September 19, 2015 - Kingsbury Hall

Theme: Upcycled Thinking

"UPCYCLE (v): to reuse, repurpose, revitalize in such a way as to create a new product of a higher quality or value than the original."

Out with the old, in with the new? We disagree.

Innovation isn't just about novel creation and pursuit of unexplored frontiers. Some of the best innovations in tech, entertainment, and design create new value simply by "repurposing" discarded stuff.

The word upcycle is fairly new to our lexicon, but the concept is showing up in people and places that astound and inspire. We're not just talking about a wine box turned shoe rack. It's transforming anything--tangible or abstract--into something better.

2015 Speakers

  • Austen Allred

    Austen Allred became involved in the underground news community after he almost died in a train-wreck that was covered up by the Chinese government. Determined to democra...

    Austen Allred

    Austen Allred

    Austen Allred became involved in the underground news community after he almost died in a train-wreck that was covered up by the Chinese government. Determined to democratize the news, he started a real-time Internet newsroom called Grasswire. After he lived in the trunk of a Honda Civic for three months in Silicon Valley, he was able to raise a round of funding to hire a team and make Grasswire one of the fastest growing news websites on the Internet. He spends most of his time playing soccer, talking with the Grasswire community and ranting about journalism on Twitter.

  • Ben Rollins

    Ben Rollins is fascinated by technology that is entirely new and solves major problems. He is CEO and co-founder of Vaporsens, a tech startup developing “nanoscale spider...

    Ben Rollins

    Ben Rollins

    Ben Rollins is fascinated by technology that is entirely new and solves major problems. He is CEO and co-founder of Vaporsens, a tech startup developing “nanoscale spider webs”. These webs are deployed in handheld detectors capable of sniffing out drugs, bombs, and even the chemical that ruins your Merlot wine. The technology originated at the University of Utah’s Materials Science Department where Rollins assisted dozens of researchers in developing and commercializing their research. He enjoys communicating complex technical material in a simple and beautiful way using images and videos.Although Rollins has lived in San Francisco, Philadelphia, Mexico, and New York, he keeps coming back to hometown Utah. It is tough to beat skiing the powder dumps, camping with his children in the Wasatch, hiking Timpanogos, or BBQing burgers with the neighbors.

  • Chris Burbank

    Chris Burbank was with the Salt Lake City Police Department from 1991 to 2015. Appointed to the position of Chief of Police in March 2006, he became the 45th Chief of the...

    Chris Burbank

    Chris Burbank

    Chris Burbank was with the Salt Lake City Police Department from 1991 to 2015. Appointed to the position of Chief of Police in March 2006, he became the 45th Chief of the Department. In 2014, Chief Burbank was selected as a member of the “Enlightened Fifty” most influential leaders in the State of Utah. In January 2013, Chief Burbank was selected as one of six Police Chiefs in the nation to meet with President Barack Obama to discuss the Administration’s plan and direction concerning gun violence in America. He was recognized in June 2013, by the Utah National Guard with their annual Minuteman Award for contributions to the wellbeing of the State of Utah.

    Chief Burbank was an outspoken opponent to the cross deputization of police officers as immigration enforcement agents. He participated in several national conferences regarding the issue, including the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division’s 2009 Title VI Conference. In May 2010, Chief Burbank and nine other Police Chiefs met with Attorney General Eric Holder regarding Arizona immigration laws. During the last two years, he addressed the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary regarding racial profiling and civil rights issues.

    Chief Burbank was chosen by the Salt Lake Tribune as Utahn of the Year for 2011. The state’s largest newspaper cited his handling of several high profile protest incidents and stated, “Burbank’s stature as a community leader, including a willingness to endure threats and criticism over his position on immigration enforcement, is noteworthy at a time of ebbing confidence in those elected to govern.”

    Chris Burbank is the Past First Vice President of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, an assembly of the 75 largest policing agencies in the United States and Canada. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from the University of Utah and is a graduate of the FBI’s National Executive Institute.

