World-Class Juggler Joins Design Experts at 5th Annual TAD Talks

Badge: 2018-23 Strategic Plan: Priority 3Bemidji State University’s fifth annual TAD Talks will feature “America’s Got Talent” juggler Charles Peachock, two-time world champion fancy dancer Larry Yazzie, and a live sculpture construction by local artist Albert Belleveau.

The TAD Talks presentation series, modeled after the famed TED Talks series, is a production of BSU’s School of Technology, Art & Design. It brings together live presenters from multiple disciplines, a “community of brilliant visionaries involved in our most creative industries.” TAD Talks aims to create understanding and help attendees find meaning in technology, art, design, creativity, innovation and the entire process of life.

TAD Talks is set for May 2 at 6 p.m. in the Main Theatre of BSU’s Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the event is open free to the public.

Albert Belleveau’s live sculpture construction will take place outside of Bangsberg prior to the TAD Talks presentations.

“This event spans many different topics,” Sachel Josefson, assistant professor of technology, art & design, said. “It will engage and immerse guests through meaningful ideas that will shape their lives, challenge their assumptions and maybe even change their perspective.“

The 2019 TAD Talks is an entirely student-run production and has no external sponsors.

2019 TAD Talks presenters

Larry Yazzie — Native Pride dancer
Rhiannon Andersen — “Fake It Until You Make It Is Bad Advice”
Randy Acker — “Making the Most of Opportunities”
Justin Dvorak — “Top 5 Things To Do Now Before You Graduate”
Dana Esposito — “Puzzle Pieces”
Brian Baker — “Start at the End”
Tao Her — “The Best Design Doesn’t Always Win!”
David Walens — “Changing Your Mind” Charles Peachock — “Catch the Impossible”

Musical performances by:
Daniel Will & Mattea Elhard
Diyou Yu

Metal sculpture by:
Albert Belleveau

Larry Yazzie — World Champion Fancy Dancer

Larry Yazzie and the Native Pride Dancers will entertain the TAD Talks audience with their unique and award-winning artistry.

Yazzie, an international lecturer, educator, performer, and world champion fancy dancer, was raised on the Meskwaki Indian Settlement in central Iowa and began dancing at the age of seven. Throughout his childhood, Yazzie was instructed on the traditions of the Meskwaki people, including the flamboyant and energetic fancy dance and the Northern Plains style of singing.

As a dancer and singer, Yazzie has performed throughout North America as well as South America and Europe. Formed in 2003 and directed by Yazzie, the St. Paul, Minn.-based Native Pride Dancers strive to educate and entertain audiences of all ages throughout the world on the beauty, skill, and majesty of American Indian music and dance.

Yazzie has performed at BSU on several occasions, most recently in 2016.

Rhiannon Andersen — Chief Marketing Officer & Co-Owner, Steelhead

Rhiannon Andersen is the chief marketing officer and co-owner at Steelhead Productions, located in Las Vegas, Nevada, which specializes in custom rental exhibits for the country’s leading brands. She oversees all of Steelhead’s business development, as well as internal and external communications. Andersen has helped grow the business by more than 600 percent and land Steelhead on Inc.’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the country.

She also has served as president of the Las Vegas chapter of the Exhibit Designer Producers Association and is the current president of EO Las Vegas, a global organization for entrepreneurs.

Anderson also presented at the TAD Talks in 2018.

Randy Acker — President & Chief Operating Officer, EXHIBITOR Media Group

Randy Acker is the president and chief operating officer of EXHIBITOR media group, located in Rochester, Minn., and an adjunct instructor in BSU’s TAD School.

With more than 20 years of experience at EXHIBITOR, Acker has been involved in all aspects of the group’s sales and marketing program, magazine and trade show promotion, operations, finance, strategic business development and industry relations.

He also is active in numerous facets of the exhibit industry, providing support and guidance to corporate marketers, exhibit builders, agencies, suppliers, venues and show organizers.

Acker was emcee for the 2017 TAD Talks.

Justin Dworak — Vice President of Creative, STAR

Justin Dworak is the vice president of creative at STAR, a Minneapolis-based experiential marketing agency.

A 1997 BSU graduate with a degree in design technology, Dworak leads a team which creates for many of Minnesota’s most well-known corporations, including 3M, the Mall of America, Pella Windows & Doors, Red Wing Shoes and Target.

