TEDxJacksonville 2015

On October 24th, we invite you to enter Into the Machine.

Today we are in the infancy of a second Machine Age, one with profoundly disruptive potential. Man and machine have melded. Artificial intelligence is real. Virtual communities feel authentic. We enjoy near-boundless access to information that enriches our lives, in exchange for allowing invisible machines to decrypt our every impulse and keystroke.

Our perceptions of reality, our structures of meaning, our sense of identity—all are touched and transformed by the machines we have built to mediate between our world and ourselves. But whether it’s the public relations machines curating our culture, or the therapeutic implants transforming our biological limitations, or the social machines crowdsourcing solutions to intractable problems, we are right to wonder which of us—man or machine—is truly in control.

Machines are the essential engines of our future progress. Advances in manufacturing, communications, computer technology, and processing power will dramatically accelerate the brilliant reinvention of our world, and fundamentally transform our lives. But the question remains: in this new age, what role will humanity play?



Jennifer Adler
Illusions: a lens into our fragile freshwater

In Florida, we spend our lives walking on water. This precious resource is threatened, yet it is out of the public eye. Hidden in the aquifer below, water winds its way through limestone tunnels that few will ever experience, and where this water makes its way to the surface, it forms the highest density of freshwater springs in the world. But instead of seeing that the springs are fragile and degrading, we see a watery peninsula filled with lakes, wetlands and river–an illusion of abundance.

Underwater photography can help change this illusion and mend the disconnect between our lives aboveground and the aquifer below. Photographs speak without words or political bias, allowing people to make their own conclusions and empowering people to make informed decisions about this threatened resource. By giving people a novel view of our drinking water, both deep in the aquifer and in the sunlit springs, photos can help us fundamentally change our perspectives on water.

About Jennifer: Jennifer Adler spent her childhood in a permanently salty state–from exploring tide pools and splashing in the waves, to sailing competitively throughout college, the ocean defined her. This love for the sea also led her to pursue a degree in marine biology, and when she got her first job offer to work as a biologist at USGS in Florida, she eagerly accepted. Two days later, with visions of sandy beaches and palm trees in her mind, she arrived 1,244 miles south . . . and 74 miles inland. She studied the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and dinosaur-like sturgeon fish in the Suwannee River, and it was the sweltering summer field days of netting sturgeon in the foreign fresh waters of north Florida that first acquainted her with the springs. These incredible ecosystems immediately swept her off her feet, and she started exploring, researching, and documenting them through photography. To see a little deeper, she eventually earned her cave diving certification and is endlessly fascinated by the winding tunnels of the aquifer. But with this fascination came concern for these fragile, compromised ecosystems. This ultimately led her to pursue her PhD at the University of Florida where she is currently working on a dissertation that blends science with photography and writing to effectively communicate about Florida’s threatened springs and water resources.


Fatène Ben-Hamza
The Power of the Collaboration Machine

You’ve probably heard about Tunisia in the headlines at least once in the last five years. A North African country whose culture dates to antiquity, Tunisia’s recent history has been both tumultuous and inspiring as its citizens pursue democratic reforms following their 2011 Jasmine Revolution that famously sparked the Arab Spring.  Fatène witnessed what happened as the “old machine” disappeared, and will discuss the critical importance safe spaces have played in creating a better machine in her country.

About Fatène: Fatène Ben-Hamza is a French-Tunisian business strategist who moved to Tunisia in 2009. She is passionate about building spaces for people to create, express and exchange ideas. After six years in the advertising industry as a brand strategist working with many international and local clients, Ben-Hamza has joined Cogite, a coworking community of change-makers and entrepreneurs in Tunisia. She has also recently co-founded the Afkar conference, a think & action tank bridging spaces between government and civil society to promote concrete solutions to concrete problems in Tunisia. Fatène is also the organizer and co-curator of TEDxCarthage since 2011, and TEDxCarthageWomen.


Jim Barbaresso
Driverless Cars and Connected Infrastructure: the future?

According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, more than 37,000 people die in road crashes each year in the United States. Barbaresso will discuss disruptive transportation technologies and highlight how the Intelligent Transportation Systems industry is working toward developing technology that may eliminate this risk and save lives.

