving playful dishes that use culinary techniques not normally found in such a setting: using gelatin to make buffalo froth, and cooking lamb ribs sous vide, for example. He sources meat, fish, vegetables and shellfish from a few-hundred-mile radius, working with 12 local Georgia, Carolina and Florida growers at any given time. Dishes are paired with a list of in-house beers, made with brewer Crawford Moran; the leftover malt from the brewing process (nearly 6 tons per week) is delivered to local farms twice a week, where it’s used as fertilizer.

Organizing team


Atlanta, GA, United States
  • Jenn Graham
    Speaker Liasion
  • Jenn Flemish
  • Sherry Duffy
  • Dave Whitling
    Communications Design
  • Steve Hsu
    Website Design
  • Chris Wojda
    Planning Committee Member
  • David Cannon
    Planning Committee Member
  • Dawn Gahan
    Planning Committee Member
  • Barbara Griffin
    Steering Committee Member
  • Patty Tucker
    Steering Committee Member
  • Govantez Lowndes
    Steering Committee Member/Planning Committee Member
  • Leo Alvarez
    Steering Committee Member
  • Bill Nussey
    Steering Committee Member
  • Tanya Coventry-Strader
    Steering Committee Member
  • Janice Rys
    Steering Committee Member
  • Charles Green
    Steering Committee Member
  • Molly Hargather