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. Rob

    See a tag cloud of Obama's 2011 State of the Union Address: http://robvstate.com/2011/01/25/tag-cloud-of-obamas-2011-state-of-the-union-address/

    And see how it compares to the 2010 State of the Union Address

    January 25, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      If Homeland Security can delay you long enough at the check in point at airports the new high speed trains (we need to invest billions in) will get you there faster.

      January 26, 2011 at 7:11 am | Report abuse |
  2. TimeCop

    Fisher's wife drills shaft? Wha!?

    January 25, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      So now our recovery is based on mine disasters?

      January 26, 2011 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
  3. Cesar

    President Obama is just a smooth talker like Bill Clinton. GW, well, not much in that dept.

    January 26, 2011 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
  4. Chewy

    How many small businesses will suffer or fail under Obamacare? Invite a few of them next time. Invite a few of the small business owners from Mubai while you're at it. They're doing great!

    January 26, 2011 at 6:39 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Isn't it something how BO (and the Dems) can produce bad facts then use them over and over again to make their case? They provided mis-information to the CBO, double count billions in savings and do not include the "Dr Fix" then use the faulty CBO outcomes as evidence that OBCare will save money. He did it again last night – and every time you hear the Dems speak of OBCare they do it.

      January 26, 2011 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
  5. Banderman

    Big government, small benefit. Obama is nothing but a baloney slicer. A political hack that does not know the difference between right and wrong – only right and left.

    January 26, 2011 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
    • love it

      i loved his speech. he did what he needed to do: get the people in the middle to believe in him again. He'll win again in 2012!

      January 26, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  6. more obama retoric

    obama smoke is blinding my eyes, yet I see that obama is NO business man, he is only a smoke screen set on the destruction of the American Dream and We The People see through his smoke. 2012 will be the end of the obama smoke screen and We The People can begin to rebuild this great nation.

    January 26, 2011 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
    • love it

      this nation is better now than it was without the Health care Reform Act. The whole purpose of government is to serve the people. We are nothing but a third world country if we don't take care of our weak, poor and old. If you listened to the speech carefully you would have heard something we have never heard before. He wants to put in legislation that with a simple click of the mouse we can SEE what all the lobbyist are doing and lobbying for. We can see who is corrupt and who is not!! That is the smartest thing I have heard of to date to help "we the people" know who is full of s**t!

      January 26, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. Philip

    "The Man Who Did Big Things" by Bobby Wilson. 3rd. grade. (he he...smoothe talkers generally use big words don't they?)

    January 26, 2011 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. anonymous

    I studied his story. He got a half a million dollar government handout. Anybody can do great things if somebody get's behind them. IN the normally free democratic capitalist society, this is called INVESTMENT, something that the Obama Administration is hell bent on KILLING.

    January 26, 2011 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  9. CincyCat

    Sure... Center Rock's owner is the "little guy"... Right up until Obama finds out the owners (and most small business owners like him) are actually part of the "Top 2%" that he plans to tax the daylights out of for being "too rich"...

    January 26, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  10. buctrain

    The best thing the president can do for small business is to get big government of their backs. More rules just break the backs of small business. No hand outs are necessary, just limit the number of idiots with clip boards leving fines and rewriting the laws almost daily. Time to shrink the government. Big government just creats more government.

    January 26, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. lazsensor

    So far my friends have lost a total of 7 businesses in the last 2 years.All of whom employed 65 people.The reason,higher taxes on small business,looming Obamacare,unable to secure loans due to Government bureaucracy,overseas manufacturing and the American people afraid to spend money during THIS administration!Someone needs to deliver us from this bondage!!!!!!!!And it's not BO!

    January 26, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  12. duke

    You clowns keep crying about higher taxes,
    Can any of you show and prove how your taxes has risen??
    No free thinker amongst you,just one liners and talking points giving you your opinion!!

    January 26, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  13. TimeCop

    No Republican will deliver us from bondage either. Remember all the outsourcing that was done for the past 30 years was done so under Republican controlled Congress and WH. Republicans always let corporations screw you under the guise of free enterprise capitalism. They (R+D) are all in on it together. I have yet to hear ONE politician address outsourcing even though they set up websites (americaspeaksout.com) where thousands of citizens have demanded an end to the outsourcing of American jobs. Where are you John Bohener? *crickets chirping* People need to start voting for independents instead of these antiques from the 19th century political arena.

    January 26, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  14. TimeCop

    @duke: The Dems do choke the life out of businesses. We have an insane manufacturing tax rate (30%) while supposed socialist countries like Canada are around 6%. Balance is needed. There are some good ideas on both sides, but neither side seems willing to embrace the opposing party's ideas, hence the gridlock you see now.

    January 26, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  15. duke

    While I agree the corporate tax rate in this country might be high,
    It didn't get that way last week or even the last two years,
    I'm talking about those whose taxes went nowhere,yet they are the loudest critics,with the same point that rich people like limbuagh and others who's taxes will be going up!
    And can someone please define what is a small business??

    January 26, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
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