About Jim: Jim Barbaresso is an internationally renowned expert in intelligent transportation systems. He has more than 37 years of experience in both the public and private sectors, giving him a unique perspective on transportation challenges and how to overcome them. Throughout his career, Barbaresso has demonstrated leadership in the development and application of emerging technologies to enhance mobility and transportation safety. In recognition of Barbaresso’s career achievements and leadership in Intelligent Transportation Systems, he was selected to chair the 2014 World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems, held last September in Detroit.


Peter Carney
New Methods for Teaching in the Digital Forest

Search engines have created the largest spike in information resources in human history, and the classroom learning experience should be fundamentally retooled. Today, students have immediate access to an ocean of digital information, but the classroom experience is still modeled in the traditional approach where the teacher delivers information to those without access to information.  Pete will discuss his method of interactive listening, and explore how the modern classroom can be remade into a creative space for teachers and students to respond to the growing digital forest.

About Peter: Pete Carney was a music history teacher at Chicago City Colleges from 2007 to 2013, and frustrated with the boring textbooks available for his students. Knowing his students would rather read their smartphones than textbooks, Carney worked for two years in his basement to design a new approach that reached and challenged his students. He and fellow adjunct music professor Brian Felix created a groundbreaking new iBook called Interactive Listening that was immediately named by Apple Inc. in 2014 as the #1 Editor’s Choice in all categories of iBooks. It was the first music education method ever to be featured on Apple’s iTunes website. Created for digital-savvy students, Interactive Listening is now taught in over 100 schools nationwide, featuring Hollywood-style graphics, an orchestra of 3-D instruments, and interactive games.

Carney also enjoys a distinguished career as a professional saxophonist and composer who has worked with Grammy winners Kirk Franklin, Tito Puente, the Winans, and the Plain White T’s. His greatest musical experience was touring the Chitilin’ Blues Circuit with Little Milton and opening for B.B. King. He lives with his wife/editor, Caroline, in Chicago where he is currently finishing a doctorate in music at the University of Illinois.

Rick DuCharme
Ending the Death Machines We Call Animal Shelters

Millions of healthy dogs and cats are killed each year in animal shelters. Feral cats, newborn kittens and large dogs are put to death on a daily basis as the traditional way of dealing with animal overpopulation. Rick will discuss applying a three-pronged approach to animal welfare, whereby communities can both reduce the number of animals entering the shelter and increase the number leaving the shelter alive.

About Rick: DuCharme came to the animal welfare world with a background in sales, marketing and management working in the heavy equipment industry. After volunteering at various shelters and rescues and observing and researching the issues, DuCharme asked to be appointed to Jacksonville Mayor Delaney’s Task Force for Animal Control, and was a strong advocate for an effective spay/neuter program. In 2002 DuCharme founded First Coast No More Homeless Pets (FCNMHP), an organization dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in shelters in this community, Northeast Florida and the nation.

FCNMHP began as a small spay/neuter voucher program, but in 2009 it opened one of the largest spay/neuter clinics in the nation, where more than 30,000 surgeries are performed in a single year. Since that time, FCNMHP has broadened its impact, offering numerous programs designed to keep animals in the home and out of the shelters. These programs have made a huge difference. Euthanasia rates have dropped by more than 95% since FCNMHP’s founding.

DuCharme is nationally recognized as an animal welfare expert. He frequently speaks at national conferences, has written handbooks on animal welfare programs and works with animal welfare groups across the country to help them implement in their own communities the programs that have been so effective here.

Tessa Duvall
Transforming Butler: A bold plan to turn around a struggling urban school

For years, the former Butler Middle School struggled with low academic achievement, discipline problems, declining enrollment, a tough reputation and little parent involvement. But for the 2014-15 school year, Duval County Public Schools decided to overhaul the troubled school and create two single-gender schools. Though preliminary, the results so far are encouraging. Tessa will discuss the inequalities that so many students face: poverty, hunger, family struggles, lack of access to health care and more. It’s easy to write off a school’s problems as simply bad kids, lazy teachers and absentee parents. But it’s never that simple.

