TEDx Conference Coming to Bakersfield

Posted at 6:47 PM, Aug 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-21 21:58:56-04

Everyone remembers that “driveway moment” when they couldn’t turn off the radio listening to the TED radio hour. Or the time they viewed a TED talk and spent an hour addicted to the short, inspiring pieces from futuristic thinkers around the globe.

The world-renown conference TEDx comes to Bakersfield on Thursday, September 21, 2017. Hear innovative and inspiring speeches about the newest in technology, entertainment, and design.

Tim Calahan, evening news anchor from KERO 23ABC, will emcee the event.

“I’m very excited to see this TEDx come to Bakersfield—I’ve called this community home now for 10 years, and I’ve seen first-hand the innovation and community leaders that make this a special place to live,” Calahan said. “It’s an honor to share the stage with them.”

The all-day event will feature local speakers like Zach Skow from Marley’s Mutts and Amy Adams, Actors’ Equity Association member and former contestant on American Idol.

“TED talks inspire me and change the way I see the world,” Producer Zoot Velasco said. “I have attended some great TEDx conferences and thought Bakersfield should have one.” Velasco is a community consultant who donated his time to produce the conference with Crosby Shaterian, Director of New Media for ABC Television station, KERO 23ABC.

Topics include microbiological warfare with CRISPR technology, redesigning our drug policy, reclaiming water, 3D printing for kids, rehabilitation of dogs and people, STEM on the farm, arts in prisons, and performances by alumni from American Idol and Fox TV’s So You Think You Can Dance.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Spotlight Theatre, 1622 19th St., Bakersfield, CA 93301 and will be livestreamed for free through KERO 23ABC at Tickets to attend the event cost $99. The TEDx conference will be archived and available via

The full list of speakers includes:

  • Amy Adams, Actor and Music TeacherAmerican Idol contestant, voice teacher, Actors’ Equity Association actor, and Bakersfield resident.
  • Joe Bondy-Denomy, a CRISPR Expert at UC San Francisco - He is on the forefront of microbiological warfare, and is changing everything we know about what is possible in genetic engineering.
  • Dino Giacomazzi, Dairy Farmer - Owner of Giacomazzi Dairy, and board chair of the PLANT Foundation teaching STEM through the farm to youth.
  • Jim Gray, Retired JudgeFormer prosecutor, Judge and 2012 Vice Presidential Candidate for the Libertarian Party discusses US Drug Policy Design.
  • Andrea L. Medina, Director of Grants and Outreach, CSUB - Researching the educational impact of the Fab Lab, teaching youth 3D printing and design.
  • Jordan Nata’e, DancerContestant on Fox TV’s So You Think You Can Dance, student at LA High School of the Arts, and Bakersfield native.
  • Sandy Scott-Roberts, Groundwater Replenishment System Program Manager for Orange County Water Distric - Overseeing their innovative Water Solution turning waste water into drinking water.
  • Zach Skow, CEO of Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue - Leader of the community benefit organization that pairs rescue dogs with people dealing with disease, incarceration, and drug abuse.
  • Sabra Williams, Director of The Prison Project for Tim Robbins’ The Actor’s Gang company on the forefront of a statewide project bringing the arts into prisons.

TEDx Bakersfield is sponsored by KERO 23ABC, Zoot Velasco Community Consulting, Marriott Bakersfield, Spotlight Theatre Foundation, Ovation Theatre Company, Darling & Wilson, PC, Attorneys at Law, and Hall Letter Printing, Inc., with volunteer support from Bakersfield Twilight Rotary Club.

TED is a nonprofit devoted to “ideas worth spreading,” usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics—from science to business to global issues—in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world. The TEDx program helps communities, organizations and individuals produce TED-style events at the local level. TEDx events are planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis, under a free license from TED.

To learn more about TEDx Bakersfield, please contact
Zoot Velasco, Producer
Cell: (310) 809-3733