Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Carvel Simmons to share life lessons and insights during Black History Month talk at OU-C


Ground-breaking business professional Carvel Simmons will share insights he has gained during his personal and professional endeavors at 4 p.m. on Feb. 11 in Bennett Hall room 110 at Ohio University-Chillicothe. His talk, “Do not eliminate yourself from possibilities,” will help to commemorate Black History Month at OU-C.

Simmons lives by the common-sense lessons he learned while growing up in Ross County, and he has put those principles to use in his life and his career.

Simmons is currently president and owner of Trio Trucking, Inc., which he founded. Simmons began Trio Trucking in 1982 with a $500 investment and one tractor. It has since grown to employ more than 100 individuals and provides regional trucking and rail services as well as local and short-haul distribution. Trio Trucking was recognized as Wal-Mart 2009 Diversity Carrier of the Year.

Simmons was an all-state basketball player while a student at Frankfort High School. After graduating in 1960, he attended OU-C for two years when it offered classes in the former Smith High School. He then embarked on a pioneering business career.

Simmons was the first black employee hired at DuPont in Circleville and, later, the first black Nationwide Insurance claims adjustor in Cincinnati.

“Ray Mason, who hired me at Nationwide, told me that I was the right guy because I could get along with anyone,” Simmons said.

While his business interests have taken Simmons far, he has never forgotten his Ross County roots. The lessons he learned growing up prepared him for his future endeavors.

“I grew up in basically an all-white area and, because of that, I had to learn about myself and how to relate to people. Because of my attitude, I was able to make it,” he said. “I have learned from my experiences, but I am not soured by them.”

“My dad (Virgil ‘Pat’ Simmons) was a farmer, and I learned so much from how he lived and the lessons he shared. A week does not go by that I do not think about the values my father taught me. He was always sharing sayings about how to live and treat others. There is a reason these are old sayings; they still have meaning. I would not take anything for how I was raised.”

“I have learned that, in business and in life, it is all about relationships. It is important to not burn bridges and always be ready to forgive and forget. Stuff you carry with you has a way of eating at you and can detour you from your ultimate goal,” he said. “Too often, we do not turn the other cheek.”

Simmons is living proof in the power of having the right perspective.

“If you have the right countenance and carry yourself in a certain way, you are going to be fine, but you have to get along with others,” he said. “People are basically the same wherever you go. For me, the key is to live the Golden Rule and to treat people the way I want to be treated.”

Simmons is a tribute to the value of self-awareness and grasping the value of diverse viewpoints.

“Since I began in business, I have learned the importance of seeing things from the standpoint of other people and understanding where they are coming from.”

Simmons has been an avid supporter of OU-C, offering his insights and wisdom gleaned from his life experiences as a member of the campus’ Regional Coordinating Council.

In a testament to his father’s influence and occupation, Simmons continues to flourish and grow where he was first planted.

He and his wife, Charlmel, reside on a farm near Frankfort. He can see the family farm where he was raised from his current house. He has been inducted into the Frankfort High School Hall of Fame in recognition of his lifetime achievements.

Simmons’ talk is the first in a series of campus events that help to commemorate OU-C’s 70th anniversary in 2016 with a focus on the themes of culture and memory. Since its founding as the first regional campus in the state in 1946, the Chillicothe Campus has served as a gateway to higher education for countless residents of this region.

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