“Do not accept ‘no’ for an answer – especially from yourself. Setbacks are ramps, not road bumps.” – Mick Ebeling

INDIANAPOLIS – Mick Ebeling, founder and CEO of his company Not Impossible Labs, was the keynote speaker for the fourth general session of the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo.

Ebeling’s unconventional approach to problem-solving brought to life highly acclaimed initiatives, such as the EyeWriter, Project Daniel, Don’s Voice, and most recently, Music Not Impossible. These inventions provided solutions to previously unworkable problems. For Project Daniel, for example, Ebeling used a 3-D printer to create arms for a 14-year-old Sudanese boy who lost both of his arms in a bombing.

Ebeling challenged FFA members to think about one question: “What will you make possible in the future that people think is impossible today?” Throughout his speech,  his advice was, “When you see something you consider to be absurd, you commit and then you figure out how you are going fix it.”

Ebeling didn’t travel alone to convention. He brought a special guest–Mandy Harvey, a deaf singer who received fourth-place on season 12 of “America’s Got Talent.” Harvey utilized technology that Not Impossible Labs created, which allows her to experience music more fully. “The technology is a wireless ‘ecosystem,’ including hardware, software and clothing, that sends vibrations to eight assigned channels across the body, replicating the array of musical instruments from a live performance or musical feed to the wearer’s body,” Ebeling described.

Harvey also had inspiring words to share. “There are going to be things that are going to hold you back in life, but you always have to try,” noted Harvey. “It is not impossible to make the world a beautiful place. All of you have the tools in place if you just do your part.”

Katie Burns is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She works full time for the Illinois Association FFA as the communications specialist. Burns is serving as a reporter for the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo Newsroom Crew.