G60 Jonesboro on June 12, 2015
7pm – 9pm @ Brickhouse Grill

IDEA Festival on June 13, 2015
8am – 5pm @ Delta Center AState

What is The Forge IDEA Festival?

The mission of The Forge IDEA Festival is to create a stimulating and invigorating environment for creative, innovative individuals in technology, business, the arts, sciences, agriculture, and philanthropy who will share ideas, raise questions, and inspire thoughts that lead to action.

Previously known as Barcamp Jonesboro, IDEA is a time each year that we gather in a single place, ready to teach, speak, lead, question and answer – all interacting with each other. Taking a step back from our day-to-day routines to delve into an atmosphere of ideas, thought, and discussion.

Our Sponsors


Featured Speakers



Kristen Jeffers – BikeWalkKC, North Carolina Placemaker & “A Black Urbanist”

Kristen was born in Greensboro, NC to two parents who instilled in her the love of learning, the love of telling stories, the love of helping others and the love of her home state and all the elements that make up its environment.

Her thoughts and comments have since been featured in The Atlantic Cities (CityLab), Next City, Sustainable Cities Collective, Streetsblog Network, Yes! Weekly and the (Greensboro) News and Record. She has spoken and served on panels at the Congress for New Urbanism, APA Virginia and a number of other summits, classroom lectures and professional gatherings. In 2014 she launched North Carolina Placebook, a thrice-daily headline email on politics, governance and planning in North Carolina and authored A Black Urbanist her first collection of essays.


Jeff Amerine – Startup Junkie Consulting

Jeff is one of the key leaders nationally involved with the creation of lasting regional venture/startup ecosystems. He has held senior leadership positions in eight startup ventures and three Fortune 500 companies, and has made more than 60 angel investments in early-stage ventures. He now leads Startup Junkie Consulting, a venture catalyst company that helps drive the startup movement in emerging regions.

Jeff served as the Associate Vice Provost, Research and Economic Development and Director of Technology Ventures at the University of Arkansas until leaving to pursue Startup Junkie Consulting full time in January 2015. His work at the University over the past seven years canvased every aspect of the commercialization of life science, biotech, medical devices, healthcare information technology, pharma, and other areas of scientific and technical innovation.


Joel Gordon – Director & CEO of The Launch Pad

Joel Gordon’s experiences over a lifetime are diverse and they have shaped his philosophy on learning and our need to Make.

“As humans,we are all tool users and we are gratified by what we create and accomplish. Simply said, we are all Makers”.

Joel has been an artist, designer and fabricator for film and television. He was a Scenic Lead and engineer at Chicago Scenic Studios, and had the opportunity to travel and work around the world. He has designed and created exhibits for world class museums of art and science and was the Director of Visitor Experience for The Museum of Discovery.He has always worked with three essential tools; his heart, his mind and his hands.

An Arkansas native, he is a leader in the Maker Movement and is the Director and CEO of The Launch Pad (Arkansas’ first Makerspace) in The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub.


John Auker – Delta Cuisine Commercial Kitchen & Business Incubator

Auker has over 25 years of corporate experience in the private sector, working for branded and private label food companies and food distributors.  Marketing, Sales, Supply Chain and General Management are functional areas of expertise.

In 2012, Auker assumed responsibility as the Project Manager for Delta Cuisine Commercial Kitchen and Business Incubator, tasked with responsibility for starting a food business incubator in partnership with Mid South Community College.

Auker also serves on Board of Directors for Arkansas Delta Seeds of Change, and is a member of the Shelby County Food Advisory Council, the Mid South Community College Hospitality Advisory Board, the West Memphis Farmers Market Advisory Board, and also is an independent marketing consultant.


Ted Moskal – Vivione Biosciences

Ted Moskal – is a seasoned executive and accomplished entrepreneur. Since moving to Arkansas in 2003, he has assisted various Arkansas groups in knowledge based job creation. He founded two Arkansas based biosciences companies: Litmus and Vivione Biosciences, taking Vivione to an IPO in 2013 on the Canadian stock exchange.

With the support of a forward thinking family, Ted started his first business at the age of twelve—a landscaping business. At the same time, his younger brother (ten) started a competing landscaping business. The two were forced to merge after about a year by their father. At the time of merger, the two had over a dozen employees and around a 100 customers.

Ted received his Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Penn State University in 1986. After college he was recruited into a number of leadership positions within a variety of technology companies. He moved south in the 1990’s, working for FedEx on aerospace product development and corporate strategy.


Steve Schrantz – Schrantz Law Firm

Schrantz graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2002 with a B.S. in Computer Science. After graduating from Notre Dame, Schrantz served as a Patent Examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Washington D.C.

In 2006, he graduated with honors from the University Of Arkansas School Of Law. While in law school, Schrantz served as a member of the Arkansas Law Review, a member of the Board of Advocates, Vice President of the Student Bar Association, and  Treasurer of Phi Delta Phi.  Schrantz is licensed to practice in the state of Arkansas, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and the District Courts of Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas. His practice concentrates on commercial and intellectual property litigation, as well as the acquisition of patents, trademarks, copyrights and various related services including contracts, licenses and assignments.

Even more speakers!

Dr. Ross Carroll – Arkansas State University

Louis Foreman – Edison Nation

Kelli Listenbee – ASBTDC

Brian Rogers – Catalyst Innovation Accelerator

Robert Bahn – ASBTDC

Joel Gordon – Innovation Hub

Dr. Peter Ako Larbi – Arkansas State University

Start Co. Memphis

More to come!