x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Big Sky, Big Minds

This event occurred on
March 23, 2012
12:00am - 12:00am MDT
(UTC -6hrs)
Bozeman, Montana
United States

TEDxBozeman was developed on the foundation that Montana can stand side by side with any other region in the world. What was once the new frontier for land has become the new frontier for insight. Bozeman, Montana is known for being one of the most desirable places to live and work in the United States and is the headquarters for several international corporations and non-profits. Bozeman is also home to a university with more accolades than one can count, including sending a satellite to space that outlasted the satellite it was honoring. TEDxBozeman has some of the brightest minds in Montana speaking on a diverse collection of topics related to Montana and ideas worth sharing. Montana is the land where people truly live, this is where the 'Big Sky' and 'Big Minds' intersect - and this is how we arrived at TEDxBozeman's 2011 theme: "Big Sky, Big Minds."

The Emerson Cultural Center
111 South Grand Avenue
Bozeman, Montana, 59715
United States
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Angella Ahn

Angella Ahn enjoys her success as the violinist for the Ahn Trio. Her trio, comprised of Angella and her two twin sisters, was born while all three studied at the Juilliard School of Music, and now tours the world, playing in such venues as New York’s Lincoln Center, Vienna’s Musikverein, Leipzig’’s Gewandhaus, Argentina’s Teatro Colon, and The Beijing Concert Hall. In 2011, President Obama invited the Ahn Trio to perform at the White House for a State Dinner honoring South Korea. Angella and her trio have taken it as their mission to expand the piano trio repertoire, and have commissioned over 30 new works by composers including Pat Metheny, Mark O’Connor, Paul Schoenfield, Michael Nyman, Nikolai Kapustin, Kenji Bunch and many other visionaries. For their efforts, New York Newsday dubbed the Ahn Trio, “Classical Revolutionaries”. A dedicated teacher, Ms. Ahn has been involved in numerous residencies, workshops and master classes across the country for students of all ages. She often teaches at the Mark O’Connor Strings Conference, most recently hosted by Berklee College of Music, and is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Violin at Montana State University, in Bozeman, MT. She continues to share the much sought-after technique of her mentor, the late world-renowned pedagogue, Dorothy DeLay.

Paul Andersen

Paul Andersen has been teaching high school science in Montana for the last seventeen years. He has been teaching science on YouTube for the last three years. Paul began his career teaching all the science classes at a small rural school in northern Montana. Paul is currently an AP Biology teacher and technology mentor at Bozeman High School. Paul uses technology and game mechanics to increase engagement in his classroom. Paul is the 2011 Montana Teacher of the Year and was one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year.

Andrew Babcock

Andrew Babcock was born in Janesville, Wisconsin, received a B.S. in Business Management from St. Norbert College. Two years after graduating college Andrew moved to Bozeman, Montana in 2002 to combine his passion for skiing and fly fishing. Soon after a multi-year quest into the ski industry, Andrew returned to his passion to help others, by accepting the position of Executive Director at ROC Wheels Inc. ROC Wheels Inc. is a multi-faceted Bozeman based charity combining local school youth programs teaching disability awareness with an international outreach mission to supply pediatric wheelchairs to children in less resourced countries. Andrew has traveled internationally extensively during his time with ROC Wheels, striving to empower others to provide for their own needs by establishing wheelchair factories in Morocco, Vietnam, and Iraq. Thousands of other wheelchairs have been custom fit to children during wheelchair distributions in such places as Mali, Kenya, Peru, Vietnam, and Israel.

Kevin Challender

Kevin Challender is a freshman studying psychology at Montana State University. He and his twin Ryan were adopted and grew up in Bozeman where he participated in many social political activism events such as the Anti Hate rally, and equal rights rallies. He has also volunteered for many events such as AIDs awareness and the Pride Festival. In 2011, while a senior at Bozeman High School, Kevin created an “It Gets Better” video that describes his experience of coming out as a gay teen and encourages young people to have hope and not resort to suicide. Kevin hopes to obtain a PhD and continue to creatively address LGBT concerns.

