Creating businesses, leaders and prosperity

by | Apr 6, 2021 | Inside Mines, Spring 2021 | 0 comments

“Success stories abound throughout America,” Warren Buffett wrote in his most recent Berkshire Hathaway shareholder letter. “Individuals with an idea, ambition and often just a pittance of capital have succeeded beyond their dreams by creating something new or by improving the customer’s experience with something old.”

Many of you have stories like these. Stories of hard work and dedication. Hanging your own shingle or staking your claim. You created something new, and in the process, created prosperity for a growing network of employees, partners, suppliers and neighbors.

Frank Labriola ’52 and his wife Mary have their story. Frank graduated from Mines with a professional degree in metallurgical engineering and with time, recognized that what he really wanted to do was start his own business. He put everything he had into founding PIMALCO, an incredibly successful manufacturer of lightweight hard-alloy aluminum for the aerospace industry.   

Frank and Mary believe that companies driven by leaders and innovators with both engineering and business smarts, and who take care of their people, are at the core of this country’s prosperity. They want Mines to inspire and produce that next generation of entrepreneurs and industry leaders and made a transformative gift to ensure that happens.

We will soon see the impact of their gift when we open the Labriola Innovation Hub in late 2022. It will contain makerspaces, team meeting spaces, the Thorson Capstone Lab and the McNeil Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation program. The Innovation Hub will be the central building in the Labriola Innovation Complex, which began to take shape in Fall 2020 with the completion of state-of-the-art project-based classrooms in McNeil Hall.

Mines students will start and finish their education in the Labriola Innovation Complex. It will have everything they need to move their projects and ideas from vision to reality. This complex will solidify Mines as a unique, top-of-mind, first-choice option for future generations of Orediggers. It will project our continued commitment to learning-by-doing and preparing future innovators and industry leaders.

Frank and Mary know entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders can, as Buffett puts it, create “a spread of prosperity that benefits all of humanity.” As you’ll see in the pages of this issue, Orediggers have been doing this long before now, and thanks to the Labriolas and many of you, we’re going to see that continue and grow.

Paul C. Johnson
President and Professor