Follow This, TEDxColumbus


[by Kendra Hovey]

Does the goateed man behind the medical “dummy” in this photograph from the Sunday Columbus Dispatch look familiar?

Yes, that is Reade Harpham.

The industrial designer who leads the human-centric design team at Battelle was also on the first ever roster of TEDxColumbus speakers.

That was in 2009.

In 2011, TEDxColumbus presenter Alex Bandar reminded us of Harpham’s inventiveness in his own talk, “The Need to Make.”

Not only Harpham, other “alumni” recently in the media glow (traditional, social or otherwise) include Theresa Flores, Barbara Fant and Michael Wilkos.

In an occasional series, of which this is the first, FOLLOW THIS will collect and share newsworthy moments in the lives of TEDxColumbus community members.

• For Harpham, the recent Dispatch article highlights his work for Battelle testing medical devices in “the wild,” so to speak, scrutinizing their functionality when in the hands of real people (end-users) in real world situations (end-use). An excerpt from the article:

“You should know what the users are going to do, you should know what the errors could be, what the misuse should be, and (you) should have designed that out of the system as you go,” Harpham said.

• Publicity is part of Theresa Flores’ mission to bring awareness (and an end) to human trafficking. She’s told her story over and over again on stages and in front of cameras (and at TEDxColumbus 2011) but earlier this year it was Ohio Governor John Kasich who shared her story as part of his State of the State speech, then presented her with one of the first ever Courage Awards:

Gov Kasich- The Governor’s Courage Awards Clip from TEDxColumbus on Vimeo.

A few months later, Flores was again with Kasich, this time in the Governor’s Office, as he signed the executive order creating the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force:

Gov Kasich-Fighting Human Trafficking in Ohio Clip from TEDxColumbus on Vimeo.

• If you saw Michael Wilkos’ 2010 TEDxTalk or if you read about him here you know that his enthusiasm for the city of Columbus tends a bit towards the unbridled. Imagine, then, how he must have felt last month when presented with an award with the following inscription:

This award is presented to Michael in recognition of his efforts advancing the mission of the Neighborhood Design Center and his unending demonstration of citizenship to Columbus. We thank him for his dedication to our organization and his selfless contributions to our community’s neighborhoods.

Al Berthold Executive Director of The Neighborhood Design Center presented the Busser Award to Wilkos on August 6, 2012 (looking on is past NDC President Ruth Gless).

• Barbara Fant, who we featured in this post back in April, received a nice surprise last month. Invited to The Columbus Foundation on the 9th of August, she walked into Davis Hall to see her own words etched onto the wall. Next to the delightfully surprised Fant is Foundation President and CEO Doug Kridler.



The excerpt is from her poem “Today Beginning Again”—commissioned by The Foundation and shared at the Columbus Bicentennial. You can watch it here:

Photo of Reade Harpham by Tom Dodge, Columbus Dispatch; Photos of Michael Wilkos and Barbara Fant by Nick George, The Columbus Foundation

Kendra Hovey is editor and head writer at Follow This. On Twitter @KendraHovey, she blogs at