Senior executive who pioneered quality assurance, strategic planning, and servant leadership training for over 6000 global employees at CARDONE Industries
When Evan Curry was offered the School of Business deanship, the former corporate senior VP had just declined a lucrative contract with the company he’d worked with for over 20 years. For what purpose? Only God knew — “Something in my spirit said ‘No.’ I knew that I was supposed to do something else, but I didn’t know what that was.”
Less than 48 hours later, he received a call from Cairn President Dr. Todd Williams “out of the blue.” He says, “When I say ‘out of the blue,’ I mean ‘out of the blue.’ I did not see it coming whatsoever. So the reason I’m at Cairn is an act of obedience. I don’t know how God through His Spirit would speak to me more clearly than that.” Curry started on July 10th.
It’s not the first time God has taken his career in a direction he’d never have anticipated, says Curry, 57. On his first day at CARDONE, aged 18, he carried boxes, unloading trucks. In his early years, he worked on the production line, building car parts. At the time of his retirement, Curry was senior VP of corporate culture for over 6000 global employees. He had secured the industry’s first ISO 9001, QS9000, and TS16949 quality assurance and ISO14000 environmental certifications, pioneered strategic planning and organizational development, and led warranty reduction to millions of dollars better than their goal. In addition to leading operations and HR in Philadelphia, Curry served on a five-person team establishing 9000 employees and over one million square feet of factories in Mexico and South Texas.
University President Dr. Todd J. Williams says Curry’s excellence in both corporate and ministry contexts is a great fit with Cairn’s mission. “Opportunities for our graduates to serve the Lord in business-related fields worldwide are strategic and significant,” says Williams. “We are very excited to have Evan Curry as our dean of the School of Business. He has been fulfilling his calling in business for decades, understands the challenges facing businesses and organizations today, and will bring diverse and dynamic corporate and ministry experiences to bear on his leadership of this school and his teaching in the classroom in ways that are forward-thinking, biblically integrated, and professionally excellent.”
“I think the School of Business is a strength of the University,” Curry says. “It’s in the ‘growing and building’ stage with highly competent faculty and visionary senior administration here at Cairn. Our students have a foundation of 30 credits of Bible… [and so] the graduates we produce are highly purposeful and highly engaged because they see their work as ministry and do what they do for the glory of God.”
In addition to dean, Curry has been designated as Cairn’s “corporate outreach officer,” a new position at the University. He says, “What I think I can do best for the School of Business here is to promote it and network it throughout Philadelphia, really representing the University so that people become fully aware of Cairn’s School of Business.” Curry says that stronger corporate relationships can yield multiple benefits for the University: internships for students, jobs for graduates, sponsorships for University Advancement, and advice for the School of Business as it strives for cutting-edge relevance in a rapidly changing business environment.
Not just a businessman, Curry serves as a pastor and chairman of the board of elders at Bethel Philadelphia Mills Church, as well as chairman of the board of directors for World Ministries in Leesburg, FL. In the early years of Curry’s 20-year career at CARDONE, he felt torn between his business pursuits and the aspiration of full-time ministry: “Growing up in the church, I thought that to be a really great Christian, you had to become a pastor or you had to become a missionary. But I found out that you can be a good Christian in business and be about God’s work there. If done in the right thinking, business is a full-time ministry: ‘Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.’”
Pursuing God’s glory through business is not what many people think it is, Curry says. “Most Christians see the workplace as an opportunity to have a good testimony: to evangelize, to pray for others, to treat others with dignity and respect in light of the Golden Rule. But what we often forget about business is that God is Jehovah Jireh, the Provider. And when you look around you, virtually everything you see has been provided through a business: your shoes, that desk, this floor, maybe your haircut. When business is done right, we’re about the business of Jehovah Jireh, because we are providing the needs of people.
“At CARDONE, I think God really cared whether our customers’ cars were repaired properly. I think God cared whether we produced a good product for a good value that repaired a car safely, allowing moms to drive their kids to school or workers to get to their jobs. The safety and satisfaction of customers was highly important to me because it was highly important to God.”
This biblical worldview of business is not discussed enough, he says. “In some ways, business and our jobs in the marketplace are the least-discussed topics at churches — I think because many of us in church leadership don’t have a lot of experience in the marketplace. But frankly, that’s where most people live. They spend the bulk of their waking hours on the job, and it’s important to really think through how the Christian faith plays out in the workplace.”
Curry replaces Yunn Kang, who led the School of Business for three years after the retirement of long-time dean Ron Ferner. Hired in 2008 primarily to teach accounting and finance, Kang oversaw the development of undergraduate and graduate accounting programs in 2013. Stepping into the position of interim dean the following year, he saw the school’s enrollment grow 23%, including a 67% increase in graduate enrollment, by fall 2016. Under Kang, the School of Business launched two new graduate programs: the online international entrepreneurship MBA and MS in Nonprofit Leadership programs. Now serving as the chair of the school’s graduate programs, as well as Cairn’s acting vice president for finance, Kang focuses on continuing that trajectory of growth.
Curry earned an MBA from the New York Institute of Technology in 2004, as well as certificates in strategic planning and human resources from the Wharton School at Penn. He raised four sons with his wife Debbie (who passed away in 2012) in the Lawncrest neighborhood of Philadelphia; he and his wife Lisa now enjoy their seven grandchildren.