  • David Eyer Davis

    David Eyer Davis is the executive director of the Bicycle Collective, a statewide upcycling nonprofit that uses bicycles as tools for empowerment. He came to the Collecti...

    David Eyer Davis

    David Eyer Davis

    David Eyer Davis is the executive director of the Bicycle Collective, a statewide upcycling nonprofit that uses bicycles as tools for empowerment. He came to the Collective as a volunteer in 2007 with no knowledge of bicycle mechanics and has since integrated bicycles into his life by leading bicycle tours, writing and editing bicycle publications, organizing events, and outfitting friends and strangers with bicycles for every purpose.

    Davis advocates using a bike habitually to positively re-shape our bodies, our needs, our minds, and our cities. He recognizes that bicycles aren’t inherently positive, but has found both bicycle riding and bike refurbishing to encourage patience, conservation, and intentional behavior. These outlooks and skills can apply to any positive discipline, informing us in living happier, healthier, and more humane lives.

    Beyond his bicycle-related endeavors, Davis has worked as a writer, filmmaker, freelance journalist, documentarian, and educator. His work focuses on leveling inequality and inspiring conservation through building confidence and minimizing needs. He keeps in mind the power, potential, and beauty of contemporary existence in contrast with the negative impacts, systemic blunders, and progress traps humans create. When not at the Bicycle Collective, he can be found working on a young adult project circulating around art, love, mayhem and the magic found in a considered life. Most recently his film work brought him onto the crew of Emmy-Award-winning Egyptian documentary The Square, where he managed festival logistics, fundraised, and reported international storylines through social media.

    When not working, Davis enjoys traveling on a shoestring, bike touring, reading all kinds of fiction, making and encountering art, and the absurd and surreal encounters that come from extending outside one’s comfort zone.

  • David York

    David R. York is a Principal with the Salt Lake City law firm of York Howell and Guymon, where he practices law in the areas of estate planning, tax, business planning, a...

    David York

    David York

    David R. York is a Principal with the Salt Lake City law firm of York Howell and Guymon, where he practices law in the areas of estate planning, tax, business planning, and non-profit entities. He is a Fellow with the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and a Member of the Society of Trust and Estate Professionals (STEP). David has been regularly named to Utah Business Magazine’s Utah Legal Elite™ in the field of Estate Planning and as a Mountain States Rising Star in Super Lawyers Magazine.

    David loves working with entrepreneurs, closely held businesses, and families of all kinds. In particular, he loves challenging conventional wisdom when it comes to wealth transfer and instead prefers to focus on how to make the most positive, meaningful impact with wealth across generations and in society as is humanly possible.

    David currently serves as one of the Founding Directors of Holding Out HELP, which exists to assist those from a polygamous background with the resources necessary to meet their physical, emotional, and educational needs. David also serves on the Board of Directors of Sunshine Heroes Foundation. Sunshine Heroes Foundation’s mission is to improve the health, inspire the spirits, and transform the lives of children around the world.

    David lives in Cottonwood Heights, Utah with his wife Mindy and their five children, Emma, John, Samuel, Hudson and Avery. David enjoys cycling and photography of all kinds. He has developed a burgeoning High School senior portrait business, though he’s yet to figure out how to make any money doing so.

  • Erik Brunvand

    Although Erik was born in Indiana, his family moved to Salt Lake City in 1966, and he grew up in the Avenues. He’s currently an Associate Professor in the School of Compu...

    Erik Brunvand

    Erik Brunvand

    Although Erik was born in Indiana, his family moved to Salt Lake City in 1966, and he grew up in the Avenues. He’s currently an Associate Professor in the School of Computing at the University of Utah where he’s been teaching and doing research in computer engineering since 1990. As a computer engineer his research group is currently working on designing special-purpose computers for generating very realistic computer graphic images using a technique called ray tracing. His interest in computer hardware extends from the high-level design of the processor, to its implementation on a silicon integrated circuit.

