Monday, May 28, 2018
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TEDx tries to re-imagine Toledo’s future


Will Lucas of ProMedica and owner of license for TEDx Toledo.

Malcolm Cunningham Enlarge

Will Lucas knows first hand that Toledoans don’t do enough to celebrate their city, but rather than shrug his shoulders and join the stagnation, as the license holder for TEDx Toledo he’s helping to initiate change for a better city.

“I was born and raised in Toledo,” said the administrative fellow at Pro-Medica, who handles special projects for the office of Randy Oostra, CEO. Mr. Lucas is a locally and nationally known marketing, technology, and Web expert.

The second TEDx Toledo is Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the first floor auditorium of the Fifth Third building at One SeaGate downtown.

This year’s theme, reIMAGINE Toledo, features an impressive lineup of speakers — expected to talk for no more than 18 minutes each — and includes recognizable names, others that are somewhat familiar, and some most have never heard of.

TED — an acronym for technology, entertainment, and design — is a global effort that hosts local talks that aim to inspire, motivate, and discuss “ideas worth spreading” which is the organization’s mission.

“Well saturated” with critics, the city has historically been known as a manufacturing hub. But those days are long gone, Mr. Lucas said.

“We don’t know what we are transitioning into, and some people are unsettled as to where we are currently,” said the Rogers High School alumnus who attends the University of Toledo.

Through TEDx, he said, “We’re trying to provide access to ideas for reimagining Toledo. The future of Toledo is not written anywhere. It will be what we make it, and we want to provide food for thought to re-imagine our city.”

Though these “brain spas” — as the day-long or week-long TED events are often labeled — can be overwhelming, “It’s an amazing experience,” Mr. Lucas said.

The speakers “not only have an idea for what the future of Toledo looks like, but are doing something to create that future. It’s important for them to be doing something currently to re-imagine Toledo, whether an artist or in government or in business.

We want them to not only have an idea but to be actively pursuing that.”

While the city undergoes its own transition from what it once was to what it will be, similarly health care is in the same process. That helps explain ProMedica’s involvement as a sponsor. Mr. Lucas said the public wants to hear not only from healthcare leadership, but from others who also help make the whole system work.

There is no public schedule showing when each speaker gives his or her talk, which Mr. Lucas said is intentional.

"We want people to be exposed to experiences outside of their norm. TED is one of the only places you can go see people from different sectors sitting next to each other," he said, citing such examples as finding a CEO seated next to a farmer, an educator by a politician, and an artist by a factory worker. "We want to create dynamic introductions and provide opportunities for some random occurrences."

While all early-bird tickets have sold out, $75 general admission tickets can be purchased online at

The speakers are Mike Beazley, shaker; Jefferson Nelson, artist; Tedd Long, historian; Romules Durant, educator; Taylor Dungjen, Blade journalist; Dan Johnson, initiator; Dean Tartaglia, player; Brian Kennedy, visionary; Mike Osswald, marketer; Dave Beckwith, organizer; Molly R. Thompson, real foodie; Andre Ballard, architect; Crystal Phelps, launch pad; Randy Oostra, leader; Julian Davies, helper; Robert Torres, collaborator; Adam Mahler, connoisseur; Randy Root, strategist; Gabrielle Seay, torchbearer; Dave Schlaudecker, coordinator; Ben Morales, Instagrammer; Paul Sullivan, keeper, and Karen Sirum, scientist.

Contact Rose Russell at: or 419-724-6178.

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