Tom Tribone – Business Leader
Tom grew up in the “Heights” very close to Coach Bruno and his family, and fondly recalls spending time in the Bruno backyard with Coach displaying his “magic” for the neighborhood kids. He attended St Mary’s school before Beaver Falls High School. At St. Mary’s Tom was coached by another LBF inductee, Joe Ursida. Joe taught him to “always keep your engine warm and the driver cool.” He says that is why he always made those clutch free throws while playing for St Mary’s Beaver County CYO Basketball Champions in 1969 and later at Case Western Reserve University.
Tom got his first exposure to business in the Beaver Falls industrial environment as well as at home. His father was a financial executive with Dravo Corp. His parents encouraged academics and analytical thinking, while fostering an early and lasting interest in technical subjects and a curiosity about “how and why things work.” These interests, with inspiration from his Beaver Falls teachers, led him to pursue degrees in engineering, law and business. When one of Tom’s business partners was asked how Tom seemed to find so many opportunities, he answered “he looks for things.”
Tom’s professional career has been in the energy sector. He joined Atlantic Richfield Company in 1974 upon completing his undergraduate education. After getting his MBA and Juris Doctor degrees from Duquesne University, he joined with a former Secretary of Energy to build a new company, The AES Corporation. AES was the first company in what was to become an entirely new industry, the Independent Power Industry. Most of the commercial structure of today’s electric and gas industries was influenced by the ideas developed at AES.
By the year 2000, when Tom left AES to start a new company, AES had become the largest electricity company in the world. The new company he founded was originally called Guggenheim Global Infrastructure Company and is now Franklin Park Investments. Franklin Park invests beyond energy into other infrastructure businesses like railroads, roads, ports and logistics as well as traditional and renewable energy.
Tom’s business leadership has been written about by such renowned authors as Robert Waterman Jr. Waterman wrote the all-time best-selling business book, In Search of Excellence. In his best-seller, What America Does Right, Waterman devotes a chapter called “Everyone a Leader” to Tom’s unique management style. Some of the events Waterman describes took place in Beaver County, when Tom was a General Manager at the former ARCO plant in Potter Township.
He has worked in over 35 countries and pioneered many energy industry activities that are commonplace today. His perspective is to work on things that go beyond being good business ideas to provide wider societal benefits. Some of his first-of-a-kind achievements include: first mergers of regulated utilities by non-regulated companies in the United States, first private power plant in Mexico, first bi-national gas pipeline between Argentina and Brazil and the introduction of new road-building technology in China.
He is involved with several major research universities. The Tribone Center at Duquesne provides free legal services to Veterans and other members of the Pittsburgh community. In 2016 he was nominated for the Standard & Poor’s Global Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Tom married Michele Mrozek of Aliquippa. They met as engineers working at Atlantic Richfield. Tom has said he believes that the most general definition of intelligence – “the ability to achieve goals in a wide range of environments” – was written about Michele. Michele recently told Tom’s mother, Evelyn, that she would marry Tom again, to which his brother John immediately responded that he never knew Michele to make the same mistake twice. They have four daughters.