2017 Speakers

Emcee: Lindsey Smith

Lindsey Smith is Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter. Lindsey has worked as a reporter at radio stations in both West and Southeast Michigan, and her work has been recognized by both the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and Michigan AP. She’s a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and Specs Howard School of Media Arts.

Dirk Hughes

Dirk Hughes is an educator, writer, abstract artist, and avid proponent of living an engaged and fulfilling life.  A life-long resident of Michigan, he was raised to appreciate the changing seasons of the world around him, both literally and figuratively, and has devoted his attention ever since to exploring that world and understanding our place within it.  With degrees in English and Law, he approaches this exploration passionately and logically, perpetually guided by the motto “be interested in everything”.

Five years ago, he took the first awkward steps on the journey of beekeeping, a subject he had been interested in for years. Originally drawn to it by the prospect of providing his family with a self-sustaining, natural sweetener, he soon found that small-scale, household beekeeping held benefits far beyond the jars of honey he hoped to harvest.  He realized that if others could understand these benefits and the relative ease of manifesting them, more people in the future would take up this fascinating hobby that is both good for the planet and good for their souls. Dirk Hughes lives with his wife in Holland, MI and is the Director of the Michigan Masonic Museum and Library in Grand Rapids, MI.

Talk: More than Honey

Beekeeping is not just about the honey.  It’s also a great way for anyone, regardless of where you live, to enjoy a fulfilling activity that expresses a responsible custodianship of our planet for a brighter future.

Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson is a seasoned expert of the Li ion battery industry, and a champion of Li ion technology education within the industry and the community. Johnson spent 16 years working on advanced materials and energy storage technology with Johnson Controls. In 2009, he was asked to lead development of the world’s first large-format, high-volume Li ion production facility in Holland, MI. In 2014, he left Johnson Controls to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors to solve some of the industry’s most pressing challenges. Johnson holds two bachelors in mechanical engineering and science & technology.

Talk: What’s Next for AES

A look at what is next for Advanced Energy Systems innovation and development in West Michigan. Exploring our history of technology understanding to today in order to grasp a new perspective of the opportunities that could lie ahead for our community.

Jason Sosa

Sosa is a Partner at Chameleon Collective and formerly CEO/Founder of IMRSV (acquired), a computer vision and artificial intelligence company and was named one of “10 Startups to Watch in NYC” by Time Inc., and one of “25 Hot and New Startups to Watch in NYC” by Business Insider. He has been featured by Forbes, CNN, New York Times, Fast Company, Bloomberg and Business Insider, among others.

Co-Presenting with Dean Whittaker: The Story of the Future of Work

The story of the future of work will be told as a time traveler in three parts: past, present, and future. We will discuss the changing nature of work and how the decisions we make today will shape the future that we will all experience. Our intention is for you to be future smart.

Dean Whittaker

Dean F. Whittaker is President/CEO of Whittaker Associates Inc., a data analytics company providing target marketing research and trend analysis to economic development, real estate, and corporate clients. They specialize in identifying business opportunities by predicting corporate behavior through the use of their propriety predictive analytic algorithm.

With 30 years of experience in economic development at the city, county, and state levels, Mr. Whittaker brings insight and perspective to regional economic development issues. He also provides an understanding of the trends impacting our possible, probable, and preferred futures.

Co-Presenting with Jason Sosa: The Story of the Future of Work

The story of the future of work will be told as a time traveler in three parts: past, present, and future. We will discuss the changing nature of work and how the decisions we make today will shape the future that we will all experience. Our intention is for you to be future smart.

Jon LoDuca

Jon is a growth strategist, industry speaker, and president of two complementary companies: The Wisdom Link, an intellectual capital development firm and PlaybookBuilder, a knowledge management software and services company. Both serve as lab and testing grounds for observations and insights about the growth mindsets, behaviors and wisdom of his clients – who happen to be some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the US, UK and CANADA.  

With over 18,000 hours of interviews with 400 of the top 1% income-earning entrepreneurs in the most competitive industries, Jon has discovered striking consistencies in the pathways of thinking, operating behaviors, and business growth strategies of this distinct and successful group of business leaders.

Talk: In a world of AI; EQ is our competitive advantage

Our ability to connect, communicate and inspire trust (what we call Emotional Intelligence) has been a prized adaptive advantage since our beginnings – but is it valuable in an increasingly AI-driven future? In this inspiring talk, business growth strategist Jon LoDuca breaks down how the top entrepreneurs are creating distinct value and beating the averages by emphasizing Emotional Intelligence in their value propositions.

Meika Weiss

Meika Weiss is an advocate for livable communities currently serving as the Founding Board Chairperson of Pedal Holland. Pedal Holland is a non-profit advocacy group committed to making bicycling an easy choice for transportation and recreation in the greater Holland area. In that capacity, she has led a group of committed individuals through the exciting and challenging process of launching a new non-profit.  She is a full-contact parent with ample experience in navigating the school car line, sidewalks, and bike lanes of this fair city. These experiences coupled with those as a student in Egypt and an expatriate in Japan have inspired her vision of a community that organizes itself to allow every member to grow, thrive, and contribute.  Meika received her B.A. in political science from Calvin College in 1999 and her M.T.S. from Calvin Theological Seminary in 2003.

Talk: People-Centered Transportation

For the past 70 years American cities have become increasingly car-dependent, but we’ve discovered that excessive car traffic increases noise and pollution while decreasing neighborhood ties and the ability of all our citizens to fully participate in the life of our community. Cities built for people are stronger, more interesting, and more sustainable than cities built for cars, and even a slight pivot toward people-centered transportation could have a powerful impact on our community.

