Hundreds attend Chamber breakfast

By JAMES PHILLIPS, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 6/29/17

The annual breakfast meeting of the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County was highlighted Wednesday with a speech by Charles L. Karr, dean of engineering at the University of Alabama.

Karr’s speech was motivational in nature, challenging local …

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Hundreds attend Chamber breakfast

Posted

The annual breakfast meeting of the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County was highlighted Wednesday with a speech by Charles L. Karr, dean of engineering at the University of Alabama.

Karr’s speech was motivational in nature, challenging local business owners to be leaders in the community.

“When you start talking about leadership, a lot of people want to know if you are a born leader or if it is something that you develop,” Karr said. “I don’t have a clue, but I can tell you this, anything you work at, you can get better at. You have to work at it to be successful.”

Karr worked as a research engineer with the U.S. Bureau of Mines-Tuscaloosa Research Center before becoming a full-time faculty member at UA. In his more than 20 years at Alabama, he has written books, published journal articles and won numerous awards. Karr talked about where his own personal drive for success was derived.

“Most successful people I know are either running to something or they are running away from something,” he said. “They are running to a vision, a goal or an ideal. When I say that, you folks think it is noble. When I tell you somebody is running away from something, you think that is tragic, but that is me.”

Karr talked about growing up in the Florida panhandle in poverty.

“I would strongly encourage you to discover your ‘big why,’” he added.

After ending his speech with a “Roll Tide,” Karr received a standing ovation from the more than 400 people attending the event at the Jasper Civic Center.

Ray Lewis was named as the chamber’s volunteer of the year for 2017. Chamber Board Chairperson Carol Alexander called Lewis’ volunteerism a major asset for the work of the chamber.

Kevin Callahan, owner of Honda/Hyundai of Jasper and member of the chamber board of directors, spoke briefly about the upcoming sales tax vote in Walker County.

“The revenue enhancement option, that we as a chamber support, in the form of a 1-cent increase in Walker County is a message that we want you to take out to everybody, because you are leaders in our communities,” Callahan said. “The sales tax is going to come before us in a vote, and we need people out there, because whether you like taxes or you dislike taxes, we have to have this to move forward. It is a hard decision, but it is an easy decision when you look at what our choices are.”

Linda Lewis, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County, said she appreciated the large crowd attending the meeting.

“Our community supports our chamber,” she said. “We have great partnerships, and a turnout like this shows our role in our community. We are also very thankful for our guest speaker. Mr. Karr was motivated and entertained. I hope everyone who attended came away energized and ready to do what it takes to continue to improve our community.”