By Lindsay Morse TEDxBozeman

BOZEMAN – While many Montanans are familiar with TEDTalks, not everyone realizes that

they can hear similar talks at a live TEDx event here in Gallatin Valley.

TED, a non-profit annual conference founded in California in 1984, features international

speakers and performers from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED).

Based on the premise of “Ideas Worth Spreading,” the presentations are filmed and made

available to the public on TED’s website, free of charge.

TED.com explains the organization’s mission: “We believe passionately in the power of ideas

to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. So we’re building a clearinghouse of free

knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to

engage with ideas and each other.”

In 2009, TED launched TEDx, an initiative aimed at enlisting individual communities to organize

their own TED-like conferences (x=independently organized event). Following guidelines

specified by TED, TEDx conferences immediately began springing up all over the world, from

Lithuania to Madagascar to India.

But several years later, the initiative had not yet reached Montana. In 2012, Ken Fichtler and

Danny Schotthoefer decided to change that and went about founding TEDxBozeman, the first

TEDx event in the state.

Even in its infancy, the inaugural TEDxBozeman made a splash and was featured in the

December 2012 issue of WIRED magazine. Since then, six TEDx conferences have been

held throughout Montana and Fichtler, joined by Brooke Draves and a team of enthusiastic

volunteers, have continued to expand the TEDxBozeman event.

With a nod to the pioneers of Montana’s history, TEDxBozeman’s 2014 theme, “Pioneer Spirit”

emphasizes today’s enterprising individuals who continue in this vein. Showcasing modern

pioneers who all share a tie to the state, this year’s line-up of 14 presenters are breaking new

frontiers in the Big Sky State and beyond.

Greg Gianforte, founder of Right Now Technologies and one of the state’s most storied

entrepreneurs will join, among others, Mary Schweitzer, a ground-breaking paleontologist

whose research on the molecular remains of dinosaur fossils has been featured in Smithsonian

magazine. The event also highlights relatively unknown up-and-comers such as 18-year-old

percussive finger-style guitarist Josh Powell.

“The value of TEDx comes from its unique ability to showcase members of our community

that are contributing significantly to their fields on a national or even international stage, but

frequently do not get the recognition they deserve here in Montana,” said license-holder Brooke

Draves.

Having been pioneers of sorts themselves, the TEDxBozeman team of volunteers can reflect

with pride on the transition from 2011 when they worked tirelessly to establish and brand an

event much of the community had never heard of, to this year’s much-anticipated conference,

which is made possible by wide spread community support.

“TEDxBozeman has attracted the best and brightest in our community, both in terms of

volunteers and presenters,” said co-founder, Ken Fichtler.

TEDxBozeman will be held at The Commons on Friday, March 21. This independently

organized TEDx conference is a day to showcase innovative presenters with ties to Montana

and engage in stimulating and inspiring dialogues. TEDxBozeman tickets have historically sold

out in a matter of days, so organizers offer live-streaming online around the globe for those

unable to attend this event in person.

Visit tedxbozeman.com for more information.