22nd AMXS Airman brings 'Wichitalks' to life
By Senior Airman Colby L. Hardin, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 03, 2016
MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- A 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Airman organized a forum for members of the community to discuss and share various ideas and passions during "Wichitalks" held Jan. 29, at The Labor Party, in Wichita, Kansas.
Senior Airman Kevin Falting, 22nd AMXS crewchief, hosted the TED Talk-style event, which brought a number of presenters came together to share their ideas and viewpoints on various subjects they have a passion for.
"I just got back from deployment and I thought, how could I get back in the swing of things," said Falting. "This was solely an event to share ideas, teach something new and spark conversation."
Each presenter put together a slideshow lasting five minutes with each slide set on a 15 second automatic timer. Approximately 100 people attended the first-ever Wichitalks.
Falting wanted an event where the people had a voice, where they could share their ideas no matter what they were.
"I spoke with a number of people that had expressed interest in a TED Talk-type of event," said Falting. "So seeing the demand for it and seeing the momentum gaining in Wichita, I thought this would be a good opportunity to start it."
Once Falting figured out what people he wanted, he immediately started coordinating with different vendors looking for venues, businesses and anyone who was willing to come up and share their ideas with people with the same mindset.
"I was super impressed," said Senior Master Sgt. David Smith, 22nd Force Support Squadron career assistance advisor. "For a young Airman who just got back from deployment and has to work odd hours to pull together 100 people to show up and share their ideas, completely exceeded my expectations."
Falting did not present during this event; his goal was to organize and help get more involved with the community.
"My biggest rule for the speakers was to teach; not preach," Falting added.
The event was open to the public to come listen in and share their ideas on how to improve living in Wichita.
"Everyone has a goal and a dream," said Smith. "This is one of those places where you can bring your dream."
Setting up this event was challenging due to Falting's work schedule, but he managed to surprise even himself with the amount of interest it received.
"When I first envisioned what it would look like, I imagined a small group of maybe 20 really passionate people," said Falting. "After some of the initial media coverage, the Twitter and Facebook accounts exploded. I just felt grateful to be surrounded by a community of such passionate people, who are willing to give without receiving and who support their community."
Falting hopes that this is just the beginning of something that will evolve into a bigger and greater event that will impact even more people's lives.