About Tessa: Tessa Duvall joined The Florida Times-Union as the education, children and families reporter in December 2014. She graduated with Bachelor’s degrees in journalism and sociology from Western Kentucky University in December 2013 and spent a year reporting on education from the dusty oil fields of West Texas before moving to the Sunshine State. Her reporting focuses on the issues that affect children and families living in Northeast Florida.

Jordan Edelhelt
Breaking Stereotypes, Building Empathy

The U.S. holds only five percent of the global population but 25% of the incarcerated population. Jordan believes we can transform our society and better understand the mass incarceration problem that exists here by putting a face to these statistics. Some of the most positive disruptors are those working at Marion Correctional Institution (MCI), a 2,700-men prison in Marion, Ohio. Officials there use Skype to facilitate conversations between audiences and incarcerated men; the resulting conversations on incarceration, justice, and humanity have the unique power to build empathy, understanding, and awareness of our shared humanity.

About Jordan: While an undergrad at Ohio State, Jordan Edelhelt fell in love with TED’s mission of “ideas worth spreading” and began organizing TEDx events. In addition to TEDxOhioStateUniversity, Jordan was on the founding team of the first TEDx to take place in an adult prison, TEDxMarionCorrectional. She has since spent the past three years striving to learn and share stories within the justice system, and now works with The Mayerson Foundation in Cincinnati, Ohio leading their young professional and social change programs. She is inspired by countless incarcerated men who lead by example that spoken word poetry can be a tool of expression, possibly even the answer to sharing our most random beautiful thoughts. Jordan believes in building empathy by listening to one story at a time. She finds herself smiling most after experiencing shared humanity in unexpected spaces . . . like prison.

Kevin Gover
(Re)Making History: The Real Story is Bigger and Better

Americans have been taught a shallow and simple narrative of the history of Native Americans and the history of our country. Shallow narratives are satisfying and allow us to feel good about our history as a nation, but they can cause our approach to contemporary issues to be uninformed and even misinformed. Kevin will discuss fearlessly embracing the larger, messier, more complex truths of our history.

About Kevin: Kevin Gover is the director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and a citizen of the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. Gover began as director in December 2007. He received his bachelor’s degree in public and international affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and his Juris Doctor degree in 1981 from the University of New Mexico College of Law.

Gover returned to New Mexico in 1986, where he established Gover, Stetson, Williams & West, P.C., which grew into the largest Indian-owned law firm in the country and represented tribes and tribal agencies in a dozen states. His advocacy brought him to the attention of the Clinton White House, and in 1997, Gover was nominated by President Clinton to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in the United States Department of the Interior. His tenure as Assistant Secretary is perhaps best-known for his apology to Native American people for the historical conduct of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Upon leaving office, Gover resumed the practice of law and served on the faculty of Arizona State University’s Indian Legal Program. Throughout his professional career, Gover has given freely of his time, serving on several committees of the Federal Bar Association and the American Bar Association, as well as on a number of non-profit boards.

Tim Harris
What Is Important Is Love

Tim Harris has become a beautiful example of what is possible when you dream big and live a life based on love and acceptance. During his talk, Tim will be discussing his many achievements and his belief that the most important quality humans have is love.

About Tim: Born in 1986 with Down Syndrome, Tim Harris’s life has been defined by exceeding expectations and inspiring those around him. His lifelong dream of owning his own restaurant came true in October 2010 when “Tim’s Place” opened its doors in Albuquerque, serving breakfast, lunch . . . and hugs. To date Tim has given out more than 70,000 hugs, reaching everyone from music legend Stevie Wonder to the President of the United States. Tim’s successful determination to own a restaurant, live a happy life and inspire others has captured the attention of people all over the world. His goal is to help other individuals with intellectual disabilities lead meaningful and fulfilling lives via entrepreneurship and inclusion in their communities.

Kevin Hyde
Ban the Box

Ex-offenders cannot get jobs. Yet, employment is one of the most powerful tools against recidivism. How can a community–even a conservative city like Jacksonville–come to grips with helping ex-offenders obtain employment? Kevin will discuss the practical community benefits of providing job opportunities for ex-offenders, dispel some of the myths of why and how ex-offenders should not be hired, and demonstrate why job training is more “cost-effective” societally and financially than incarceration.

