For Immediate Release
Sept. 11, 2017
By Bonnie Stevens
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – As the 21st century has ushered in a new era of technological advances that are saving lives, healing injuries, developing sustainable energy, exploring planets, sequencing genomes, propelling communication networks and setting an astounding pace for discovery, the 2017 Flagstaff Festival of Science, Engineering Solutions, will explore innovations that are improving our quality of life and advancing science.
World-class mountaineer and motivational speaker Kyle Maynard is scheduled to kick off Northern Arizona’s 28th annual Flagstaff Festival of Science as the W. L. Gore & Associates Keynote Presenter at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 22, in Northern Arizona University’s Ardrey Auditorium. Maynard has set out to climb some of the highest mountains on Earth. He has already conquered Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa and Mount Aconcagua in South America. This, no doubt, is a daunting mission for anyone, but Maynard was born without a complete set of arms and legs. In order to overcome physical mountain climbing challenges, he called on Kahtoola and Flagstaff engineers to design and fit him with individualized crampons to help him summit and achieve extraordinary goals. In doing so, Maynard has inspired the world with the power of technology, creativity and the human spirit. In fact, he was featured during the 2016 Olympics, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPFmq2x_0Mg.
“With technology comes the responsibility of using it for the greater good,” said Maynard. “We are all engineers in this world that we’re living in now. The global challenges we’re facing and will continue to face will require a passion for problem solving.”
“Kyle Maynard is an amazing individual. He has these carbon fiber orthotics that he puts on, and we were able to mount some micro spikes on the rear sections and then some little crampons on the front and he was successful in his Kilimanjaro climb. That set him off on the first round of what’s becoming possibly a seven summits attempt,” said Kahtoola Founder and engineer Danny Giovale of Flagstaff. “He’s now climbed Aconcagua and we came and re-doubled our efforts and redesigned those to include full-blown crampons on the rear and front that has a harness system that he can take on and off. It’s just so cool to be able to work with such an inspiring person. Personalizing gear to fit Kyle goes right along with what we do with our other products – trying to increase the capabilities of humans.”
“When I was first asked how I was going to be able to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, my answer was, ‘I don’t know,’” said Maynard. “These are three of the most important words of my life. All discoveries happen from ‘I don’t know.’”
The FREE, award-winning 10-day Festival, Sept. 22 – Oct. 1, 2017, will showcase signature events such as Science in the Park, the Flagstaff Star Party and SCI Talks, as well as field trips, guided interpretive hikes, archaeological digs, hands-on workshops and presentations.
“The Flagstaff Festival of Science Board of Directors is thrilled to host Kyle Maynard and offer more than 100 activities,” said Festival Board President Greg Vaughan. “Research shows that students learn and appreciate science best when interacting face-to-face with scientists in their work spaces, whether they be in labs, observatories or in the field. In Flagstaff, we have the great fortune of being able to involve world-class discoverers and innovators right here in Northern Arizona.”
The Festival is made possible through the generous support of businesses, organizations, foundations and individuals. Major sponsors include W. L. Gore & Associates, the City of Flagstaff/BBB Revenues, Flagstaff Arts Council, Northern Arizona University, the Science Festival Alliance, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Arizona Community Foundation of Flagstaff and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.