TEDxJacksonville 2015: "Into the Machine" Speakers

August 23, 2015 1 comment Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

TEDxJacksonville announces the on-stage lineup of speakers and performers for the annual TEDxJacksonville conference. The day-long conference, themed “Into The Machine,” will take place Saturday, October 24, at WJCT and will host an audience of more than 300 for live Talks and musical performances.

Rick DuCharme of Jacksonville — Founder and Executive Director of First Coast No More Homeless Pets

DuCharme came to the animal welfare world with a background in sales, marketing and management working in the heavy equipment industry.  He started in animal welfare by volunteering at various shelters and rescues and spent years observing and researching the issues.  In his travels across the country, he observed what other communities were doing in animal welfare.
In 2001, Jacksonville Mayor Delaney formed a Mayor’s Task Force for Animal Control.  At that time, Jacksonville was reputed to be one of the worst large cities in the nation regarding animal welfare—more than 33,000 animals were entering the shelter each year, and 23,000 (mostly healthy) animals were euthanized.   DuCharme asked to be appointed to the Task Force and was a strong advocate for an effective spay/neuter program.  

When no other agency or group came forward to start a 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.  Later, he left his sales job to run FCNMHP.
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, with programs designed to keep animals in the home and out of the shelters, such as operating a low-cost veterinary clinic, a pet food bank for low-income pet owners and an outreach program in low-income neighborhoods.  FCNMHP also has adoptions programs, organizing and sponsoring quarterly Mega Adoption events, where upwards of 1,100 dogs and cats from shelters and rescues throughout northeast Florida and southern Georgia find homes in a single week-end.  These are among the largest adoption events in the country.  FCNMHP also operates a program called Teaching Animals and Inmates Life Skills (TAILS) where hard-to-adopt shelter dogs are placed in four Florida prisons to be trained, socialized and cared for by inmates.

These programs have made a huge difference.  Euthanasia rates have dropped by more than 95% since FCNMHP’s founding.  Jacksonville and neighboring Nassau County are now no-kill (defined as a 90% or better live release rate).  DuCharme is now focusing on the rest of northeast Florida.  He has formed the Northeast Florida No-Kill Association, made up of animal welfare groups from 12 northeast Florida counties.  

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 in Jacksonville.

Jordan Edelheit of Cincinnati — Founder and co-organizer of TEDxOhioStateUniversity and co-organizer of TEDxMarionCorrectional, the first TEDx event held in a prison

While in undergrad at Ohio State, Jordan Edelheit 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 of Washington, D.C. — Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and a citizen of the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma

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. Kevin began as director in December 2007.

Born in 1955 in Lawton, Oklahoma, he is the son of Bill and Maggie Gover, civil rights and Indian rights activists. Kevin left Oklahoma in 1970 to attend St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire. He attended Princeton University, receiving his bachelor’s degree in public and international affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University in 1978. He then attended the University of New Mexico College of Law and received his juris doctor degree in 1981.

Following law school, Kevin served as a law clerk in the chambers of the Honorable Juan G. Burciaga, United States District Judge for the District of New Mexico. He then joined the Washington, D.C. offices of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Kampelman, where his practice was limited to representing Indian tribes, tribal agencies, and Alaska Native corporations.
Kevin returned to New Mexico in 1986, where he established a small Native American-owned law firm that specialized in federal Indian law. Gover, Stetson, Williams & West, P.C. 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, Kevin was nominated by President Clinton to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in the United States Department of the Interior. He was confirmed by the United States Senate in November 1997 and served in that capacity until January 2001. As the senior executive of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, he won praise for his efforts to rebuild long-neglected Indian schools and expand tribal and BIA police forces throughout the country. 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, Kevin resumed the practice of law at Steptoe & Johnson, LLP in Washington, D.C. In 2003, he joined the faculty at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at
Arizona State University and served on the faculty of the university’s Indian Legal Program, one of the largest such programs in the country. He taught courses in federal Indian law, administrative law, and statutory interpretation, as well as an undergraduate course in American Indian policy.

Throughout his professional career, Kevin has given freely of his time, serving on several committees of the Federal Bar Association and the American Bar Association. He has served as well on a number of non-profit boards, including the Southwestern Association for Indian Art, Futures for Children, and the Grand Canyon Trust. He has also served on the boards of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas and the Salt River Development Company, an enterprise of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

Tim Harris of Albuquerque — Owner of Tim’s Place and one of the first and only men with Down syndrome to own a restaurant; gained national acclaim via a viral video of his work at Tim’s Place

The famous quote from Walt Disney, “If you can dream it, you can do it” has been the driving force behind the life of Tim Harris. Born in 1986 with Down syndrome, Tim’s life has been defined by exceeding expectations an inspiring those around him.

As a 2004 graduate of Eldorado High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Tim was elected homecoming king by the highest margin of votes in school history. During graduation week, Tim was also voted Student of the Year by the administration, faculty, and staff.

In his teen years, Tim began to dream of owning his own restaurant. He began working in local restaurants, including Red Robin, where the management had tangible proof that revenue went up during Tim’s shifts. In the fall of 2004, Tim moved to Roswell, New Mexico to attend Eastern New Mexico University. Tim lived in a college dorm and graduated in 2008 with certificates in Food Service, Office Skills and Restaurant Hosting. After college, Tim worked as a host at Applebee’s restaurant and spent time living aboard a sailboat with his parents and traveling throughout the Bahamas.

In October of 2010, the next chapter began and with the help of his family, Tim’s dream of owning his own business came true. Tim’s Place opened its doors in Albuquerque, New Mexico as one of the first and only restaurants to be owned by a man with Down syndrome. Tim’s Place is open daily, serving breakfast, lunch, and hugs.

Tim’s hugs have reached everyone from music legend Stevie Wonder to the President of the United States. To this day, Tim has given out more than 70,000 hugs and has received wishes from over 38 countries. Tim has also launched a powerful speaking career, travelling across the country telling his story and inspiring all those who cross his path.

Tim’s successful determination to own a restaurant, live a happy life and inspire others has caught the attention of people from all over the world. Tim was recently interviewed on The View and has been featured in People Magazine, CBS Evening News / Sunday Morning, America Online, ABC News, NBC Today Show, NBC Nightly News, National Public Radio, and on CNN News.

In order to truly share his success, in August of 2014 Tim started Tim’s Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a newly formed New Mexico non-profit corporation that aims to inspire people from all over the world to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives via entrepreneurship and inclusion in their communities. Tim’s goal is to help other individuals with intellectual disabilities start or grow their own small businesses. Tim believes that anyone, with the right support, can achieve their dreams.

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