Written by Jeanne Johnston
The Ray is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reimagining the way we connect to our communities, our lives and our world. The Ray serves as proving ground for the evolving ideas and technologies that will transform the transportation infrastructure of the future. The physical location of The Ray starts on 18 miles of West Georgia’s I-85, and the land and communities surrounding it.
But to understand what The Ray is and what it truly represents, you need to start with the man-Ray C. Anderson. In 1994, at the height of Ray’s success with Interface—a company he had built from a dream, grit, and determination—Ray experienced what he calls “The Spear in the Chest Epiphany” after reading The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken. Ray said, “The only way the Earth can change is if business, the most pervasive and influential force on the planet, is willing to lead.”
Ray, along with Interface, became that leader in the business world, encouraging and advising other large businesses, like Wal*Mart, to embrace total sustainability. In his farewell address to his company’s future leaders, Ray implores Interface employees to “Dream big! Keep hustling!” because he will be with them every step of the way in body and spirit. Ray retires from the spotlight in 2010 to fight his next battle with cancer and passes in 2011.
In March of 2014, after dedicating the 18-mile section of I-85 between LaGrange and Ray’s hometown of West Point, Georgia, his daughter, Harriet Langford, realized she had just put Ray’s name on one of the dirtiest transportation elements-a concrete highway. The next epiphany was Harriet’s, and she knew that Ray would want them to take this opportunity to be creative, innovative, and imagine how to make this the most regenerative and restorative highway example in the world.
Since transportation touches every facet of our everyday life, what better opportunity to tackle than to reimagine the transportation industry? Together, Fox Advancement and The Ray will lay the foundation for private firms, government entities and entrepreneurs to participate, collaborate and innovate for Zero Deaths. Zero Waste. Zero Carbon. Zero Impact.
It’s an ambitious goal but using The Ray as a living lab for innovative ideas and technologies, will set a new standard for roadways across the globe. For more information on The Ray and Ray Anderson’s story link to: https://theray.org/