David and Derek Carr are picky about their business ventures.
The brothers, both former standout quarterbacks at Fresno State, say they want partnerships that say something about their strong family values and the place they call home – the San Joaquin Valley.
“There’s a lot of great companies out there,” said David Carr, 37, on his drive home from a recent meeting with Radd3, a Walnut Creek-based virtual reality company. “We try to line up with companies that won’t take advantage of people … with companies we believe in.”
While each brother had or has shoe and athletic apparel endorsements of their own, they are making a mark in the Valley business (and philanthropy) scene together from their hometown of Bakersfield to Fresno.
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They own an athlete training facility that is growing. They endorse the Educational Employees Credit Union. They donate their time as spokesmen for Valley Children’s Hospital. And they have more planned – a restaurant, almond farming and real estate.
We try to line up with companies that won’t take advantage of people … with companies we believe in.
“You can’t play football forever,” said David Carr, who retired from the NFL in 2013 after playing for the Houston Texans, Carolina Panthers, New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers. “When you get to the middle, later half, of your career, you start networking. You talk and see what other guys are doing. A lot of it starts with regular endorsement deals. Then, you see what you really want to do.”
The brothers began their business partnership in 2014 with Carr Elite, a training academy for athletes located west of Bakersfield. The facility, which includes a 70-yard grass field, a full basketball court inside and a jungle gym for kids, is a way for Valley athletes to train at home instead of traveling to Los Angeles or San Francisco, said Carr. It’s also a positive learning environment for kids who sometimes are pushed too hard by parents or coaches, he said.
The interest in the training center, which also hosts about a handful of football camps every year, is so high that the brothers expanded to a second temporary building about 10 miles down the road. They have plans to build a facility across from Bakersfield Christian High School, where Derek Carr graduated. David Carr serves as offensive coordinator for the school football team when he is not in Los Angeles analyzing games for the NFL Network. His 16-year-old son plays on the team. The head coach is another brother, Darren.
A training academy in Fresno is also on the horizon. The brothers are working with Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera County on possibly opening a hybrid athlete facility and employee gym, David Carr said.
The Carrs – David, Derek and his wife, Heather – have volunteered their time as spokesmen for the hospital since Derek Carr’s oldest son, Dallas, spent three weeks there for intestinal problems shortly after he was born in 2013.
The Carrs own and operate Carr Elite in Bakersfield. They have partnerships with Educational Employees Credit Union, Valley Children’s Hospital, Radd3. The brothers plan to open a restaurant, get into almond farming and real estate.
“Valley Children’s Hospital and children’s hospitals like it throughout the country are necessary, important and just incredibly valuable in every community,” said Derek Carr, 25, who is in Napa at the Oakland Raiders training camp. “We can’t imagine not being associated with them.”
The hospital partnership is part of the family’s philanthropic efforts. There is no exchange of money between the hospital and the family, said Todd Suntrapak, president and chief executive officer. “They are giving to our organization and our community.”
Hospital visits by Derek and Heather Carr can last three to four hours as word travels that the football player and his wife are in the building, Suntrapak said. “He has never declined meeting” with an ill child and will often sit and pray with families, Suntrapak said.
The brothers continue to develop local business relationships by working with the Educational Employees Credit Union. It’s a deal close to David Carr’s heart. His in-laws are both teachers and their spouses (both mother-in-law and father-in-law remarried) are also teachers.
David and Derek Carr recently recorded a commercial and shot photos for advertisements, billboards and social media to educate credit union members about the financial services and products available.
“We can probably partner with anyone,” but it made sense for the Fresno-based company to work with the Carrs, who are local and community driven, said Jim Lowe, director of marketing for EECU. “Everybody grew up with them.”
“One thing we hold in common is we give a lot back to the community, and they put a lot of value in giving back,” Lowe said.
One thing we hold in common is we give a lot back to the community, and they put a lot of value in giving back.
Jim Lowe, director of marketing for EECU
Just a few months ago, David and Derek Carr started working with Radd3 on a project that combines football with video games. The company designed a virtual reality program to help train NFL and college players. The goal is to create a consumer version that can help high school level players, said chief executive officer Andrew Won.
Radd3 enlisted the help of the Carr brothers and their football expertise to fine-tune the system, known as DimeTime. “They’re both very smart gentlemen with high intellect and a great deal of football knowledge,” Won said.
The program is a fun opportunity for the brothers to combine things they love.
“David and I have a passion for video games,” Derek Carr said. “We both have a passion for studying and analyzing football, and Radd3 is a wonderful combination of those two passions. It is a great mechanism to assist in this program of studying plays, offenses and defenses.”
The list of business opportunities goes on and on for the brothers. They are looking for land to try their hands at almond farming and other Valley produce. A Fresno restaurant is down the road. Derek Carr hints at commercial real estate, residential land and other structures as business interests.
“The Central Valley has been really cool for us,” said David Carr. “We’re trying to give it back.”