x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Journeys

This event occurred on
March 23, 2013
9:30am - 7:00pm EDT
(UTC -4hrs)
Houghton, Michigan
United States

Tickets are $15 and will go on sale March 6th. Tickets will be sold first come, first serve on March 6th! Limit three tickets per customer. Tickets can be purchased at the following locations:

Outdoor Adventure Program
Michigan Tech
207 East Street
Houghton, MI 49931-1295

Cyberia Cafe
Downtown Houghton
524 Shelden Avenue
Houghton, MI 49931

McArdle Theater
Houghton, Michigan, 49931
United States
See more ­T­E­Dx­Houghton events


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

Sara Salo

Sara Salo is the Founder of the School Food Tour – a 5,000 mile solo bicycle ride dedicated to empowering students and communities to make healthy changes in their lives and school environments. While on the road she spoke to thousands of students, conducted community outreach events and visited legislators in Washington, DC. Her observations throughout this project indicated that inspiration plays a powerful role in behavior change and she is now pursuing further investigation on this topic. Salo holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from Oregon State University and currently works as the Health Education Coordinator at the Western UP Health Department. Her duties at the Department include managing a coordinated school health federal grant, conducting Farm to School programming and providing health education to students. She also chairs Houghton & Hancock’s Bicycle & Pedestrian Committees and is spearheading the creation of the Western UP Food Hub in partnership with the UP Food Exchange.

Andre Laplume

Dr. Laplume is interested in how entrepreneurs and organizations gain competitive advantage, the process and outcomes of innovation and technological change, as well as stakeholder management and environmental sustainability. His dissertation research examined how organizations balance exploration and exploitation over time in varying environments to achieve competitive advantage through innovation. Prior to joining Michigan Tech, he worked as a business and information technology consultant for several years, helping client to plan, build, select, buy, and implement enterprise systems.

Timothy Scarlett

Timothy James Scarlett is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Sciences at Michigan Technological University. He directs the Industrial Heritage and Archaeology Graduate Degree programs at Michigan Tech where he facilitates collaboration between heritage organizations, stakeholder groups, government agencies, researchers from many academic fields, and pre-professional students. Michigan Tech's faculty created a unique course of study offering students hands-on, experiential opportunities to learn about the origins and evolution of industrial communities in the world, the social construction of complex technological systems, and the environmental and social legacies of industrial wealth production. Dr. Scarlett earned his M.S. in Archaeology from Boston University and his Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Reno. In his personal research, he uses a broad range of multidisciplinary tools to examine how artisans and laborers creatively solved problems in their work, from difficult technical problems to equally complex social challenges. Tim is an intensely collaborative researcher and has published on topics ranging from the nano-scale chemical behavior of water among the crystalline minerals in clay to the significance of religious metaphors in the technological decisions and economic interactions of people in the past.

Grant Cox

Grant Cox is a Michigan Tech Mechanical Engineering alumni who now works as a technical marketing representative for Caterpillar. During his time at Tech, Grant became very involved with the admissions process, working both as a campus tour guide and an Orientation Team Leader. He also served as a scholarship panelist for the Leading Scholars program, an award that had helped him make his own college decision as a prospective student. A saxophone player since 2001, Grant had the privilege of damaging his eardrums and vocal cords as official announcer, President, and Student Conductor of the legendary Huskies Pep Band (official title: "President-Regent to the Late EERC Tree"). As a former member of FIRST Robotics team 217, the "ThunderChickens," he has also established a significant presence in the competitive robotics world, serving as Master of Ceremonies or Game Announcer at 12 events across the country since 2008. His most memorable experiences as an announcer include two VEX Robotics world championships alongside "Mythbusters" co-hosts Grant Imahara and Kari Byron. Grant's passions include technology & gadgets, sci-fi/thriller movies, electronic music, and cooking.

Ritch Branstrom

The magical world of Ritch Branstrom’s artistic vision fashions Michigan’s raw material of cast off automobiles, wood, worn farm implements and the homely detritus of family and friends into three-dimensional works of eloquence, humor, and heart. Those who feel an affinity with the tapestry of cultures, endurance, natural resources, beauty, and socioeconomic realities that comprise The Great Lake State, will find its expression in the work of this Michigan native whose Found Object Art is a natural result of his own upbringing which spanned the diverse cultures of both of the State’s peninsula’s. Branstrom’s knowledge of, and appreciation for the provenance of many of the components adds yet another layer of meaning to his work.

Tim Gallaway

Tim Gallaway is a self described kayak addict. Paddling all year round rain, sleet, snow, gale, or sometimes even sun he tries to spread the word of human powered travel on the water. He embodies the kayaker’s cliché that small craft advisories are advising small craft to go out. A love and passion for the sometimes tumultuous water and wild places is what drives him as a human being. There is something special about these places and experiences that can only be found by traveling under human power. In May of 2012, after graduating from Lake Superior State University with a mechanical engineering degree, Tim embarked on a solo and self-supported kayak expedition that would take him from his home waters of the Great Lakes along historic water routes through Canada to the edge of the sea on the shores of the St. Lawrence Seaway following voyageur highways from the headwaters to the ocean. Along the way he met fishermen, diplomats, sailors, ski-bums, and long lost friends that he never knew he had. Many people have said it was a trip of a lifetime but he would disagree, it was his first trip of a lifetime.

