Quick-hitting pitches presented at Ignite Carroll
Participants in Westminster event were limited to five minutes each
Heather Cobun, Carroll County Times
9:58 p.m. EDT, April 23, 2015
Carroll County residents were educated on everything from juggling to main streets to the Cold War on Thursday night at the Carroll Arts Center as presenters accepted the challenge to spark discussion and interest in just five minutes at Ignite Carroll.
Ignite is an international movement encouraging communities to come together as people share their passions — with the caveat that presentations consist of 20-slide presentations that change slides every 15 seconds for a total of five minutes.
“With Ignite, you get it quick and it’s interesting and you’re getting the highlights,” said Kati Townsley, executive director of the Carroll Technology Council, which organizes the event.
“It’s quite the fast-paced show,” said Vince Buscemi, chairman of the Carroll Technology Council. “Enlighten us, but make it quick.”
Thirteen pitches were accepted for Thursday’s event, Townsley said, the largest field yet.
Westminster attorney Kathy Rus said she presented last year, and despite telling herself it was too stressful to repeat the experience, she found herself registering again this year.
Rus said she spent hours making her slides about advocating on behalf of loved ones with dementia — and even more time practicing and cutting down the presentation to fit the tight schedule.
“I was actually this afternoon still changing things,” she said.
Randy Linville, a retired engineer, said his initial presentation on beekeeping, a 20-year hobby, was closer to 15 minutes than five.
“If you start talking with a beekeeper, you’ll talk for hours,” he said.
Kelly Heck, a photographer and Web designer with an enthusiasm for juggling, opened Thursday’s show.
Heck explained the basics of juggling, beginning with only one ball, building up to the cascade pattern.
“Fortunately I can tell you that three balls is just as easy as two, but unfortunately it doesn’t stop,” Heck said.
Heck recommended that beginners juggle something that can be easily held in the palm of the hand and keep throws within sight because juggling requires the use of peripheral vision.
“I’ve seen people learn how to juggle in five minutes,” she said.
Westminster resident Drew Richardson, founder of Lucidity Research, took the audience back in time to 1995, when he was researching the Internet and only 27 percent of adults had a computer at home, 30 percent of whom used America Online to access the Web.
Richardson drew laughs when he said many users turned off graphics to increase load times and Netscape Navigator was the preferred browser.
In 1995, 57 percent of those surveyed had no interest in accessing news remotely.
“I imagine it has some appeal if you’re a real news junkie and need to be connected all the time,” he said.
For small-business owner Michelle Sholund, main street communities were the subject of her passionate presentation. Sholund owns By the Bay Botanicals on East Main Street.
“Gushers” who lavish the products and the atmosphere with praise are all well and good, Sholund said, but sales are what sustain small businesses.
“All those little dollars add up,” she said.
Sholund gave practical tips for how to be more engaged with local communities, from exploring the area through visitor’s centers to choosing a local cafe for lunch over a chain restaurant.
Mount Airy resident Bob Cage became interested in personal health records when his mother became ill and he needed to lug records around to keep doctors informed.
PHR, or personal health records, provide accurate information sharing and reduce the need to fill out seemingly endless forms.
“It should contain anything and everything that will allow a health professional to treat you at a moment’s notice,” he said.
Even a perfectly healthy person should have a PHR, Cage said, and it should explain what “healthy” means to the individuals.
McDaniel College professor Bryn Upton explained the importance of finding a common language to speak with his students to engage them in discussions.
“College students are not always that easy to engage,” he said.
Upton said he compared James Bond and Jason Bourne to show the shift in American values and ideologies in the aftermath of the Cold War.
The Bond films followed the arc of the Cold War, Upton said. Bond is a government man and the job comes first.
Jason Bourne, however, is an outsider and battles against his own government.
“He’s the perfect character to represent the post-Cold War world we live in,” he said.