    He is also intrigued and fascinated with arts/technology collaborations. Beginning in 2009 he has co-developed and taught a collaborative course with Paul Stout, a sculptor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Utah entitled Embedded Systems and Kinetic Art. This course puts computer science and art students into teams to design and build collaborate computer-controlled kinetic artworks. He has also recently developed a new general education course entitled Making Noise: Sound Art and Digital Media. This course introduced students from all parts of campus to technology and electronics through noise-making projects such as circuit bending (modifying an existing music-making or speaking toy to become a sound-art noise generator). He is a co-founder of Saltgrass Printmakers, a non-profit printmaking studio and gallery in Salt Lake City since 2004. This interest in arts/tech collaborations has led him to explore a variety of kinetic mixed media art pieces, many involving electronic control, and including sculptures that make their own drawings.

  • Hala Saleh

    Hala Saleh was born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents, moved to the United States before she was 2, andspent the rest of her life going back and forth between the U.S and ...

    Hala Saleh

    Hala Saleh

    Hala Saleh was born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents, moved to the United States before she was 2, andspent the rest of her life going back and forth between the U.S and the Middle East, with one of those moves occurring as a direct result of war. She was brought up in a family where her parents dedicated every breath, penny, and heartbeat to ensuring that she and her four siblings had the best education possible, even when it meant sacrificing the basics. This taught her to be a survivor, to always push forward, and to find joy in unlikely places. It also taught her a fierce love for her family, her own children’s futures, and her roots.

    Hala is a teacher at heart, and she currently works with companies to teach, train, and help them implement better processes and frameworks for working together. She is passionate about startups, innovation, and is inspired by people who truly love what they do. She is a startup mentor and coach with a local startup accelerator, as well as through her own company. She speaks about topics that she is passionate about both locally and nationally, and feels fortunate to share her views with others.

    Mostly, Hala is in love with her little family, and is always kept on her toes with her two energetic boys, aged 8 and 4.

  • Ivy Estabrooke

    Ivy V. Estabrooke, PhD., was appointed as the USTAR executive director in May 2014. A cognitive neuroscientist by training, with technical expertise in psycholinguistics,...

    Ivy Estabrooke

    Ivy Estabrooke

    Ivy V. Estabrooke, PhD., was appointed as the USTAR executive director in May 2014. A cognitive neuroscientist by training, with technical expertise in psycholinguistics, pharmacological interventions, and statistical modeling, Estabrooke earned her PhD. in neuroscience from Georgetown University, an MS in National Security Strategy and Resource Management from the Eisenhower School of the National Defense University and a BA in Biological Sciences from Smith College.

    Prior to moving to Utah, Estabrooke served as the program officer for basic research in the Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare & Combating Terrorism Department at the Office of Naval Research (ONR). While at ONR, she managed a high risk/high payoff research portfolio including innovative neuroscience programs and cutting edge social and computational science programs, and developed and implemented a strategy for examining emerging technology areas. She also managed a multi-million dollar yearly investment in the Sciences Addressing Asymmetric Explosive Threats basic research efforts. As a strong supporter of education, Estabrooke led Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics education (STEM) programs for her department.

    Outside of the office Ivy enjoys chasing her two daughters in the mountains and on ski slopes.

  • Ken Grover

    Ken first became extremely passionate about changing the learning environments of schools across this country when he encountered a particular student whose future was lo...

    Ken Grover

    Ken Grover

    Ken first became extremely passionate about changing the learning environments of schools across this country when he encountered a particular student whose future was looking grim. It became clear to him that he needed to improve student’s high school experience—it was a moral imperative. As such he created a comprehensive and fully reimagined educational experience for 21st century high school students. This personalized education model utilizes the power and scalability of technology to customize education where students through multiple measures–both cognitive and non-cognitive–have shown educational improvement.

    Ken believes that it is incumbent upon us to recognize now the opportunities to impact and influence change for our children. This opportunity is only available for us to embrace if we become the catalyst for change, if not the change will not occur. All it took was one child to ignite his passion to become part of the disruption our education system desperately needed by creating an effective new pedagogical methodology to meet the needs of students--an approach that is now being replicated in schools throughout the country with great success and is now impacting so many more students today.

