manufacturing companies he depended on went under. Years later, he started Orion as a distributor for lighting systems, growing with the help of loans through the Small Business Administration.
Then, about 10 years ago, he had an idea. It was in the middle of the night, but Neal hopped in his car and drove to a factory in Plymouth. This was one of those moments when the future refused to wait until morning. (Laughter.) He grabbed two-by-fours and a broom handle. He tinkered until somebody else arrived. He had finally figured out a design for a new lighting fixture that made it possible to produce twice the light using half the energy.
But as Neal will tell you, this is when the real work began: seeking capital; seeking customers; seeking the support that would allow him to test and improve and perfect what he had designed. And that took time, and that took patience, and it took creativity.
Progress is rarely easy, and I know people in this room understand that. Sometimes it takes months to learn that your ideas just won’t work -– or years to learn that it will. Sometimes the funding dries up or the investors walk away. Sometimes you have to fail before you can succeed.
And often it takes not just the commitment of an innovator, but the commitment of a country to innovation. Often, what’s required is the support of government, recognizing that our future is what we make of it. Our future is what we build it to be.
So all of you, you are helping us to build a cleaner, brighter future, and a stronger, more prosperous economy. And my administration and our country will support you in that difficult work.
Thank you. (Applause.)
By the way, I was just thinking about it — I suspect this is Orion as opposed to “Orion,” but — (laughter) — the way it was written up, I just wanted to make sure while I was giving you a plug that — (laughter) — that we got the right plug. All right — it’s Orion. All right. Thank you, guys. (Applause.)
(Source: White House)