Deidre Combs

Deidre Combs is the author of three books on cross-cultural approaches to resolving conflict and overcoming challenges — The Way of Conflict; Worst Enemy, Best Teacher and Thriving Through Tough Times — that integrate common wisdom from the world’s lasting cultural traditions with systems theory and brain research. She provides leadership and conflict strategies as a management consultant, coach, mediator and professor. Combs has worked with a variety of corporate, government and NGO clients including Aveda Corporation, the US Forest Service, US Postal Service, IBM and Landmine Survivors Network. Dr. Combs is a core instructor in Montana State University’s Leadership Fellows Certificate Program. Since 2007, she has taught intensive leadership training to State Department-selected student and professional leaders from throughout the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Eurasia, Latin America and Pakistan’s FATA region. Combs was previously employed nine years by IBM as a software development project manager and vendor liaison specializing in healthcare solutions. Combs also served as marketing director for the electronic medical record provider SolCom Incorporated from 1998 through 2002 leading its corporate re-branding effort. She holds a BA in Mathematics and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin — Madison, a master’s degree in Information Systems Technology from George Washington University, and a doctorate focused on world religions from UCS/Naropa University. Married to an Ennis native, Combs and her husband returned to Montana in 1992.

Kevin Connolly

Kevin Connolly was born in Helena, Montana in August of 1985. Born without legs, Kevin was otherwise a healthy baby and grew up like any other Montana kid; getting dirty, running in the woods, and getting dirty some more. Now, Kevin wants to take you into his world… Kevin began skateboarding and taking photographs for the first time in 2005. His first taste of living abroad came in 2006 when he left to study in New Zealand for one year. It was on the return home – skating down a backstreet in Vienna – that Kevin took his first prototype photo for what was to become “The Rolling Exhibition.” The Rolling Exhibition, took Kevin to twenty-seven different countries, and spanned over 33,000 images, as he documented the stares and reactions from others around the world. By twenty-three, Kevin had his first photographic exhibitions at both the Kennedy Center, and Smithsonian Institute. By twenty-four, he published his first book, a memoir entitled Double Take, which has sold over 20,000 copies in the United States and been featured in university curriculums around the country. Kevin’s unique, and often humorous, story has been featured on BBC, NPR, ESPN, Outside Magazine, and a number of other international outlets. Double Take is also being developed into a feature film by Groundswell Productions. Katie Jacobs – an executive producer for House M.D, is slated to direct with academy award nominee John Sayles to adapt the book.”

Florence Dunkel

Dr. Dunkel is an Associate Professor of Entomology in the Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, Montana State University – Bozeman (MSU – Bozeman) with a Ph. D., M.S. and B.S. from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her research focuses on plant-based natural products for insect management, particularly related to post-harvest ecosystems worldwide. Florence’s current research products include use of natural products in the holistic management of grasshoppers in Montana and of malaria in West African (Malian) villages. Food insects and an insect feast have been part of her curriculum in Entomology for 23 years after a tasty introduction to sauteed brown locusts while working in Rwanda. Combining her science with her gourmet cuisine skills, she has prepared insect feasts throughout the U.S. In 1995, her former UW professor, Dr. Gene DeFoliart, invited her to take the editorship of The Food Insect Newsletter. She is the current of the newsletter which an open access web-based publication. Dunkel has appeared in a variety of media including: The Discovery Channel, Hard Copy, The New Yorker, BBC and Australian radio. Dunkel has served on several journal editorial boards, including The American Entomologist and other administrative posts, such as head of the MSU Entomology Research Laboratory (1988 – 1992). She received national, regional and university awards for her research, teaching and service. These include: MSU Teaching and Learning Committee Award (2011), MSU President’s Awared for Excellence in Service learning (2009), Andersons’ Multistate NC-213 Reach Award for Outstanding Research Accomplishments in Management of Grain Quality and Security in World Markets (2004), Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) Teaching Excellence Award and nominee of brand for National ESA Teach Award in Entomology (1994, 1996), Charlers Lindbergh Grant Award in Anthropology for combining “Traditional Wisdom and Modern Technology” (1992), Lawrence University (Appleton, Wisconsin), Distinguished Achievement Award (1989), US National Academy of Sciences Visisting Scholar Award to People’s Republica of Chin (1981).

Benjamin Ferencz

A Creative Director/Art Director originally from New York. His work can be seen incorporated into the graphic communications of such brands as MoMA, Yves Saint Laurent, Phaidon, Gucci, MTV, Reebok, Pepsi, Adventure Cycling, Montana Art Museum, The University of Montana and the Guggenheim Museum. With his wife Julie and daughter Evelyn, Ben resides in St. Ignatius, Montana, where he continues to design and farm. He is the founder and creative director of The Design Cooperative and the now defunct brand Freeman Transport.