About Kevin: Kevin E. Hyde is a partner and employment lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. Hyde represents employers in a variety of human resources matters, and is managing partner of the firm’s Jacksonville office. Hyde speaks regularly at various programs and seminars, focusing on employment issues. He has served as keynote speaker at more than 30 state, regional, and national business and civic organization conventions. Hyde also serves as a thought leader in the firm’s Legal Innovation Hub® for NextGen Manufacturers.

Hyde has been active in Jacksonville community affairs.  He is a former President of the Jacksonville City Council, served as the Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Jacksonville, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, WJCT Public Broadcasting, Jacksonville Community Council, Inc. and The Jacksonville Public Library Foundation.  Additionally, he and his wife Kathi created and operate a fund to provide scholarships to send kids to summer camp.  Hyde graduated from the University of Florida College of Law and has lived in Jacksonville since 1988.

Mark McCombs
Why Every Kid Should Build a Robot

All 21st century students deserve a role in engineering the future. McCombs will give a first-person account of what happens when children are given an opportunity to see what they are capable of in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). He believes that hands-on, mentor-driven robotics education contributes to a sense of self-efficacy, which may be the one of the greatest advances we can see this generation make.

About Mark: Over the past twelve years, Mark McCombs has been a part of FIRST Robotics as a student on a high school team, as a college mentor, a head coach, volunteer, tournament director, and now Affiliate Partner for FIRST Lego League in the North Florida Region. As a student in the program, mentors and engineering idols profoundly impacted Mark by turning his curiosities towards the field of Mechanical Engineering. Now the founder of a machine design, engineering, and fabrication company, McCombs spends most of his time working on Renaissance Jax, a nonprofit he founded with the mission of expanding access to the very program that shaped his experience as a young engineer.

John Phillips
America's Greatest Enemy: The Unevolving Virus of Prejudice

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . ..” But do we really believe that? Phillips submits that the hypocrisy uttered in this line has not changed much since 1776. Not when slavery was abolished in 1865. Not when women were allowed to vote in 1920. Not when the black vote became protected in 1965. Still not when some 30 states passed laws giving their citizens the inalienable right to kill based on subjective fear, a law known as Stand Your Ground. The scales of justice remain unbalanced because government cannot legislate a path to something that must come from the heart. Equality can’t be reprogrammed. It can’t be rebooted. It must be nurtured. It must be fostered.

About John: John Phillips attended the University of Alabama for college and law school, and shortly after moved to Jacksonville in 2001, which has become home to not only his own law firm, but also his wife Angela and two children – Bennett (age 3) and Weston (age 1). Phillips is licensed to practice law in Florida, Georgia and Alabama and is the youngest in northeast Florida to be both Board Certified in Civil Trial law and have obtained the highest rating available of AV- Preeminent by Martindale, which has been rating lawyers since the 1800’s. John also has been recognized as one of the best lawyers in Jacksonville by readers of Folio Weekly, Void Magazine, and as the “Face of Justice” by Jacksonville Magazine, and has received many national awards and recognitions. He is most known for his association with the Michael Dunn/Jordan Davis case, where he represented the family of Jordan Davis who was shot and killed in November 2012, but Phillips has represented victims in several high profile cases and has been featured on CNN, HLN and most other national networks.


Peter Rummell
Placemaking Meets Healthmaking

The opportunity to combine useful and friendly technology with a fun physical environment is begging to be done. Rummell will talk about the marriage of development, healthy living and technology. We must start creating cutting-edge living environments that are willing to adapt and change; we must be open to placemaking where you can live life to its fullest potential.

About Peter: Peter Rummell has been active in the real estate development industry for over 40 years, creating some of the most recognized and interesting projects in the world. His career began in real estate in 1971 with the Sea Pines Company, developers of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and Amelia Island, Florida. In 1977, he became general manager of Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida for the Arvida Corporation. He joined the Rockefeller Center Management Corporation in New York as vice chairman in 1983, leaving in 1985 to become president of Disney Development Company. Disney Development Company and Walt Disney Imagineering, the company’s design and creative division responsible for theme park development, were later merged and Rummell became chairman of the combined group, Walt Disney Imagineering. From 1997 to 2008, Rummell was chairman and chief executive officer of The St. Joe Company. He is also the founding board chair and chief patron of One Spark, the World’s Largest Crowdfunding Festival.