  • Kevin Jones

    Kevin B. Jones is a surgeon and scientist in the Department of Orthopaedics at the University of Utah. He performs surgeries to remove cancers of the bone and flesh (call...

    Kevin Jones

    Kevin Jones

    Kevin B. Jones is a surgeon and scientist in the Department of Orthopaedics at the University of Utah. He performs surgeries to remove cancers of the bone and flesh (called sarcomas) and rebuild limbs in both children and adults. His laboratory at the Huntsman Cancer Institute investigates the biology, genetics, and epigenetics of sarcomas. Kevin has authored over seventy peer-reviewed publications in the medical/scientific literature.

    Following an undergraduate degree in English literature at Harvard University and medical school at Johns Hopkins, he pursued orthopaedic surgical residency at the University of Iowa, then fellowship training in musculoskeletal oncology at Mount Sinai Hospital and the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children, before coming to Salt Lake City with his family to train scientifically with Nobel Laureate Mario Capecchi.

    For his research, the molecular decision-points at which a cell chooses to become a cancer fascinate Kevin the most. Sarcomas, both rare and deadly, provide excellent models for the study of these fundamental moments of cancer initiation, or oncogenesis. In the clinical care he provides and in life, Kevin focuses on the somewhat parallel concept of the power of human agency, or the capacity to make choices and mold future events. Critically impactful on the agency every person applies to any moment of decision is the story, or conceptualized sequence of events that brought the individual to that moment. Clarity, honesty, and humility gain paramount importance in the evaluation of stories leading up to decisions in life, as well as the stories proceeding from decision-points in science.

  • Nalini Nadkarni

    Dr. Nalini Nadkarni is passionate about trees. Known as the “Queen of the Forest Canopy”, Nalini has been a pioneer both in forest canopy ecological research and in publi...

    Nalini Nadkarni

    Nalini Nadkarni

    Dr. Nalini Nadkarni is passionate about trees. Known as the “Queen of the Forest Canopy”, Nalini has been a pioneer both in forest canopy ecological research and in public engagement of science. For three decades, Nalini has pursued research in the little-known world of forest treetops to understand the relationships of canopy-dwelling biota. Her 100+ scientific articles and three scholarly books have documented that canopy biota capture and retain nutrients, water, and energy for the forests in which they dwell. She has also documented that canopy communities are vulnerable to disturbance from human-induced causes such as forest fragmentation and climate change.

    Nalini is passionate about sharing her research and science in general with people from all parts of society. In 1994, she created the International Canopy Network to facilitate communication among canopy researchers, educators, and conservationists. Her work has been featured in magazines, e.g., Natural History, Glamour, and Playboy, and in television documentaries, e.g., Bill Nye the Science Guy, Good Morning, America, and National Geographic. She brings science to diverse public audiences – especially those underserved by science institutions – by forging unique partnerships with church congregations, urban youth, artists, rap singers, sports figures, and the incarcerated.

    In 2004, she co-founded the Sustainability in Prisons Program, which brings science lectures and conservation projects to inmates around the country, including Utah. She has brought nature imagery to inmates in solitary confinement was recognized by TIME Magazine as “one of the Best Ideas of 2014”. Her Research Ambassador Programtrains other scientists to carry out engagement to underserved public audiences.

    Nalini is a Professor at the University of Utah. Her awards include a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a AAAS Award for Public Engagement, and a Archie Carr Award for Conservation. Her work is supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society.

  • Nate Bagley

    Nate Bagley is on a mission to cure the world of mediocre love. In October of 2012 he embarked on a journey to interview as many of the most in-love couples that he could...

    Nate Bagley

    Nate Bagley

    Nate Bagley is on a mission to cure the world of mediocre love. In October of 2012 he embarked on a journey to interview as many of the most in-love couples that he could find in America. His hope has been to uncover what these inspiring people do differently than everybody else that gives them such enviable and remarkable love.

