Innovation, ideas, and ingenuity are the muscles we have to change the world for the better. VANTalks is a growing ecosystem of thought leaders who endeavor to stand on the leading edge of local and global change. We are a community of innovators, professionals, social entrepreneurs, and agents of change.
Featuring a vibrant forum of live speakers who are daily catalysts for passionate change, VANTalks is calling the curious, the driven, and the passionate to join us in a celebration of ideas that inspire change throughout Vancouver and, in turn, the world.
A Pacific Northwest favorite since 1961, Burgerville is an innovative and industry-leading quick service restaurant company with 40 locations throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington where Jeff Harvey serves as President and CEO. 1,300 employees strong, Burgerville provides guests fresh, great‐tasting food all day every day from breakfast to late‐night snacks based in its mission “serve with love.” Prior to his current tenure at Burgerville, Harvey dedicated more than 30 years to a career in the energy industry.
Beth Harrington is a Grammy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker whose work focuses on American themes – particularly culture, music, art and history. She is a musician and singer most noted for her years in the band Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers. Her most recent film, The Winding Stream, about the musical Carter and Cash Family has screened in over 70 venues in the US and Canada, has appeared in over 30 festivals worldwide and will soon be available on DVD and major digital platforms.
Robert LaCosse currently serves as a User Experience Designer and Subject Matter Expert in games for Intel. His educational background includes industrial design, English, education, playwriting, and addiction studies. With a considerable number of large scale game deployments under his belt, he is constantly working to expand the parameters of play in service of creating immersive experiences and player delight.
James T. Wood is a professional author and speaker who passionately believes that ideas have the power to transform the world, that conversations have the power to spread ideas, and that people have the power to start meaningful conversations. He writes and speaks to share ideas, spark conversations, and inspire people. James and his wife Andrea have lived and traveled all over the globe, but can’t escape the pull of living where the Columbia and Willamette meet.
Jane is a landscape architect and ecologist who has a passion for getting kids (of all ages) outdoors to learn, play and explore. She has worked on numerous projects throughout southeast Michigan and Clark County creating natural environments that encourage exploration. She has worn many hats during her 10 years in Clark County including parks, environmental education and Nature Play projects.
Amey Laud – Founder and Board Member, Hiperware Labs is an entrepreneur whose previous ventures include movie-restoration software maker (Revival, co-founder, acquired by NASDAQ-listed Acterna), HeliXense (bioinformatics software, co-founder) and Genvea Biosciences (bioinformatics consulting collective, CEO, acquired). Amey has a Degree in Computer Engineering from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and was a recipient of the SIA-NOL scholarship.
With a love of Vancouver and a combined 20 years of experience working in, for, and as small business owners, Chelsea Gaya and Claire Shomphe bring a unique look at business ownership. Together, they own Spitfire Small Business consulting specializing in “Being the help they wish they had” for other business owners in the Vancouver area.
Pamela is a Senior Creative Director at the Vancouver-based agency, AHA, where she’s lucky enough to make art-as-business her job. She’s also a writer, visual artist and all around creative instigator. Finding four-leaf clovers is her superpower.
Recycling cannot be our only step in the journey to going green; it should be a last resort, not the first and final step. After working for the local garbage hauler for 7 years, Terra Heilman knows more about waste than most people. She's starting a "prosumption" movement to address our waste lines, our "stuff" and living the good life.
Steve Lorenz is a 30 year veteran teacher, a Vancouver School District teacher of the Year and has a Rotary exchange teacher to India. As the long time Horticulture teacher and FFA Advisor at Hudson’s Bay High School he has helped lead many students to wins in contests from FFA to Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow STEM competition.
Cedric Hitzman is a senior at Hudson’s Bay High School where he is the president of FFA, the Architecture, Construction and Environmental Science Magnet Mycology Lab Manager and the National Winner of the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow STEM competition.