TEDxBuffalo: No Permission Necessary

courtesy of TEDxBuffalo

TEDxBuffalo will be held on October 11, the first event of its kind for Western New York. For those of you unfamiliar with its parent organization, TED is a wildly popular non-profit dedicated to "ideas worth spreading." It does this on a global level through international conferences, but also on a local level, through its licensed TEDx events.

You may recall that we first told you about this event back in December. After missteps at the hands of a former organizer, a team of local volunteers have worked hard to resurrect Buffalo's shot at hosting a successful TEDx event. Last spring, the reinvigorated team dedicated themselves to insuring that Buffalo got the TEDx event it deserved, and No Permissions Necessary is just the beginning.

The day-long conference will host a variety of speakers from a variety of backgrounds, each of whom have worked outside of traditional parameters in order to achieve their goals. According to TEDx's very distinct guidelines, speakers will only be permitted to present for 18 minutes and only 100 lucky people will earn a seat to this free event. If you weren't among those who applied to receive a golden ticket, don't fret. Satellite locations will beam the messages of this hand-selected group of innovators to locations throughout the area.

Stay tuned to the TEDxBuffalo website for details and updates. In the meantime, here's a list of those scheduled to speak:



Karen Armstrong
Future City Competition
Armstrong is the regional coordinator for the Future City Competition, a national competition sponsored as part of National Engineers Week, where 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade students plan and build their concept of the city of the future with engineer mentors. Western New York students have taken home awards for their models--created in both the Sim City 4 Deluxe game package, and in three-dimensional models--and the project provides an outlet for great thinking in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Students from last year’s Buffalo Future City team will join Armstrong on stage to detail their work. Armstrong is the owner of CAD Dimensions, a design and management consultancy.
Web site: www.futurecity.org
Chuck Banas
Buffalo SmartCode Committee
Banas heads up the Buffalo SmartCode Committee at the New Millennium Group, an ambitious project aiming to upgrade the City of Buffalo’s 50-plus-year-old zoning code to a state-of-the-art municipal zoning framework that would streamline government operations and encourage new development, while preserving Buffalo’s local neighborhood character. SmartCode overlays have been adopted by Miami, FL, Petaluma, CA, Montgomery, AL, and other cities, both as mandatory and parallel zoning codes. By day, Banas works as a web developer.
Web site: joeplanner.blogspot.com and www.nmgonline.org
John Bordynuik
Using a patent-pending process developed in-house, Plastic2Oil turns unwashed, otherwise difficult to recycle waste plastic into separated, refined fuels. Founded by the Thorold, Ontario based JBI, with manufacturing in Niagara Falls, NY, Plastic2Oil’s process and business have been featured on Canada’s Business News Network and in numerous local media outlets. Founder John Bordynuik comes from an extensive background of hardware and software innovation, including groundbreaking work in data recovery.
Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold and Dr. Peggy Brooks-Bertran, Ph.Ds
Uncrowned Queens / Uncrowned Community Builders
Uncrowned Queens / Uncrowned Community Builders is a project which aims to preserve the histories and stories of African American women and men across the country. The Uncrowned team has built an award-winning, encyclopedia-style website, four books, three national conferences, and many other projects to preserve and spread the untold stories of African American influences.
Web site: www.uncrownedcommunitybuilders.com
Remy DeCausemaker
Digital Storyteller and open data advocate at RIT
Remy serves as Campaign Architect of FOSS@RIT – center of gravity for all things Free/
Opensource at Rochester Institute of Technology. Inside and outside of the classroom, he helps mentor and guide the students and faculty of RIT’s Humanitarian Free/Opensource
Software Development course. He also serves the board of CIVX.us, whose mission is to improve access, openness, and transparency of public information. With help from Sugarlabs, TeachingOpensource, The Software Freedom Law Center, The Fedora Project, and many others, Remy brings The Open Source Way to campuses, conferences, and campaigns everywhere he can.
Web site: www.civx.us
Patrick Finan
Block Club
Block Club formed in early 2007 with Block Club Magazine, a hyperlocal quarterly publication that highlights the many people, organizations, and businesses that make Western New York such a dynamic community. In the last four years, Patrick Finan and his team have expanded Block Club into a boutique design and creative studio that’s pushed out some of the region’s most visible and stylish products and campaigns. They did this with bootstrapped funds, hard work, and an eye for what locally owned businesses need. Now they’re taking their design and publishing business model and expanding into other pro-local communities, from Boston to
Web site: www.blockclubonline.com
Drew Kahn
Buffalo State College
Kahn, a professor and executive producer in the theater department at Buffalo State College, staged a version of The Diary of Anne Frank in 2006 that wove the horrors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide into the tale. Kahn later visited Rwanda itself in early 2011, and returned more motivated than ever to show how theater, storytelling, and the arts can intervene in and heal the effects of atrocities, and bring us closer to our shared humanity. Kahn is the founder of The Anne Frank Project, organizer of several conferences, and a speaker at thefirst “TEDxSemesterAtSea” event, sponsored in part by the University of Virginia
Web site: www.theannefrankproject.com
Ethan Kent
Project for Public Spaces
Founded under the ideals of William H. Whyte, the Project observes, interviews, and asks questions of a community to create markets, multi-use facilities, transportation changes, waterfronts, and other spaces that make neighborhoods inviting and livable. The goal is “placemaking,” and Ethan Kent, in 12 years with PPS, has learned from and photographed
 public spaces in more than 700 cities and 50 countries.
Web site: www.pps.org
Brandon Kessler
Backed by the U.S. General Services Administration, Challenge.gov sets up and administers public challenges to encourage innovation for the public good. Founder/CEO Brandon Kessler oversees such initiatives as NYC Big Apps, asking developers, designers, and other mobile app thinkers to come up with programs “to make New York City better,” and “Apps for Healthy Kids,” with cooperation from the USDA and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Web site: www.challenge.gov 
Patrick Lango
White Cow Dairy
Patrick Lango, who was raised on a dairy farm in rural Western New York, returned from a life in NYC to selling milk a decade ago. He soon realized that the business of being a dairyman had changed and that the market for commodity milk was very different. On his East Otto, NY farm he discovered that transforming milk into delicious food was one way in which to save the family farm. By making handcrafted dairy foods that respect sources and craftsmanship, Lango has found a fervent following among foodies, glossy food publications, the New York Times, and local grocery buyers.
Web site: www.whitecowdairy.com 
Eric Walker
PUSH Buffalo
Eric Walker is a co-founder of People United for Sustainable Housing in Buffalo (PUSH Buffalo), a force for affordable, sustainable, quality housing in Buffalo, with a greater mission of creating strong neighborhoods with hiring opportunities and community resources. Walker’s Green Development Zone project and plans have won an international sustainable housing competition and spurred interest in PUSH’s ideas for comprehensive community development.
Web site: www.pushbuffalo.org
Stacey Watson
Drop-In Nation
In New York, more than 38,000 youth leave the public school system each year; in Buffalo, the dropout rate is near 50 percent. But in 2010, the South Buffalo Education Center graduated 683 students from the most successful GED program in the state. That curriculum, created with Susan Mendel-Hausman, became the core of Drop-In Nation, which focuses on the personal and academic goals of out-of-school youth, hitting a graduation rate that exceeds the state average by 87 percent, and aims to make students hungry for success.
Web site: www.dropinnation.com


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