Ray Day event in its 6th year, set for weekend

Published 6:23 pm Friday, October 12, 2018

SERENBE – There will be a new facet to this year’s Ray Day event, held annually in Serenbe, Ga., as a group of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids will caravan from the Georgia Power Headquarters in Atlanta to the celebration in Serenbe, a drive of approximately 30 miles. Ray Day is an annual celebration, remembering the late Ray C. Anderson, who is recognized as a leader in the business world for his work in environmental sustainability. The event is heading into its sixth year now, and draws a large crowd from the LaGrange and West Point areas.

“This is a new part of Ray Day, it is going to be a 32-mile drive, from Atlanta and will be driving the 32 miles to Serenbe, where the drivers will be a part of Ray Day,” said Anna Cullen, the Director for External Relations of The Ray. “The cars will be marked, they will park in a VIP area, then have an opportunity to interact with the 2,000-plus people who will be in attendance about what it is like to ride and drive an electric car.”

The Ray is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was established in 2014 and is a separate organization from the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, which sponsors Ray Day each year and also operates as a nonprofit. The Ray is made up of an 18-mile stretch of I-85 that runs from West Point through LaGrange, and is focused on mitigating the environmental impact of interstates, with a specific goal to reduce fatalities, waste and carbon to zero.

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Anderson founded Interface, Inc. in 1973, then known as Carpets International, which is today the world’s largest manufacturer of modular carpet for commercial and residential uses. He became deeply interested in ensuring his company operated with as little environmental impact as possible, a tall order in the petroleum-heavy industry of carpet tile manufacturing. His environmental and economic success is well-documented, as the company is now on pace to hit the 2020 zero-waste goal that Anderson set in the 1990s and reported revenue of $996.4 million is 2017.

The Ray now uses the 18-mile stretch of interstate from West Point to LaGrange as a laboratory to test technology that will help limit environmental impact. The organization currently has a solar-powered vehicle charging station, a tire safety check station, a rubber road running adjacent to The Ray, a portion of solar-paved highway near West Point’s Visitor Information Center, among a host of additional technologies to come. The electric car partnership to be held on Ray Day is the latest project undertaken by the organization.

Ray Day will last from 2-6 p.m., sponsored in part by SweetWater Brewing Company, will have food trucks, a Ferris wheel, pony rides and additional fun for the family. Those interested in taking part in the electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid caravan can sign up online by visiting Theray.org. As of Friday morning, 31 cars had signed up to participate, including 13 Teslas, four Chevrolet Volts and three Nissan Leafs.