Episode 30: Brian Mefford, CNX Inc.

Brian Mefford Quote CardNever before have the tools necessary for starting and building companies based on new ideas been so readily available to the masses. Previous barriers such as legal constructs and technology platforms have been widely commoditized and are now largely simplified as small costs of doing start up business.

This presentation is intended to inspire the audience to move beyond ideation to creation from the perspective of an entrepreneur and business founder. With the help of many others throughout his career, Brian Mefford has created 40+ businesses that have run the full gamut from failure to success. In his presentation, Invent Yourself a Job, you will marvel along with him at the technological advances over the last 10 years that have made it possible for companies like Instagram to go from idea to acquisition in 18 months with 16 employees, 130 million customers and a value of $1 billion.

This episode of the Innovation Update features Brian’s presentation from the inaugural IdeaFestival Bowling Green: Invent Yourself a Job.


Episode 29: Kate Jacques, Alltech

Kate Jacques Quote CardMany of the diseases we hear about these days are zoonotic – diseases that transfer from animals to people. Of these diseases, the pathogens most frequently at fault are RNA viruses. These viruses, which include avian influenza, SARS, and HIV, have RNA instead of DNA as their genetic material.

Why zoonotic diseases? Why viruses? The answer lies in our changing relationship with animals and the mercurial nature of the RNA virus. It takes more than a microbe to cause a disease. Alltech’s Director of Nutrition Kate Jacques will look at the ways in which our exploding human population has altered the boundaries between human and animal populations and why the rapidly adaptable RNA virus is the perfect zoonotic pathogen.

This episode of the Innovation Update features Kate’s presentation from the inaugural IdeaFestival Bowling Green: People, Animals and Disease – Perils of a Crowded Planet.


Episode 28: Chris & Andrew, Alone Down There

Chris and Andrew Quote CardToday we live in a world where funding can come from a multitude of sources: friends, family, investors, and now crowdfunding. Alone Down There was fortunate enough to have such an amazing story that supporters on Kickstarter pushed the TV pilot past its funding goals.

The production team was honest with its ideas and expectations and supporters all over the United States jumped on board for the project. That’s what makes crowdfunding unique and is just one reason Alone Down There is a special project.

In this episode of the Innovation Update, Director Chris “Booba” Young and Executive Producer Andrew Swanson will share how their project broke the mold and how they never took no for an answer in their presentation: How to Make a Big TV Pilot on a Not So Big Budget.


Episode 27: Joe Tudor, Hitcents

Joe Tudor Quote CardHis school teachers may hate to hear it, but Hitcents’ Art Director, Joe Tudor, believes his habit of daydreaming helped him land the perfect job. In fact, he claims dreams are the foundation of the company’s success.

In an industry that demands an excess of new ideas, Joe explains how Hitcents stays ahead of the curve while keeping a steady drive of passion behind their work. Learn how the company’s self-described team of “nerds and creative thinkers” put it all together by building from the dream up.

This episode of the Innovation Update features Joe’s presentation from the inaugural IdeaFestival Bowling Green: Building from the Dream Up.


Episode 26: IdeaFestival Bowling Green

podcast featured imageCreativity and innovation is the theme of IdeaFestival Bowling Green (IFBG), a one-day speaker series that will take place Friday, February 28 at the Downing Student Union on WKU’s campus from 8:30 am – 4:15 pm. Sponsored by Innovate Kentucky, IFBG will spotlight innovation happening in Kentucky with nine speakers from organizations such as Hitcents, Alltech, SKyPAC, Kentucky Space, Fruit of the Loom, and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Other speakers include noted author Kim Huston, who’ll be speaking on the movement back toward small towns, and Dana Bowers, the only female member of the Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame and founder of iPay Technologies. In this episode of the Innovation Update, Josh is interviewed by Zack Ryle of The Center for Gifted Studies about IFBG.


Episode 25: Dr. Bruce Kessler, KIEC presenter

Dr. Bruce KesslerThe Kentucky Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference is happening August 29 in Lexington. Dr. Bruce Kessler of the WKU Math Department will be presenting at the conference, and in this episode of the Innovation Update, Josh talks with Bruce about his presentation and how the opportunity to speak at the conference came about. The duo also discuss the overlap in the STEM disciplines and how technology has changed math education at the college level.


Episode 24: Drew Curtis of Fark.com

Drew Curtis
Photo courtesy of
The Moral of The Story Is

Drew Curtis is the founder and administrator of Fark.com, a news and entertainment aggregate website, and the author of It’s Not News, It’s FARK: How Mass Media Tries to Pass off Crap as News. Drew spoke to VAMPY students on July 1, 2013 about innovation and entrepreneurship.

In this episode of the Innovation Update, Dr. Julia Roberts of The Center for Gifted Studies talks with Drew about what impedes and encourages innovation, and how his entrepreneurial journey has unfolded.


Episode 23: STEAM Labs at VAMPY

IMG_6542STEAM Labs (formerly Rube Goldbergineering) is the focus of our third and final pre-VAMPY podcast. From the class description: “People around the world now design and build Rube Goldberg®-style machines to satisfy society’s fascination with the creative contraptions. Apply the engineering design process to construct STEAM Machines™ (chain reaction machines that run on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math concepts) using everyday objects and technology such as motors, sensors, and micro-controllers. You will learn real-world engineering skills, gain experience with systems thinking and multi-team collaboration, and start exploring pathways to better understand careers in engineering.”

In this episode of the Innovation Update, Josh talks with STEAM Labs instructor Dr. Nielsen Pereira about what students can expect in his class and why the arts are a vital addition to STEM.


Episode 22: Problem Solving at VAMPY

Concrete Canoe
Image courtesy of the Engineering Department at WKU

In the second of three podcasts devoted to VAMPY courses sponsored by Innovate Kentucky, the focus shifts to problem solving in Problems You Have Never Solved Before. From the course description: “Have you ever had to build a boat out of concrete? Mail a potato chip? Find a way to clean polluted water? Drop an egg with only a few sheets of paper to safely catch it as it hits the ground? This class is designed to stretch your problem-solving and creative thinking skills. You will be required to solve unique, real-world related problems, and then communicate your processes and findings.”

In this episode of the Innovation Update, Josh talks with instructors Catherine Poteet and Amar Patel about the challenges students can expect in their class and how problem solving fits into the idea of innovation in Kentucky.


Episode 21: Sustainability at VAMPY

7740433076_98b9a3d4b7_bIn the first of three podcasts devoted to VAMPY courses sponsored by Innovate Kentucky, Sustainability takes the spotlight. From the course description: “Sustainability is much more complex than simply adding the buzzword ‘green’ in front of our lifestyle choices. As the population of our planet tops seven billion people, we must consider the social, economic, and environmental implications of our everyday decisions and the effects they have at personal, local, and global levels. Explore how the interplay between patterns of human consumption, natural resource management, economic systems, and cultural norms are shaping our world.”

In this episode of the Innovation Update, Josh talks with instructors David Baxter and Jennifer Sheffield about demystifying the idea of sustainability and how it fits into the idea of innovation, as well as what they hope students take away from the class.