Carr challenges for next 75 years

Feb. 01, 2013 @ 06:09 PM

Seventy-five years ago a vision for the Henderson-Vance County Chamber of Commerce became reality after a group of men and women put plans into action.

Transforming a vision to an action was the theme of Joe Carr’s message during the chamber’s membership meeting and banquet Thursday night. Carr is the CEO of Semprius.

During the evening’s festivities, the Shining Moment in Education awards was presented to Middleburg Baptist Church and a special recognition was presented to former N.C. Rep. Jim Crawford Jr.

Carr played an instrumental roll in the design and innovation of patented cell technology being used at Semprius, a state of the art manufacturing facility producing high efficiency solar modules in Henderson.

Using a technical process to convert the world’s smallest solar cell into a panel that produces 90 watts of solar energy undoubtedly takes an acute mind, but insight to Carr’s more personable and relatable attributes were provided in John Barnes’ introduction.

“Married with three grown children, he enjoys playing classic guitar, creating computer animation, solving and creating puzzles, playing tennis, acting, and on top of all that, he brews his own beer,” said Barnes, the chamber president and emcee for the evening.

Carr took the stage, narrating a message that would resonate with all members in the diverse crowd of more than 400 business, community, academic and medical leaders.

“Seventy-five years ago a group of men and women had the vision to make their community a better place to live and work,” Carr said. “After 75 years that humble beginning is what you see around you today.

“The intelligent forethought to help business connect, share what works, and just as importantly share what doesn’t work, to build an engine of progress, it happened by converting vision to reality.

“What a triumph this is.”

Without action, Carr concludes no vision can become a reality, and contends lack of action is most often the reason for failure. Action contributes to the perplexing part of Carr’s equation.

“Action is where the momentum of the universe is pitted against the force of your will,” Carr said. “Only by taking definitive action can one translate the intangible into the tangible. But action is hard, action is messy, action is risky, action is a lot of work.”

Notorious historical moments of landing on the moon and building the Golden Gate Bridge were described by Carr as vivid portrayals of visions turned to action.

“The vision of spanning the Golden Gate Strait had been in place for over 100 years, but it wasn’t until a young guy named Strauss decided to act, that a vision became a reality,” Carr said. “Today we know it as the Golden Gate Bridge.”

Carr said leadership is what binds the strong vision and the strong plan together.

“It’s the ability to enact a plan or a vision in concert with other people,” Carr said. “Leadership is not bestowed, it is earned.”

The progression of visions becoming plans that turn to action was the backbone of Carr’s speech, but also the reason hundreds gathered Thursday night to celebrate the diamond anniversary.

“Today’s visions, actions, plans, all driven by this leadership will be tomorrow’s history,” Carr said. “Seventy-five years from now what will they be saying about us?”

Contact the writer at amauser@hendersondispatch.com.