rgo 2012


The Adventure Starts Here

June 21, 2012

Ecce Art Gallery

100 Attendees

Held on the Summer Solstice, “The Adventure Starts Here” marked the second TEDxFargo event. Our region is home to some of the most interesting people in the world. It also attracts some of the most talented people from the world to work here. TEDxFargo tapped into this talent to bring you some of the most interesting and thought provoking citizens who have big ideas that need to be spread around the world.


Kyle Coolbroth

Our Cultural Identity Crisis

Kyle Coolbroth is a creative-thinking and order-making serial entrepreneur with a strong strategy background. After more than 20 years of executive experience in startups, consulting, high-growth companies and larger corporations across numerous industries, Kyle now helps guide the business of CoCo as cofounder. CoCo is the collaborative space that is revolutionizing the workplace and is a global thought-leader in enabling the mobile, startup and entrepreneurial lifestyle through a social/working hub. With an architecture background, Kyle is always looking at the elements that lie in “the space in between” people, places, and technology.

Than Baardson

Using What You're Good At To Change The World

Director and Co-Founder of Unseen Ministries, Than’s passion for justice and desire to see the creative arts applied in the mission and nonprofit worlds prompted him to search for a solution to the issues of sustainable funding and awareness. Unseen Ministries is a creative media and marketing nonprofit whose mission is to equip groups with the tools they need to achieve financial sustainability. Unseen focuses on ending human trafficking, fighting hunger and supporting orphans. Based in Fargo, N.D., Unseen is currently working with groups throughout Asia and utilizes a global network of artists.

April Schnell

The Special Skills of Autism

April Schnell wasn’t sure how she fit in the world of work. She got her B.S. in Chemical Engineering and worked in the textile and surfactant industries, where she enjoyed solving problems and managing projects, but couldn’t get excited about it. She earned a Master’s in Education and worked as a career counselor. She loved helping people find employment, but didn’t find it fulfilling. Then, April had a child with autism, and her world changed. April realized that her educational and professional background combined with her experience as a parent has prepared her to be a specialist; a specialist who could help people with autism discover that they are specialists too. April is a member of the Executive Leadership Team of Specialisterne Minnesota, a local division of Specialisterne, an international non-profit that trains and employs people with autism so they can leverage their unique skills as information technology specialists.

Irene Fernando

Why Not Me?

Irene Fernando is a proud Filipino-American who grew up in Carson, CA (near Los Angeles). She moved to Minneapolis in 2003 to attend the University of Minnesota. She has a Bachelors of Science in Business and is pursuing her Masters of Education in the Youth Development Leadership program. Irene is co-founder and co-executive director for Students Today Leaders Forever (STLF), a youth organization most known for its community service and leadership road trips called Pay it Forward Tours. Irene currently serves on the Youthprise board, the Carlson School Alum board, and as an officer for her sorority’s Alumnae Chapter. She believes strongly in the power of each and every young person to make an incredible difference in the world!

Mark Olson


Mark Olson (aka Mojo) has three decades of experience in the communications profession in roles as a graphic designer, art director, brand manager, and executive communications manager. His e X perience ranges from working with small business clients at a local advertising agency, managing a small software company brand during rapid growth that included multiple acquisitions, to managing the global launch of a new Microsoft brand that included advertising in 39 countries. One thing has always driven Mojo’s creative problem-solving skills – simplification. Simplicity is at the heart of great design and great brands. Simplicity is also at the heart of a satisfying life. A native and life-long Fargoan, Mark encourages others to “bloom where you’re planted”. In an age when it’s possible to live and work anywhere, why not live and work in your hometown? Go see the world. Then go back home and make it better.

David Batcheller

Return the Governance of the People

Batcheller is Appareo Systems’ Chief Operating Officer. Prior to taking on the role of COO, Batcheller held several other positions at Appareo Systems, including Program Manager for Appareo’s ALERTS system for flight data recording on light and legacy aircraft. The ALERTS system has been recognized with several major aerospace industry awards, including Aviation Week & Space Technology’s Product Breakthrough of the Year in 2007. Most recently, Batcheller served as Appareo’s Director of Quality, Process and Program Management, where he oversaw all of Appareo’s development and quality programs, certification and regulatory compliance efforts. Batcheller is a native of West Fargo and a graduate of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.

Deb DeWitz

Live A Life Without Regret

Deb DeWitz is a social worker and family therapist who worked with children and families for many years. She then began teaching social work, passing on what she has learned from her clients and her own life, to the next generation of social workers. While her degrees were important (BSW, MSW), she firmly believes that we are each given “learning moments” throughout our lifetime. If we can step away from our view of the world to learn about someone else’s, or even to change our own, this new way of seeing the world will enrich us. The degrees that impacted her the most were these: “MRS” (twice married) and “MOM” (three kids). She is a public speaker known for her humorous and “down- to-earth style.

Russel Peterson

Think Globally, Play Locally

An accomplished classical/jazz saxophonist, bassoonist and composer, Russell Peterson holds degrees from Youngstown State University (Ohio), Le Conservatoire de Bordeaux (France), and Bowling Green State University (Ohio), where he studied with some of the top saxophonists in the world. Winner of numerous prizes, including the top prize at the 1995 International Geneva Saxophone Competition, (Switzerland), and first place winner of the MTNA National Music Competition, Mr. Peterson has soloed with orchestras in the United States as well as Europe and Russia. Russell’s performing has led him to play with groups such as: The Hard-Bop Saxophone Quartet, the F-M Symphony wind Quintet, the F-M Symphony, The Funk commission, The Excelsior! Trio, and The Post-Traumatic Funk Syndrome. Russell has recorded dozens of CDs as a sideman and leader, and as a composer, Russell is much in demand, being commissioned by musicians all over the world. He is currently professor of saxophone, bassoon and jazz at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN.

Brian Lee

Designing For Purpose

As an architect and urban designer, Brian Lee considers himself a pragmatist in search of the poetic. He brings a hands-on design approach to his work—maintaining a full integration of the natural and built environment, and providing meaning to those who live and work in the spaces. Along with context, culture, and landscape, a fundamental question that guides Mr. Lee’s work is how buildings—their aesthetics, programs, and tectonics—enrich the experiences they engender. Mr. Lee seeks to constantly explore new and appropriate ways to build structures of lasting value and impact and has designed unique, landmark projects across the globe, including East and Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Mr. Lee’s design for Jinling Tower in Nanjing, China, was featured in the 2004 Venice Biennale. His work has also received numerous awards and has been published in architectural journals in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Kathy Neset

Fracking and the Bakken Formation

Kathy Neset is President of Neset Consulting Service, Inc., which provides well site geologic/ geosteering services to the oil industry since 1980. She received a B.A. in Geology from Brown University and then went to work as a seismologist in Michigan. Neset worked for Core Laboratories in Texas and Wyoming. The following year, she moved to North Dakota to become an independent petroleum geologist. She is owner of Neset Farms and formerly worked as a science teacher, school board member and business manager. Currently she manages wellsite geology and mudlogging crews throughout the Bakken and Northern Rockies Region.

Perry Rust

As a young boy Perry could be found climbing trees, grain bins, and the barn roof on his family farm. His appetite for altitude pointed him to the mountains and has since climbed mountains in Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, Argentina, and Washington. In his quest for summit tags, he discovered that reaching a summit is secondary to the experiences and lessons learned climbing up and down mountains.