...whose concepts appeared to be LARGER.
He harnessed experience, led many through resistance, and yielded an audience that's smarter.


It’s where you are supposed to brag about how great you are for the purpose of another person determining whether I am worth their time...hmmmm, isn't that what social media is for?

Let's cut to the chase: I am worth your time.
It’s simply not in my nature to talk about myself. 

Therefore, the remainder of this page will be narrated in the third-person. 

And so, without further ado, let's meet Labz founder, Arthur Zards.

Arthur is an original Internet entrepreneur founding an Internet company before the web browser even existed. He wasn't learning about digital marketing, branding, innovation, and development; he was creating it. He is a self-described TED fanatic and is the founder and executive director of TEDxNaperville.

Arthur founded Lab Z, an Innovation Experience Agency that focuses on a new approach to speaking and conference production. His speaker clients get standing ovations and his clients conferences  transform into memorable and engaging experiences.

In his spare time he carves Tiki Moai, jumps off cliffs in his paraglider and grills a mean Picanha on his home-built 850 lb wood-fired grill.

His mantra is to “create an idea, get people excited, do it, repeat.”

What Arthur Has Accomplished

  • Co-founded one of Chicagoland's first Internet Service Providers in 1992, XNet Information Systems, Inc.
  • Sold XNet in 1999 to a NASDAQ traded public company, Winstar Communications.
  • In 2001, Winstar declared bankruptcy, Arthur and another co-founder re-purchased XNet in bankruptcy court, pennies on the dollar.
  • While at XNet Arthur found TEDxNaperville in 2009, an independently run event under a license from the TED organization.
  • Arthur has over 30 years’ experience in digital marketing, online networks, social communities, and other elements of a digital business.
  • He has created numerous innovations such as Twitter strategies for connections, a Digital Engagement Plan framework, an EBook on event partnership strategies, and most known by his peers for his mathematical formula on digital media utilization.
  • Curated and helped shaped the content of over 250+ speakers, from students, entrepreneurs, Olympic medalists, scientists, astronauts, and even an entire marching band.

What Arthur Has Developed At XNet

  • Found the Silicon Prairie Social technology group of 2,000 members dedicated to technology-oriented networking.
  • Pioneered the branding and marketing of Internet based hosting services and connectivity.
  • Created innovative web products and services such as the "Digirati" line of services.
  • Developed the industry's earliest forms of digital media best practices.
  • Assisted in the design, sourced all materials and contractors, and built a datacenter.
  • Designed Twitter procedures for lead generation.
  • Produced a Digital Audit procedure and Action Plan for social media outreach.
  • Created a social media formula used to establish messaging value in various digital media and presented it to numerous groups and companies.

What Arthur Has Cultivated at TED/TEDxNaperville

  • Founded and leads a 76+ volunteer team to produce a yearly event of over 850 participants and over a dozen speakers and performers.
  • Awarded a TED prize for "Best Design" for regional representation.
  • Created numerous best practices for the TED/TEDx community including Partnership and Speaker publications, a Sponsorship Ebook, and a dynamic website dedicated to sharing engagement ideas for TEDx organizers.
  • TED speaker at a TED conference, Palm Springs, on name badge best practices for events.
  • Speaker at TEDxBeaconStreet, Boston.
  • Hosted a conference session in Doha, Qatar on event engagement strategies for TED.
  • Curated speaker content for over 250 speakers for TEDxNaperville, other TEDx events, and corporate entities.
  • Led workshops on partnership engagement at TED Vancouver
  • Regularly hosts global video conferences for TEDx organizers mentoring and education.
  • Created interactive engagement tools used at TED Summit, Banf, and TED Global, Tanzania.

What Arthur Has Created at LAB Z

  • Created a full-day training course on Experiential Design for Johnson & Johnson's Core Leadership curriculum.
  • Designed a risk-themed experience for Transamerica Financial producers, with never-before-experienced local tours, authentic speakers, and a themed interactive dinner focused on artful conversation around a new branded theme of "risk".
  • Expanded the DuPuis Group’s sphere of influence in sustainable food culture via a ½ day experiential dinner. Participants toured disruptive, change-effecting businesses and took part in high-impact relationship building.
  • Emotional intent and design concepts used with pharmaceutical Amgen
  • A method to disrupt the typical corporate workshop & presentation format to allow for active and engaging learning and authentic dialogue.
  • A proven workshop/course for speaker training that has resulted in over 30+ million speaker YouTube views.

Where Arthur Has Been Featured

  • Numerous print outlets such as the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Naperville Sun, Daily Herald, Certification Magazine, Digital Chicago Magazine.
  • Written columns for the Daily Herald Business Ledger.
  • Featured on television outlets such as ABC News Chicago, Naperville Community Television.
  • Interviewed by Maya Angelou for satellite radio.
  • Authored technology product reviews for CDW BizTech Magazine.
  • Speaker for Nokia Global Human Factor Engineering Conference

Where Arthur Has Not Been Normal

  • Rapelled 300 feet into an ancient Mayan sinkhole
  • Sledged down the Eiger Mountain in winter at sunset and got lost.
  • Hand carves Tiki Moia out of fallen tree trunks.
  • Scuba dived with sharks, without a cage, before it was cool.
  • Designed and constructed an outdoor cedar wood dining table with built in hidden ice coolers.
  • As a passionate South American impaired wood griller, noticed a lack of "parilla" style outdoor cooking methods, so he learned to weld in order to build his own.
  • Tent camped in the heart of the Serengeti almost getting trampled by a water buffalo.
  • Got lost on purpose in Stone Town Zanzibar.
  • And on some weekends he flies 3,000 feet vertically in a personal aircraft that fits in his car.