Jeff Heys

Jeffrey J. Heys is an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Montana State University. He received his B.S. in chemical engineering in 1996 from Montana State University, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1998 and 2001,respectively. His research area is computational transport and computational fluid dynamics in biological systems with an emphasis on fluid-structure interaction and multiphase flows

Jack Horner

John R. “Jack” Horner was born and raised in Shelby, Montana, and attended the University of Montana resulting in an Honorary Doctorate of Science in 1986. In 1986, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, otherwise known as the “Genius Grant.” Jack’s began his professional career at Princeton University where he worked as a Research Scientist. Jack and his team discovered the first evidence of parental care in dinosaurs, extensive nesting grounds, evidence of dinosaur herds, and the world’s first dinosaur embryos. Jack has named a dozen new species of dinosaurs including Maiasaura, the “good mother reptile.” Two dinosaur species have been named after him as well. Jack has published more than 180 professional papers, eight popular books, and numerous popular articles. He directs the largest dinosaur field research program in the world, and heads up the nations only cellular and molecular paleontology laboratory dedicated to the study of dinosaur bone. He was the technical advisor for Steven Spielberg on all of the Jurassic Park movies, and has worked with The Discovery Channel, National Geographic and Nova on countless dinosaur specials. He was recently featured on 60 Minutes, and was the cover story in Wired Magazine. Jack has lectured all over the world, as well as giving TED and TEDx talks. Jack is Curator of Paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies, and Regent’s Professor of Paleontology at Montana State University in Bozeman. He is also a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Paleobiology at the Smithsonian Institution, and an Honorary Research Fellow with the Natural History Museum in London.

Jared Joyce

Montana State University Architecture Graduate turned inventor Jared Joyce is one of the most dynamic inventors in action today with multiple inventions licensed, patents-pending, and patents issued. Jared is reinventing the way products are brought to market with the rigorous schedule at which he invents and continually attracts a larger fan base to support his efforts.

Barbara Kuhr

Barbara Kuhr, and her partner John Plunkett use design to solve problems. They formed Plunkett+Kuhr in New York in 1990 and have been based in Park City, Utah for the last 15 years. Prior to forming P+K, Barbara and John lived in Paris, where they they met future Wired partner Louis Rossetto while working as the ‘concepteurs principals’ for the Musee du Louvre’s visitor information system, for and with Ken Carbone of CSA, and the architect I.M.Pei. In 1993 Plunkett + Kuhr helped co-found Wired Magazine, and were the Creative Directors for Wired Ventures until the sale of the magazine in 1999 and Wired Digital in 2000. Ongoing projects include yearly exhibit designs for Carnegie Hall in New York and urban design, master-planning, architecture and interior design projects in Park City. Barbara was born in Great Falls, Montana and can’t remember when she graduated from Montana State University.

Yarrow Kraner

Yarrow is principal in CHISEL industries, a creative firm, idea incubator and production company with a successful history in branding, guiding and growing organizations with a focus on globally-conscious brands. After graduating of Montana State University Film School, Yarrow moved to Los Angeles to direct commercials and music videos. Yarrow’s creative ideas and work have been recognized internationally, and he has directed projects for Atlantic Records, Warner Brothers, Levi’s, DIRECTV, KEEN Footwear, Columbia Records, CBS News, Kirin Beer, Moonlight Basin’s Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, Providence Health & Services, Universal Athletic, 1st Interstate Bank, several Universities and non-profits, and more. In 1999 Yarrow founded what WIRED Magazine referred to as “one of the pioneer social networking communities,” Through strategic alliances, and innovative grass-roots marketing, they grew the company virally to over 1.5 million subscribers worldwide, becoming one of the hottest destination sites for youth 12-24 at that time. The foundation, worked with national charities, children’s hospitals, and teamed up with Shaquille O’Neal for an inner-city stay-in-school program to empower youth to help achieve their potential. In 2004 Fox Studios bundled and purchased My Space, Superdudes, and for $650 Million. He also founded HATCH, a non-profit that inspires innovation through mentorship. HATCH is a global thought-leader network that propels careers in film, music, design, photography, technology, and numerous experience-driven arts. has been visited by over 150 countries, and some of the HATCH panels have been downloaded over 1 million times. Yarrow also sits on the board of, a global initiative with United Nations Delegates to level the playing field for global economies from major Fortune 500 companies to small microloans for entrepreneurs.

