HGTV’s Property Brothers Will Keynote RootsTech 2017

Jonathan Scott and Drew Scott, stars of HGTV's “The Property Brothers,” will be keynote speakers at RootsTech on February 9, 2017, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

[Editor’s Note: We received the following amazing news via press release from FamilySearch this morning. As a RootsTech 2017 Ambassador we look forward to seeing all our genealogy friends at RootsTech in Salt Lake City this coming February!]

The Scott Brothers (HGTV’s Property Brothers) Will Keynote RootsTech 2017

Jonathan Scott and Drew Scott, who star in HGTV’s “The Property Brothers,” will give RootsTech 2017 attendees unique insights into the role their family has had in their lives. The 6′ 5″ identical twin brothers will be the Thursday keynote speakers at RootsTech on February 9, 2017, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The popular brothers share passions for film and entertainment and for renovating older homes into dream homes. They have combined those passions to form an entertainment empire which became Scott Brothers Entertainment—an independent production company.

The Scott brothers garner HGTV’s highest ratings and are syndicated to major networks worldwide. Their first series, the Property Brothers, spun off several other series including Brother vs BrotherBuying and SellingProperty Brothers at Home, and Property Brothers at home on the Ranch. They recently authored their first book, Dream Home.

Their journey in entertainment includes much more than home improvement shows. Jonathan began performing in live theater and in TV and film as a child. He became a successful illusionist winning many awards and even performed live in Las Vegas. Drew was a high school basketball star and began acting in theater, improve, and sketch comedy in his teens. He even performed as a clown until he tired of the costumes and face paint.

The pair developed a passion for real estate as teens, purchasing their first fixer-upper house when they were 17. They did some renovations, and sold it a year later for a $50,000 profit to help support them as actors for a time before they decided to go back to college.

The Scott brothers were born in Vancouver, Canada. Their parents didn’t know they were going to have twins until the doctor saw Drew shortly after Jonathan was born. Because they lived on a ranch, Drew and Jonathan embraced the value of work at a young age—starting their first business at age seven. Their parents supported their various endeavors and encouraged them to pursue their dreams. “Our dad told us, ‘Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Think of five ways you can do it, and then do it,’” Drew said, and that advice has become their mantra.

Both Drew and Jonathan are licensed real estate agents, but for their show, Drew is shown as the real estate agent and Jonathan as the contractor. Together they built their dream home in Las Vegas which has been featured on their series. The Scotts are involved in various philanthropic initiatives in North America and around the world.

At RootsTech, the brothers will talk about their unique family ties, and the can-do attitudes it fostered, their positive outlooks, and childhoods, their careers, their shared passions for buying and renovating property, and for the entertainment industry.

Find and share this release online at media.familysearch.org.

About RootsTech

RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch, is a global conference celebrating families across generations, where people of all ages are inspired to discover and share their memories and connections. This annual event has become the largest of its kind in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants worldwide.

The Cake Boss Buddy Valastro Will Keynote, Judge at RootsTech 2017

Buddy Valastro, The Cake Boss, will appear as a keynote speaker during RootsTech 2017 in Salt Lake City, February 8-11th, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, 27 October 2016)RootsTech, the largest family history conference in the world, is pleased to welcome the popular Italian-American celebrity chef, Buddy Valastro, also known as the hit TLC series, Cake Boss™ as a keynote speaker on Saturday, February 11, 2017, in Salt Lake City. Valastro will also judge a local cake decorating contest hosted by RootsTech.

The amicable Valastro is a Hoboken, New Jersey, resident and owner of Carlo’s Bakery. He has endeared himself to millions of people as the animated, passionate chef on the TLC series, The Cake Boss. His staff’s creative expertise in designing over-the-top cakes for locals and celebrities is only half the allure. The show’s long-running success can also be attributed to the fun, dynamic interactions and involvement of 3–4 generations of Valastro’s Italian-American family who help run the thriving family business.

“Family is the most important part of my life,” says Valastro. “You have to embrace and be proud of where you come from. I can’t wait to share my story of how my past, present, and future have shaped who I am with the audience.”

During his RootsTech 2017 keynote address, the Cake Boss will share the story of how his strong family ties, roots, and traditions have shaped his life and business success, which include 12 bakeries, additional TLC series (The Next Great Baker and Buddy’s Bakery Rescue), and several books, to name a few.

Running bakeries is almost genetic in Buddy’s family. His grandfather and great-grandfather were both bakers in Sicily, Italy. His father, Buddy Valastro Sr., ran his own bakery for many years in New Jersey. When Buddy Valastro Jr. was 11 years old, he began working side by side with his father at Carlo’s Bakery.

