Heartland Payment Systems CEO Robert O. Carr to speak at USF

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Robert O. Carr will speak about his new book Through the Fires: An American Business Story of Turbulence, Triumph and Giving Back on Feb. 10 at the University of St. Francis in Joliet.

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Robert O. Carr will speak about his new book Through the Fires: An American Business Story of Turbulence, Triumph and Giving Back on Feb. 10 at the University of St. Francis in Joliet.

Entrepreneur, philanthropist and now author, Robert O. Carr will speak about his life and business ventures as recounted in his new book Through the Fires: An American Business Story of Turbulence, Triumph and Giving Back. Carr will speak on Feb. 10 at the University of St. Francis (USF) in Joliet.

Carr, who grew up in Lockport, is founder and CEO of Heartland Payment Systems. Beginning as an idealistic entrepreneur operating on a shoestring, he has built Heartland Payments Systems into one of the largest debit and credit card transaction companies in America. Carr has also established the Give Something Back Foundation to help financially disadvantaged, academically oriented students complete a college degree. The University of St. Francis is one of three institutions to receive a $1 million gift to fund scholarships from the foundation.

“We are particularly pleased that our students and community will get to hear from Bob Carr, who understands and values the importance of higher education for individuals and for our community. Many students across the country – including students here at USF – have benefited from Bob’s foresight and generosity in providing scholarships,” said USF President Arvid C. Johnson.

Carr will speak at 11 a.m. in the Sexton Auditorium in the Moser Performing Arts Center at the university’s 500 Wilcox St., Joliet campus. A book signing will follow the presentation. Books may be ordered at www.robertocarr.com. For information, call (815) 740-3395.

Carr’s presentation is part of the university’s College of Business & Health Administration Executive Speaker Series.

At a critical time in his academic career, Carr received a merit scholarship toward his college education. Carr recognizes the value of his college education and feels strongly about giving the same opportunity to other striving individuals who do not have the financial resources to attend college. Carr hopes that scholarship recipients will give back to their community in the same manner.

Carr led Heartland from a modest start-up with 25 employees in 1997 to a Fortune 1000 company that today employs some 3,700 colleagues. Heartland’s clients range from major retail chains to mom-and-pop restaurants and retailers, as well as colleges and school districts in some of America’s largest cities.

Just as important, Carr has earned a national reputation as a trailblazer for ethical reform of the payments industry. Carr inspired a credo at Heartland that transparency and fairness in the marketplace can serve as a fundamental cornerstone of a successful business model. The company established “The Merchant Bill of Rights,” an extraordinary covenant with customers to reveal information about credit and debit processing fees.

The bankcard industry honored Carr as its first winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. Ernst and Young named him the Entrepreneur of The Year in both 2003 and 2007. The Wall Street Journal published a profile of Carr that lauded his devotion to fairness to employees and customers, headlined as “Share the Wealth.” The host of the television show “Mad Money” encouraged businesses to emulate the ethical practices demonstrated by Carr after a potentially disastrous data breach was discovered at Heartland in 2009. After a remarkable recovery from the international hacking conspiracy, Heartland emerged as a champion in the fight against cybercrime. Heartland played a prominent role in the formation of the Payments Processor Information Sharing Council and Carr served as chair of its steering committee.

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., has 46,000 alumni throughout the country. USF serves 3,400 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in arts and sciences, business, education, nursing, health care and social work. For information, call (800) 735-7500 or visit www.stfrancis.edu.


Media Inquiries:
Nancy Pohlman, Executive Director of Community Relations
(815) 740-3379 | npohlman@stfrancis.edu