Andrew Ranville

Andrew Ranville, born 1981 in Michigan, USA lives and works in London, United Kingdom since 2006, receiving his MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2008. His installations, sculptures, photographs and films explore ideas related to site-specificity as well as the viewer’s interaction with the work. An uneasy balance between formal and functional aspects of his work often elicits those interactions. He often conveys these ideas using ecologically sensitive methods which communicate notions of sustainability and resilience. Ranville recently exhibited at the 4th Marrakech Biennale in Morocco. In 2011 and 2012 his Seven Summits project involved summiting the seven mountains over 4000 meters in the Western High Atlas range twice. He extracted a stone from the absolute peak of each mountain and transported them to Marrakech to be presented as part of a large architectural installation. This temporary installation – made from locally-sourced Atlas Cedar – was created and displayed on the roof of the Théâtre Royal. The trek to the summits was repeated after the closing of the biennale in June 2012, wherein Ranville restored the stones to their exact original locations. Rabbit Island is a remote, 90-acre, forested island located in Lake Superior, Michigan. In the summer of 2011, Ranville lived and worked on the island for over a month developing the Rabbit Island Artist Residency program. As principle artist-in-residence he returned to the island for two months in the summer of 2012, creating new work for the solo exhibition No Island is a Man which ran from September-December 2012 in the DeVos Art Museum at Northern Michigan University. A catalogue and limited-edition artifact was published with the exhibition. Ranville also delivered an artist’s talk at the university. In addition to being a visiting artist at various schools and universities Ranville works part-time as an assistant professor, most recently at Canterbury Christ Church University in Canterbury, England. Ranville’s work has been exhibited internationally and installations of his work can be found or have been shown in countries including Australia, China, Finland, Morocco, Spain, UK and the USA. His work has been published in various art magazines and journals.

Robert Newkirk

Robert grew up in lower Michigan and attended Michigan Tech University before entering the non-profit sector. He has traveled to over fifty different countries during his seven years working with various humanitarian organizations and travel companies. He continues to have a passion for solving social and physical problems around the world as well as seeing as much of the globe as possible.

Raymond Weglarz

Ray graduated from MTU in 1977 with a degree in nursing and worked as a RN for 35 years. The first half of his career was in hospital settings, including Intensive and Cardiac Care, where death was not an acceptable outcome. The past 20 years have been devoted to hospice care, where death is viewed as a natural part of the cycle of life. He served dually as Patient Care Coordinator and hospice nurse for the Keweenaw Home Nursing Hospice program which he helped start in 1993. Through hospice he worked with over 1000 terminally ill individuals. The suffering of those who did not have sufficient support to die at home lead to his seminal involvement with the Omega House, which he co-founded in 1999. Ray believes that maintaining dignity and quality of life near the end of life is a realistic and achievable goal for the residents at Omega House. He is the author of the photo-essay book, “On the Way Home – Living with Terminal Illness” and feels that by sharing stories of growth, connection and compassion near end of life we can help reduce the fear and anxiety too often associated with this sacred time of life. In his role as Omega House Development Director Ray works with the board, staff, volunteers, as well as family members and residents to share the work and mission of Omega House with the community and with donors. “The future of Omega House is bright, with the continued support of our community Omega House will be there for all of us in our time of need.”

Michael Waite

Eighteen years ago in Kalamazoo, a trombone student named Michael Waite fell in love with a ballerina who lived down the street. The problem was that she had only a passing interest in him. He wrote his first song (Erica's song) in order to keep her interested. Soon the two were off on a wild ramble into the West, riding freight trains and taking odd jobs to keep themselves fed during their search for home, themselves, each other, and (ultimately) enlightenment. Since then, they've had three children and built a house in the wilderness of Northern Michigan. The house features a 900 sq. ft. dance studio and gathering space, and will soon be powered only by the water of a nearby creek. Erica and Michael have been performing as a duo for the past 12 years. Michael finished college as a voice student and continues to write and sing love songs as well as songs of struggle and loss with the purpose of shedding light on broken hearts, so they can again love openly and live happily.

Sydney Morris

Sydney A. Morris M.Div (Harvard), D.Min., has focused her scholarly work in ethics and sustainability. Co-founder and trustee of a socially responsible family of mutual funds, she has served for twenty seven years in the parish ministry. She lives in Hancock in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Todd Brassard

Todd Brassard is an electrical engineer by education and software programmer by trade. But that barely gives us a glimpse of what he does with his life. He is former business owner, partially owning and operating a successful software and IT solutions company for over 15 years. He currently is a systems engineer and operations manager at Calumet Electronics, a world-class manufacturer of printed circuit boards. He is the executive and race director for the CopperDog 150 professional sled dog race. He is the program director for PJ Olsson’s Rock Camp, an intensive two week music camp for youth. How are any of these endeavors related? Two words, full-immersion experience. For everything he is involved in, Todd’s expectations are high. Really high. He doesn’t want to be part of a “vanilla” experience. When he gets involved in something, he wants to make sure that the end product is an experience worth having for everyone. He immerses himself to make sure that the stakeholder (audience or camper or customer or instructor or musher or sponsor or vendor or volunteer) has a memorable, impactful, and emotionally moving experience. He has a loving wife, Jessica, and two beautiful daughters, Fiona and Elodie, whom he adores, deeply. And, yes, his wife wrote this bio.

Organizing team


  • Caitlin Wilkins
    Assistant Event Organizer
  • George Olszewski
    Technical Director