Business leaders like natural gas CEO Karen Wright create a market for skilled workers, invest in their communities, and offer products and services that enable industries and households to prosper. Competitive Enterprise Institute President Kent Lassman interviewed Wright in a wide-ranging discussion about the virtues of capitalism, now published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
“Karen Wright is a role model for the many business owners in America who both run profitable companies and invest in their communities and the future,” said Richard Morrison, CEI research fellow and presenter of CEI’s Profiles in Capitalism series. “People like Wright exemplify what business leadership in a free society is all about—a person who has the entrepreneurial talent to make money and thereby raising up the lives and livelihoods of those around her.”
The interview delves into Wright’s efforts to promote and defend the unparalleled value that affordable energy brings to American households and the rest of the economy. The discussion also focuses on Wright’s efforts to revitalize her hometown of Mount Vernon, Ohio, which, like many small towns, lost businesses and vibrancy during the late 20th century.
Karen Wright is CEO of the Ariel Corporation, the manufacturing company her father founded in 1966. She presided over a period of dramatic growth at the company, expanding production, sales, payroll, and profits, which in turn helped rebuild the household incomes and tax base of her town. In 2009 Wright created the Ariel Foundation, which made hundreds of grants to local community groups and social service organizations in the town of Mount Vernon and surrounding Knox County, Ohio, from the local Red Cross and YMCA chapters to arts education and technical training schools.
Wright has also been a leader in public affairs and philanthropy at the national level, serving on the boards of the American Petroleum Institute and the State Policy Network. A supporter of historical and cultural causes, Wright made a major contribution towards a new research library at George Washington’s home at Mt. Vernon, Virginia, where visitors today can enjoy the Karen Buchwald Wright Reading Room, opened in 2013.