Anders Lewendal

Anders Lewendal moved to Bozeman in 1991 and owns Anders Lewendal Construction, Inc. Anders became involved in sustainability in the early 1980′s working for a large commercial recycling company and then composting for the City of San Francisco after receiving a degree in economics at UCSB. Anders earned a general B professional builder’s certification from the California State License Board in 1988 and retains that certification. Currently, Anders is active chairing the Green Building Committee for SWMBIA, is a board member of SWMBIA and its 2010 Chairman. Anders continues to study and produce safe, efficient, and affordable homes in Bozeman. Anders is also an NAHB Certified Green Professional and lives on the North side of town in the only 100 year old Energy Star certified home in America. His latest project is building the first documented home in American built entirely with products predominately produced in the USA. You can follow his progress at The All-American Home.

Matt McCune

Matt McCune was born and raised in Washington Pennsylvania. He moved to Bozeman Montana after graduating high school. Matt entered into the College of Engineering and graduated from Montana state university with a degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology in 2002. After graduation, Matt started his career working with Tom Jungst at Jungst Scientific until Tom sold Jungst Scientific to Blackhawk industries. Matt continued to work with Blackhawk until early 2006 when he started Autopilot. Matt’s story is a classic example of the evolution of a company. Starting in his garage then moving into the community and beyond, Matt hopes to grow Autopilot into an irreplaceable asset to the community of Bozeman.

Jakki Mohr

Jakki Mohr, Ph.D., is the Regents Professor of Marketing and the Jeff & Martha Hamilton Distinguished Faculty Fellow at the University of Montana-Missoula. She is an international expert on the marketing of technology and innovation, and the co-author of a book on that topic. Motivated by the desire to bring the promise of new technologies to solve social and global problems, she has worked with companies and universities worldwide in strategic market planning to commercialize innovation. Her most recent interest is the field of biomimicry. Funded by the Marketing Science Institute out of Boston, she is studying how companies can successfully use nature-inspired designs to solve technical and engineering challenges.

Betsy Quammen

Betsy founded The Tributary Fund after visiting the Eg-Uur watershed and Dayan Derkh Monastery ruins in 2002 and falling in love with the rivers, landscapes and people of Mongolia. Betsy has a Master’s of Science from University of Montana in Environmental Studies and is a PhD candidate at Montana State University in Religion and Environmental History. She lived in Kenya and worked for Swara (the magazine of the East African Wildlife Society) and has served on the national board of directors for the Sierra Club and for American Wildlands. Over the years, she’s worked with the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Montana State University’s Center for Native American Studies and Wallace Stegner Chair, and many other conservation groups. The Tributary Fund works with scientists and religious leaders in Mongolia, Bhutan, and Montana and serves as a global resource center for scientists and faith leaders. Betsy lives in Bozeman, MT, with her husband, writer David Quammen.

David Sands

David Sands has big ideas about small things. For example, do bacteria in the clouds cause rain? One idea is that the bacterium Pseudomonas syringae (The Bug) grows on plant surfaces and can be swept into the atmosphere in microscopic dandruff-like magic carpets where special bacterial proteins nucleate free water in the clouds – forming ice crystals. The ice crystals then bounce around, multiply and can eventually fall to earth as snow or rain. The idea that plants and their bacteria might have a role in clouds and rainfall formation was presented some 25 years ago from observations in and above Montana wheat fields. It is only recently that the bioprecipitation cycle hypothesis has had some validity from data generated at the tops of our four ski resorts in the Big Sky and Bozeman areas (and it has garnered interest from the New York Times, Nature and National Geographic). Sands is working with scientists on several continents interested in this hypothesis because by choosing the right crops to sustain the bacteria, they might be able to cause additional rain in drought stricken areas of the world. Sands, a plant pathologist, has worked for over forty years specifically on research projects involving these weird, enigmatic bacteria as they relate to crop diseases, as biocontrol agents of noxious weeds, and their aerial acrobatics in the clouds. He is at Montana State University where his research group has reported numerous findings on The Bug (the bioprecipitation hypothesis) and its humanitarian applications. Sands’ group has also developed new/ancient gluten-free food crops such as Timtana, Proatina, Montina, and Camelina, each developed to aid people who cannot eat wheat. He also has a project developing a fungus to kill witchweed, the devastating parasitic weed that prevents food production in many African countries. At any given moment, Sands can be found thinking about bacteria, writing poetry, collecting art or playing tennis – sometimes simultaneously.

