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Odessa becomes TEDx location

As the center of the nation’s oil and gas production the Permian Basin is accustomed to being in the spotlight. Thursday afternoon officials from the Chamber of Commerce announced a new project that will, again, turn eyes from around the world this way as Odessa has now been designated a TEDx location. The first TEDx event is already being planned for late February.



The idea to bring TEDx to Odessa came from Ector County ISD’s chief innovation officer Jason Osborne, who himself has been part of two TEDx talks in Ashburn, Virginia. “As a participant in this year's Leadership Odessa (a program sponsored by the Odessa Chamber of Commerce) I committed to bring something new to our community that would help highlight novel ideas and showcase our community's strength to a global audience,” said Osborne. “After giving two TEDx talks in the DC metro area, I noticed how the TED circle makes an impact on community.”



“It’s very exciting to announce Odessa as a site for TEDx talks,” said Reneé Earls, President/CEO of the Odessa Chamber of Commerce. “The fact that this idea was born from a Leadership Odessa participant is no surprise, as that is what this program is all about:  finding a place in the community for one to serve. The future TEDx talks will be one more reason for Odessa to be on the map and for the world to see the enormous resources we have to offer.”



TED Talks began more than a decade ago, and since then this idea-sharing platform has become an international phenomenon. Focused on technology, entertainment and design –with the intent of sharing great ideas – TED Talks were born from the original TED Conferences of the 1980s.



Out of the TED Talks movement has come the TEDx event, TED-like talks planned and executed independently by a local community. It is made up of a series of short presentations, each less than 18 minutes, over a variety of different subjects. The live presentations are delivered before a small audience, but videotaped and posted online for the world to see. That is the beauty of TED – sharing novel ideas with the world.



According to the TED website ( more than 13,000 TEDx events have been held in more than 150 countries. Becoming part of that network draws those world-wide audiences to Odessa and the Permian Basin.



Officially, the Odessa site will be known as TEDx OptimistPark. The licensing process requires a physical location in the community. Optimist Park reflects the tenor of this project; the many accomplishments of this area’s past and amazing potential it holds for the future. The first TEDx OptimistPark is scheduled for Saturday, February 24, inside the Library Lecture Hall at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. The theme for that event is Moonshot Madness.



ECISD Superintendent of Schools Tom Crowe believes the TEDx designation will be a catalyst to bring the West Texas community together. “When Jason Osborne was hired, he asked what I expected of him.  I told him I wanted him to take our students and the District where we have never been before,” said Mr. Crowe. “This is an example of taking the entire community, in partnership with the District, where it has never been before.”



“The primary focus of the TEDx talks here in Odessa is to show the diversity of industry, entrepreneurship, education, science, athletics and fine arts,” said Osborne. “Although oil and gas is the leading industry in this area, Odessa has an abundance of resources in many fields.”



Follow the development of this exciting venture at and on Twitter at @TEDxOptimistPark.


Representatives from the Chamber of Commerce and ECISD the press conference announcement.