Mike Harris

Mike is an entrepreneur with a passion for growth oriented companies and innovative corporate cultures. He is the cofounder of Holland, MI based Worksighted and a graduate from Hope College with a B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science. Worksighted was built on a culture of fulfillment. A culture that emphasizes each person’s unique abilities and aligns those talents to the vision of the customer and the passion of the organization. The NET result? Incredible employee retention, a dramatic expansion of customer base and an explosive growth in corporate revenues.

At 38, Mike has been named the Holland Small Business Person of the Year as well as a Grand Rapids Business Journal Forty under 40. Worksighted has been recognized five consecutive times as one of the fastest growing private companies in America by Inc. Magazine, a Michigan 50 Companies to Watch, a five-time West Michigan 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For and two years as a National Best and Brightest Company to Work For.

Talk: Resonance and Talent

The simple power of resonance is a game-changing tool in the growing competition for talent and  corporate results. Only when a worker’s gifts are in-tune with the work we ask them to do on a daily basis and with the passion of the organization can you reach that incredible state, where small efforts are amplified into incredible, goal-shattering results, and send workers home fulfilled and coming back for more.

Sara DeVries

For the past 15 years Sara DeVries has been connecting people and ideas through her work in the Holland area. As Herrick District Library’s Community Relations Manager Sara oversees marketing, media relations, and graphic design, and engages the library with the surrounding community. She is a regular presenter at the national Library Marketing Communication Conference and has provided webinars for the global library cooperative OCLC. Her work on the Geek the Library (“I geek ______”) campaign has been featured nationally by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She holds a master’s degree in Leadership Studies from the University of St. Thomas and has taught leadership courses at three separate colleges and universities. Sara adores her neighborhood in the city of Holland, is married to a pastor, and loves the daily privilege of parenting of two children. On any given free day she can be found growing organic produce, enjoying ethnic foods, or reading at her neighborhood coffee shop.

Talk: What’s Next for Libraries

Our public libraries are vibrant organizations, embracing the change of our times and sharing stories you may not have heard before – yours. As libraries collect, organize and share stories from within and among their communities, we challenge you to share yours.

Steve Marshall

Steve Marshall has been a professional magician traveling the world astonishing, and entertaining, people of all ages for over 30 years. He has made his home in Japan for almost 20 years.

Being the writer, producer, director, and star of his shows forces Steve to be creative on a daily basis. While the audience is watching Steve he is also watching the audience and learning from their reactions. Over the years Steve has become interested in why people react the way they do to certain things and how the feeling of astonishment plays an important role in all of our lives.

Being able to find surprise, astonishment, and beauty, all around him, even in the most mundane things, has become a passion of Steve’s as he travels the world.

Talk: Discovering Astonishment. Lessons from a magician.

Everybody asks how a magic trick works but, why it works is even more interesting. Steve Marshall explains this thought and why the feeling of astonishment is so important in our lives.

[photo credit: Benjamin Parks]

Nate Roberts

As an educator, Nate Roberts brings a wealth of diverse experience to bear. He began his musical education at a young age, amid the folk and bluegrass traditions of the Allegheny mountains in New York. He later received a scholarship into the new Acoustic String Department at Berklee College of Music, studying mandolin with John McGann, and later graduated with a degree in jazz performance from Hope College in 2011. He was then awarded a graduate fellowship in jazz studies from the University of Oregon, where he completed his Master of Music in jazz performance and pedagogy (guitar).

In addition to teaching mandolin, guitar and banjo lessons and directing Hope’s Folk Ensemble, Nate maintains an active performing schedule with jazz groups and progressive folk ensembles.

Performance: The Nate Roberts Group

TEDxMac 2017 Student Speakers

Will Lowry

William Lowry was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and moved to West Michigan at the mature age of five (which he uses to justify being a bandwagon Steelers fan). After bouncing around from one school to the next, he found himself at Black River Public School, where currently he spends around two hundred days a year. Lowry has been employed as an intern by Kiss Technologies and Emblem Cinema, and worked full-time as a dishwasher for Uncommon Coffee Roasters. He has participated in several national debate conferences, was a member of a world champion robotics team, and presently serves as the 2017 Youth Governor of Michigan. Lowry truly feels at home in a hammock with an enticing biography.

Sarah Morin

Sarah Morin is a senior at Black River Public School where she has attended since first grade. She was born and raised in Holland, Michigan, but the significant amount of time she has spent in Guatemala over the years has made the mountains of Chichicastenango her second home. Sarah truly enjoys spending time with kids: she is a Teacher’s Assistant in a 1st-3rd grade Montessori classroom at Black River Public School and also volunteers with students as a Spanish tutor. Sarah has interned with IDa Design in Zeeland, Michigan and Plywood People in Atlanta, Georgia. Sarah is extremely passionate about the Fair Trade and ethically made clothing industry, and has worked to create awareness around ethical fashion within her school and the greater Holland area. This year Sarah was a part of the Big Read Student Advisory Board for West Michigan’s local Big Read event, where she helped organize and run a collaborative community art experience.

Will & Sarah Are Co-Presenting: What’s Next in Education

The current state of our education system does not allow students to pursue their passions, leaving them ill equipped for life outside the classroom. We propose a complete change in mindset, from the idea of a one size fits all education system to an educational philosophy that integrates community, passion, and a student-fueled curriculum.

Boys & Girls Club – Grand Rapids

This year-round Music Makers program, developed in collaboration with NAMM, the International Music Products Association, encourages Club members ages 6 to 18 to have fun exploring music making and learning to play drums and guitar.  Clubs provide step-by-step activities for drums and guitar in beginner, intermediate and advanced skill levels.

Performance: BGC-GR Chorus

What's It Like?

Good Question. Take a look at videos from our past three recorded events to get a flavor for TEDx Macatawa.
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