Pete Strom

Serial entrepreneur and self described Jack-of-all-trades/Master-of-none. Pete grew up in Hastings, MN, where he was a state champion ski racer and worked in a steal factory to help pay for college. He studied Political Science and Religion at Gustavus Adolphus College. As a singer/songwriter he played the MN college and bar scene. He worked as a youth director for five years in the Twin Cities before moving to Bozeman to get a masters degree in marriage and family therapy. He is a licensed clinical professional counselor and maintains a part-time practice. He co-founded Word of Mouth Concepts, which developed; The Garage, The Soup Shack, The Naked Noodle, La Parrilla, La Pa Grill, The Slack Knuckle pub, Food-Ex delivery, Moo Casa Ice Cream, and On The Rise Bakery. He currently owns and operates La Parrilla, The Garage-Soup Shack & Mesquite grill, and Franchises La Pa Grill -Fusion Burritos. He is also the CFO and founding partner at PowerHouse ICS, an energy efficiency start-up. Most recently, Pete helped launch the trans-partisan Gallatin Business Initiative. His passions are his family, Integral spirituality and practice, playing hockey, and the application of sustainable business practices.

Evan Tennant

Evan serves as the principle and president of Bozeman based clothing label – Phar North, LLC. Phar North produces 100% american made and sourced clothing. Their mission is to promote the protection of the environment by thinking outside the box. Phar North has increased nationwide sales exponentially in the last three years by catering to a specific alpine sports niche. Their current line of soft goods ranges from 100% recycled sweatshirts milled from American waste to a line of bamboo neck and face wear. Phar North aims to keep young skiers, riders and mountain bikers conscious and stylish. The majority of Evan’s life has been spent enjoying the recreational benefits of fresh water. From rafting hundreds of miles of the Colorado River as a boy to skiing anywhere he could lay tracks as a teenager, alpine environments have always been a pillar of Evan’s life. After moving to Bozeman from Boulder, CO to attend Montana State University Evan landed a journalism internship with the Montana Water Center. He quickly began using his skills and passion to also get work published across the ski and snowboard world. In 2008, Evan sat down with two friends to discuss a new blog he wanted to launch. The plan was to develop a blog aimed at combining their love for alpine sports with their dedication to promoting the protection of the environment. Hours later the conversation ended with three partners and a decision to launch a new apparel label, Phar North. Rather than focusing on only producing clothing from green and sustainable materials, Phar North also committed themselves to using only American made materials and labor. Evan’s belief is that by taking ocean transit out of the equation the benefit to the climate is ten fold. Phar North’s mission is to focus on “taking it back” using America’s long-forgotten textiles mills.

Doc Wiley

Doc is a Grammy award winning audio engineer, studio designer, and studio manager. He has worked with such artists as Howard Shore, “Lord Of The Rings, Twin Towers” New Line Cinema, Miami Ink, Discovery Channel, and nominated for a Latin Grammy as mix engineer “Willie Chirino” PBS Special. Wiley has also worked with artists U2, Prince, Christina Aguilera, Whitney Houston, and countless others. Doc has enjoyed a long successful career in music as a producer and recording engineer and was one of the first studio owners in the world to use Pro Tools to track major label releases. His passion is to provide an innovative approach to modern music production by merging cutting edge techniques with the legacy of 20th-century recording procedures and technology conforming to the artistʼs vision. Doc is a Partner in Peach Street Studios and teaches various courses in conjunction with Montana State University.

Melissa Wills

Melissa Wills is a senior at Bozeman High School, where she is president of Project X^2. Project X^2 is a club that works to empower girls and boys alike to have more self-respect and self-worth. The club has transformed from focusing on women’s issues to an altruistic club that engages not only with the school, but with the entire community. Wills is also active in the Rotary Interact Club and National Honor Society at the high school. She plans on pursuing Women and Gender Studies in college to support heightened equality for women around the world. Wills’ other passions include ski racing, backpacking, soccer, family, and the outdoors.

Organizing team

  • Ken Fichtler
  • Brooke Draves
    Logistics Coordinator
  • Christina Choate
    Film Coordinator
  • Rick Fink
    Volunteer Coordinator
  • Maddie Cebuhar
    Speaker Coordinator
  • Shannon Benser
    Sponsor Outreach
  • Deidre Combs
  • Claire Sands-Baker
    Jane of all Trades
  • Steve Spence
    Technical Director
  • Jakub Galczynski
    Architectural Designer
  • Kietra Nelson
    Visual Designer