Buddy Sr. died when his son was 17, leaving a very large hole in the teenager’s life. However, his tutelage had provided Buddy with “cast-iron business sense” and imbued in him a work ethic and a wealth of knowledge. He stepped up and took over his father’s role as proprietor and baker in Carlo’s bakery.

Buddy learned much without his father’s presence in the business but struggled making sfogliatelle dough, which is used in making Italian shell-shaped filled pastries called lobster tails, one of the bakery’s specialties. Buddy recalls the night his father came to him in a dream and told him, “I am here for one reason, to show you how to make lobster tails.” The next day, for the first time, Buddy successfully created the seemingly impossible dough and the very popular lobster tails were back. From then on, he says, he knew he could do anything he put his mind to and found comfort knowing that his father was looking after him.

After a few years, Buddy Jr. decided to take cake decorating to a new level with designer cakes. He created, among other spectacular cakes, a NASCAR racecar cake weighing over 10,000 pounds. In 2004, he was invited to participate in the Food Network Challenge where he took top prize in the fourth battle. He was urged to try a show for himself so he pitched a show featuring himself with his family. TLC executives were impressed enough to shoot a pilot episode in the shop which was a hit with audiences, and Cake Boss was born. The show is now in its eighth season.

Buddy’s extended family is indispensable both to the show and in running what has now become a chain of bakeries in New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, and some Norwegian Cruise Line ships. The business has diversified and expanded, but the legacy that began three generations ago in Sicily lives on. Buddy willingly holds to the traditions of his father’s bakery.

“Life lessons my parents have taught me define who I am today. I never forget where I’ve come from and try to pass that down to my children today,” says Valastro.

In addition to keynoting at RootsTech 2017, Valastro will help judge the first-ever RootsTech cake decorating competition.

There will be four different categories to compete in—wedding, birthday, holiday, and graduation—and there will be three finalists and one grand prize winner selected in each category. Cakes will be on display Saturday during RootsTech and Family Discovery Day where thousands of people will view and have a chance to vote for “People’s Choice” winners in each category. Official rules and entry information for the contest will be available soon at RootsTech.org.

LeVar Burton Keynote Speaker at RootsTech 2017

FamilySearch has announced that Roots star LeVar Burton will be a keynote speaker at RootsTech 2017 to be held in Salt Lake City, February 8-11, 2017

Reading Rainbow’s LeVar Burton Will Keynote RootsTech 2017

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (October 19, 2016)FamilySearch International is pleased to announce that LaVar Burton will be the Friday keynote speaker at RootsTech 2017 on February 10, 2017. Burton is known by millions for his legendary starring role as Kunta Kinte in 1977 in the globally acclaimed and award-winning ABC mini series, Roots, as chief engineer Geordi La Forge in the iconic Star Trek: The Next Generation television series, and as host and executive producer of the beloved PBS children’s series, Reading Rainbow. Burton was also the co-executive producer of the re-envisioned production of Roots that aired in June of this year on the A&E Networks.

Reading Rainbow was one of the longest running children’s television shows in TV history (1983-2009) and one of the most acclaimed, earning more than 200 awards including 26 Emmys and a Peabody. “There’s a whole new generation of kids that need to develop a relationship with the written word, especially, I believe, in this ultra-technological age. I’m in this for the mission. This is what I do,” said Burton.

He is excited about the opportunity to keynote at RootsTech where he plans to share personal stories about Roots, Star Trek, his Reading Rainbow foundation, and also stories of his mom and her commanding influence on him.

“The story of Roots traces a family’s journey from Africa to America and back. At RootsTech, I’ll share some of my own journey of family, storytelling and the influence of African culture on my American Experience.”

Burton’s acting career began as a college student at the University of Southern California with his first-ever audition—winning the role of Kunta Kinte in ABC’s wildly popular 1977 TV mini-series, Roots. Thus, at age 19, he found his picture on the cover of Time magazine. Soaring to stardom was only the beginning for Burton. He followed it with many roles—most notably in Reading Rainbow and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

An advocate for children’s literacy, Burton’s Reading Rainbow provides an outlet for innovative uses of storytelling. Reading Rainbow uses technology and media to inspire today’s children to love reading, and is currently the number one educational app on iTunes. The digital service includes more than 500 children’s fiction and non-fiction books, and 200 newly-produced video field trips with new content added weekly.

RootsTech is held at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City and will be simulcasted around the world with many sessions recorded for later viewing. RootsTech offers a line-up of world-class speakers, thrilling entertainment and engaging classes and activities with a bigger-than-ever expo hall. There will be something for everyone regardless of age or experience. Registration for RootsTech is currently open at reduced rates at RootsTech.org. Rootstech 2017 is sponsored by FamilySearch, Ancestry.com, FindMyPast.com and MyHeritage.com.

Find the news release online at media.familysearch.org.