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Third Annual TEDx Reno Features More Local Voices

Courtesy TEDxReno.com

The day-long speaker conference called TEDx Reno returns for its third year to the Lear Theater downtown, with more local voices than ever before. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey tells us more about the lineup. 

The theme for this year's TEDx is Resurgence, capitalizing on the momentum the city has gained since landing new tech companies and rebranding itself as a college town. 

Doug Erwin is a co-organizer of the event. 

"We're trying to cover topics that are relevant to Reno now as we come out of the economic downturn and look to the future. So what are the things we need to grapple with as a community?"

Erwin says they received nearly 100 applications this year and whittled them down to 16. He says the emphasis is much more local with the majority of speakers from the area. 

"I think back three years ago, the original idea was that we really needed to communicate to Reno the great ideas and the talent that we have here, and then use the TED platform to showcase those ideas and great ideas coming out of Reno to the rest of the world."

TEDx is an independent offshoot of the Technology, Education and Design conference that features presenters from a variety of backgrounds speaking on cultural and scientific topics. 

Although this year's event is sold out, you can watch a live stream of the event online at TedXReno.com

One of the speakers will be local Matthew Platshorn who founded a national nonprofit called the Prison Recovery Network to help former inmates transition back into civilian life. I caught up with Matthew to learn more. 

"What the Prison Recovery Network does is based on our belief that the most important factor in success after prison is relationships," says Platshorn. "Positive, healthy and meaningful relationships with stable people in the community."

Platshorn says he knows the challenges of transitioning back into society first-hand.

"When I was three and a half, my father was sentenced to 64 years in federal prison for selling marijuana," he says. "And then finally, and unfortunately, when I was 35, I got into trouble myself and as a result, I spent a little over two years in prison here in Nevada."

His desire to prevent the type of pain he went through after prison motivated him to share his story in a TEDx talk this year. 

"You can feel so lost and so embarrassed and so alone," he says. "People don't even know where to start when something like this happens, and I want to turn my experiences ... into something positive for other people."

Julia Ritchey is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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