    Through his project, The Loveumentary, he's interviewed hundreds of couples, love experts and authors about what it takes to create dynamic, passionate, connected, lasting love.

    The love stories he's gathered and the lessons he's learned on this journey have completely transformedeverything he thought was possible in a romantic relationship. He's chosen to dedicate his life to sharing what he's learned with as many people as possible.

    He believes that anybody can master the art of love, just like anyone can master a musical instrument, or a foreign language. It just requires access to the right tools, teachers, and lots and lots of practice.

    His hope is that through his podcast and writing on The Loveumentary, his speaking, and his date-in-a-box subscription service - Unbox Love - is to give people a taste of remarkable love and inspire them to create it for themselves... because when two people have incredible love, it transforms their family, their community, and eventually... the world.

    We don't have to settle for average love. We can have love even better than the fairytales we've dreamed of... it just takes a bit of inspiration, the right education and consistent, daily effort.

  • Nicole Roundy

    As a child, Nicole was ambitious, energetic and outgoing. She spent much of her childhood outdoors kicking soccer balls and exploring the outdoors with her two older brot...

    Nicole Roundy

    Nicole Roundy

    As a child, Nicole was ambitious, energetic and outgoing. She spent much of her childhood outdoors kicking soccer balls and exploring the outdoors with her two older brothers. Then at 8 years old, she was diagnosed with Osteogenic Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Later that year she lost her right leg above-the-knee and continued aggressive chemo therapy treatment.

    As any individual touched by cancer, Nicole's life took a dramatic turn. Following the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic games, Nicole stepped onto a ski slope for the first time. The beauty, adrenaline and excitement of three-track skiing captivated her, but something was missing. Deemed "impossible" due to a lack of prosthetic knee technology, Nicole found her passion in snowboarding.

    In 2006 she became the first above-knee amputee, male or female, to compete in adaptive snowboarding. Her accomplishments spearheaded global demand for prosthetic knee technology and played a fundamental role in the introduction of snowboarding to the Paralympic roster. Nicole represented the United States in the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games and is an 8X World Cup Medalist.

    She is consistently ranked as one of the best adaptive snowboarders in the world.

    Not only is Nicole an amazing athlete, but she is an accomplished motivational speaker and holds a degree in business management. Nicole is an advocate for The Challenged Athletes Foundation, The National Ability Center and childhood cancer research.

  • Thea Holcomb

    Thea is a citizen of the outdoors, the Internet, and the broader nerd community. She tries to question expectations, be well-read, and to have un-ironic enthusiasm about ...

    Thea Holcomb

    Thea Holcomb

    Thea is a citizen of the outdoors, the Internet, and the broader nerd community. She tries to question expectations, be well-read, and to have un-ironic enthusiasm about what she loves. She is in awe of how complexly and intricately humans can communicate, and therefore she frequently exercises her own ability to do so.

    The phrase “Sharing is caring,” with few notable exceptions, seems objectively true, so she tries to share what she knows with other people. She teaches skiing, outdoor living, and sex-ed. Each in a very different setting, but all to young people. Also, she is a young person herself who finds today’s negative perception of youth culture, though a phenomenon that has existed for thousands of years, both humorously inaccurate and profoundly irksome.

    She raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Guide dogs aren’t born, they’re raised, so she does the raising part. Puppy raising involves a lot more love, sacrifice, and puppy urine than most of the volunteering she’s done. Since she gets to socialize puppies in public environments that usually don’t contain dogs, (think libraries, trains, and theaters,) she is slightly proud of how unusually well accustomed she is to being stared at and talked about in public.

    Equality of access to the Internet, education, health services, the outdoors, and books are all principles in which she believes firmly. In fact, equality in general is a principle in which she believe firmly.

    Things that bring her joy include food, skiing, the newspaper, crustaceans, intellectual discourse, and young adult literature. On the subject of young adult literature, she believes that the best we can do is marvel at, as the author John Green put it, “How strange and how lovely it is to be anything at all.”

Get Involved

Connect with TEDxSaltLakeCity