Obama portrays small business owner as man who did 'big things'
Brandon Fisher's small business manufactured equipment used to find and rescue 33 trapped miners in Chile last year.
January 25th, 2011
11:45 PM ET

Obama portrays small business owner as man who did 'big things'

Brandon Fisher has tried to avoid the publicity that comes with playing a key role in two of the last decade's biggest mine rescues.

But when the President of the United States wants to mention you in his State of the Union speech, and the first lady invites you to sit with her, there's really no way to decline.

And so, Fisher donned a suit and tie and showed up with his wife, Julie, as guests in Michelle Obama's box during President Barack Obama's second State of the Union address to the nation.

In the eyes of the President, the small business owner from Berlin, Pennsylvania, was not just an honored guest of the evening. He was a symbol of the American dream - alongside Vice President Joe Biden, "a working class kid from Scranton" and Speaker of the House John Boehner, "who began by sweeping the floors of his father's Cincinnati bar" - someone of modest means who would go on to "do big things," Obama said.

"We may have different opinions, but we believe in the same promise that says this is a place where you can make it if you try. We may have different backgrounds, but we believe in the same dream that says this is a country where anything's possible. No matter who you are. No matter where you come from. That dream is why I can stand here before you tonight," he said.

"And that dream is the story of a small business owner named Brandon Fisher."

Fisher's business, which specializes in drilling technology, is based in the heart of Pennsylvania's mining country. His company, Center Rock Inc., aided in the rescue of nine miners who were trapped for more than four days after the 2002 collapse of the Quecreek Mine. He has drilled oil, gas and water holes and the foundations for the Trump Tower in Chicago, Illinois.

But those assignments paled in comparison to the difficulties of rescuing 33 men in Chile who became trapped August 5 when a copper and gold mine they were working in collapsed around them.

Fisher became involved in the rescue effort when the company that distributes his custom-made drills in Chile put the Chilean government in touch with him. Eventually Fisher's drill bits widened the hole leading to the miners to a size that allowed them to be extracted from underground one at a time in a specially designed cage.

Fisher's wife, Julie, also spent 37 days in Chile working to drill the mine shaft.

By the time the actual rescue commenced, Fisher was already home in Pennsylvania, working on his next project, Obama said.

"Later, one of his employees said of the rescue, 'We proved that Center Rock is a little company, but we do big things.'

"From the earliest days of our founding, America has been the story of ordinary people who dare to dream. That's how we win the future. We are a nation that says, 'I might not have a lot of money, but I have this great idea for a new company. I might not come from a family of college graduates, but I will be the first to get my degree. I might not know those people in trouble, but I think I can help them, and I need to try. I'm not sure how we'll reach that better place beyond the horizon, but I know we'll get there. I know we will.

"We do big things."

Read more about Fisher's role in the Chile mine rescue

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Cesar

    Center Rock Inc: Awesome great job.

    January 26, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  2. Philip

    Your leaders, all of them, wether they be Democrat, Republican, or otherwise REFUSE to allow a public audit of the Federal Reserve/Central Banks just like the world's other major governments, who also do not allow their federal reserve/central banks to be audited. Why? Because then we would all know that this worlds economy is and has been manipulated by one single bank. They call themselves the Bank for International Settlements, and they bleed economies dry, determining for themselves what nations are allowed to be in debt and thrive, and what nations aren't allowed, and starve. When they steal too much and the economy falters, they give some of what they stole back. But just enough to keep the whole glass house from caving in. Ask your congressman about this and watch him/her hem and haw pretending they don't know this already. (if you have never heard of the B.I.S, you have no clue how economies work, so stop pretending.)

    January 26, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lynelle Johnson

    I am a small business owner and have been for most of my adult life. The problem with our goverment is it needs to be run like a business and not a charity ward. We can not afford to continue to give away more than we take in. Our ss system is so over burdened and abused to a point of no return. A great number of those on medicaid, social security disability, speacial housing, day care assistance, free cell phones for those on these programs etc are abusing the system and it is repeated and handed down from generation to generation , taught from parent to child. Our goverment is not here to serve the people who are too lazy to do for themselves.... What needs to happen is everyone needs to be accountable for their own actions, stand up and take care of themselves instead of looking for a hand out. then we need to cut all spending by a certain percentage across the board to be fair to everyone, they all get cut. It is real simple. As to Obama, yea, he is just blowing smoke, but ya gotta give him credit, he is good at it..

    January 26, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Philip

    @Lynelle Johnson...get out of the symptoms and into the cause (identified in the post directly above yours) Missy. 🙂

    January 26, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
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