  • Canary in the Coalmine
    Canary in the Coalmine
  • Complicated Animals
    Complicated Animals
  • The Ritz Chamber Players
    The Ritz Chamber Players
  • Wise River
    Wise River
Canary in the Coalmine

Canary in the Coalmine is an Americana Folk band based out of Jacksonville, Florida. A haunting quality underscores striking vocal harmonies that provide a focal point for the band’s signature sound. The band released their first full-length album “Who Fears the Devil?” in March of 2015. Because of the vast collection of musical influences the writers share, Canary’s sound is a melding together of different genres of American roots music, including Country, Bluegrass, Old Spirituals, and Appalachian Folk, tinged with the flavors of blues, soul, and a little bit of rock and roll.

Canary in the Coalmine has been garnering local and regional attention within the Jacksonville area and beyond, performing at Suwanee Springfest and Magnolia Festival and recently completed a mini tour to support their album release. Canary has performed for and worked in collaboration with many noteworthy Jacksonville establishments, including the Cummer Museuam of Art and Gardens, MOCA, Springfield Porchfest, and Riverside Avondale Preservation Society, and has plans of continuing to grow and spread their music throughout the Southeast.

Complicated Animals

Complicated Animals is the Brazilian & American duo of Monica da Silva and Chad Alger. Mixing breezy Indie Pop and Vintage Brazilian Bossa Nova, they’ve created their own unique genre, Indie Nova. Complicated Animals’ music has been featured on ESPN during the World Cup 2014, and licensed by Putumayo World Music for their compilation “Brazilian Beat.” They just released a new EP, “In This Game,” which premiered on PopMatters and NPR.

The Ritz Chamber Players

The Ritz Chamber Players is hailed by The Baltimore Sun as “one of the most interesting and dynamic ensembles to emerge in recent years.” Boasting some of the world’s preeminent musicians spanning the African diaspora, it brings a fresh, new energy to the classical music genre. Its members perform with prestigious organizations such as the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra and the London Symphony. The following three members of the Players will perform at TEDxJacksonville 2015:

Kelly Hall-Tompkins – Violin: One of New York City’s most in-demand violinists, Kelly Hall-Tompkins’ dynamic career spans solo, chamber, and orchestral performance. She earned a Master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music under the mentorship of Glenn Dicterow, concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic.

Orlando Wells – Violin/Viola: A native of Orange, NJ, Orlando Wells began studying the violin at the age of 9. Mr. Wells attended S.U.N.Y. Purchase and Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers. He has performed frequently on Broadway, and currently is the violist on the new Broadway show Crybaby. He has collaborated with musicians of many different genres and styles, including John Legend, Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Kanye West, Marvin Hamlish, the Akua Dixon Swing Quartet and Sojourner Strings.

Tahirah Whittington – Cello: Tahirah Whittington, originally from Houston, TX, has performed for audiences all over the world. Solo engagements include a performance with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC, as a result of winning 1st prize at the 1999 Sphinx Competition. Ms. Whittington received her Master’s Degree in Cello Performance from The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Joel Krosnick, and received her Bachelor’s Degree at the New England Conservatory as a student of Laurence Lesser. She is currently pursuing her Doctoral Degree at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, with Hans Jensen.

Wise River

Wise River is a 3 piece dream-pop/synth-pop band fronted by brother and sister duo John and Laura Shannon from Jacksonville, FL. All three members also perform together in the indie-folk band Fort Stories. Wise River focuses on combining digital and analog instruments, effects, noise, and samples to create a sound that is all at once dreamy, experimental, and catchy.


The event will be held at WJCT’s Studio A Soundstage, a spectacular facility with over 7,800 square feet of unobstructed television and film production space, 30-foot ceiling heights, and the brand new three-wall cyclorama, totaling 125 linear feet and measuring 23 feet tall.