DAVIDSON As a young boy in Eastern North Carolina, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx remembers how his grandmother would point to a stone edifice at the Moore County Courthouse in Carthage.
Thats where my grandmother was sold, Foxx said his grandmother, now 95, would tell him.
Foxx recounted the story to 135 employees at Ingersoll Rand on Tuesday during the companys weeklong celebration of Black History Month.
That was five generations ago, Foxx said, recounting how each generation in his family emphasized the importance of education in achieving success. Five generations, from slavery to freedom.
Everyone in the room, he said, has a story in their families of coming to America, calling it our connective tissue.
But despite our societys many gains, he said, we have many more steps to go.
When I go into some neighborhoods in the center of our city, they have 50 percent graduation rates, Foxx said.
Long lines of people of every race line up for jobs, and many in our society cant afford health care, he said.
Thats why the work of companies such as Ingersoll Rand to create a diverse workforce are so crucial, Foxx said.
Ingersoll Rand is a $14 billion global company whose North American headquarters and corporate center are in Davidson. Two of its business sectors industrial technologies and climate solutions also are in Davidson, where the company employs nearly 1,400 people.
In 2011, the company launched its first employee resource group focusing on women. Others soon followed, including the 300-member Black Employee Network, the New Hire Network and the Veterans Network. This year, the company plans resource groups for people with disabilities, Asian/Pan-Asian and LGBTA employees.
If youre part of Ingersoll Rand, youve heard me talk about us being a diverse and inclusive company, chairman and CEO Mike Lamach told the gathering. That need for diversity also is vital as the company grows in emerging markets, he said.