Dvorak, a former Experiential Designers & Producers Association Designer of the Year, is also the association’s university affiliation co-chair and is a frequent guest lecturer and student mentor at both Bemidji State and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

Dana Esposito — Vice President of Creative, Elevation3D

Dana Esposito is the vice president of creative at Elevation3D, a design, production and face-to-face marketing firm with offices in Los Angeles and Boston. Esposito has more than 22 years of experience in the exhibit design and trade show industry and has won numerous awards for her work and industry leadership — including an Experiential Designers & Producers Association Designer of the Year award.

Esposito has been closely involved with BSU’s TAD School as a member of its advisory council, as an adjunct instructor, and as a portfolio reviewer. She is co-chair of the Experiential Designers & Producers Association’s University Affiliations Committee and manages its membership program. She is currently on the association’s national board of directors.

Esposito also presented at the inaugural TAD Talks event in 2015.

Brian Baker — Vice President, Highmark TechSystems

Brian Baker is vice president of Highmark TechSystems, a Fort Wayne, Ind.-based supplier of modular architecture systems for exhibit designers, producers and event agencies. He has worked with many high-profile clients including Coca-Cola, Intel, Best Buy, The Home Depot, FedEx, Anheuser-Busch, Philips, Michelin, Volvo, The Weather Channel, State Farm and the Atlanta Braves.

An environment designer since 1995, Baker also spent 17 years as the creative director for Atlanta-based MC².

Baker has a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University.

Tao Her — Executive Vice President of Design, CEP

Tao Her is the executive vice president of design for Chicago Exhibit Productions, Inc. and has more than 20 years of experience in the experiential design industry. He has used his background in architectural and industrial design to do brand communication and interpretive environment work for some of the larger exhibit design houses in the U.S. and Canada.

David Walens — President, Exploring Inc.

Dave Walens is president of Exploring Inc., the parent company of several Atlanta-based companies supporting the event, trade show, experiential, entertainment and flooring industries. He has more than 30 years of experience in developing and growing businesses, with extensive experience in exhibit design and construction, event fabrication, graphic production, flooring production and project management.

Charles Peachock — World-Renowned Juggler

Two-time gold medal winner and world-champion juggler Charles Peachock was a quarterfinalist in Season 6 of “America’s Got Talent.” He has broken through traditional barriers and moved juggling from circus tents to theater venues worldwide. Regarded as the world’s leading technical juggler and renowned for his innovative performances, Peachock combines artistic routines, unique concepts and props with comedic moments into truly memorable performances.

Albert Belleveau — Sculptor, Rock Iron Art

Puposky, Minn.-based stone and steel sculptor Albert Belleveau will be crafting a sculpture prior to the TAD Talks presentations. Belleveau’s Rock Iron Art is an extension of his life-long love affair with stone and steel, two of northern Minnesota’s most plentiful resources. He uses the materials to craft works which depict humorous life forms, unique functional furniture, art structures and decorations. The stones used in his work are often collected during kayaking trips on Lake Superior.

Belleveau also participated in the 2016 TAD Talks.

Musical Performance: Diyou Yu

Diyou Yu, a junior design major at Bemidji State who hails from China, will perform a song entitled “Combatting Typhoon” on the guzheng, a traditional 21-stringed Chinese instrument with a history dating back 2,500 years. Yu began playing the guzheng when she was in the third grade.

Musical Performance: Dan Will, accompanied by Mattea Elhard

Dan Will is a freelance musician and who works as an accompanist and performance coach in the BSU Department of Music. A graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., with a degree in music theory and composition, Will keeps a studio at Bemidji’s Headwaters School of Music and the Arts, in addition to a private studio. He is also involved in community and summer theater, serving as an accompanist and music director for numerous shows.

Will will be accompanied by Mattea Elhard, a BSU senior from Northome, Minn., who is majoring in liberal education and liberal studies.

MN State logoBemidji State University, located amid the lakes and forests of northern Minnesota, occupies a wooded campus along the shore of Lake Bemidji. Enrolling more than 5,100 students, Bemidji State offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and eight graduate degrees encompassing arts, sciences and select professional programs. BSU is a member of the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities and has a faculty and staff of more than 550. The university’s Shared Fundamental Values include environmental stewardship, civic engagement and international and multicultural understanding. For more, visit or find us at BemidjiState on most of your favorite social media networks.