Karen Wright proudly poses inside the Washington Room, a unique library and sitting room inside the Mount Vernon Grand Hotel.

Alan Reed/Mount Vernon News

Karen Wright proudly poses inside the Washington Room, a unique library and sitting room inside the Mount Vernon Grand Hotel.


WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, The Heritage Foundation, a leading think tank based in Washington, D.C., will honor Karen Buchwald Wright with its George Washington Generations Yet Unborn Award. Wright is the president and CEO of the Ohio-based manufacturer, Ariel Corp.

As George Washington wrote in a letter to the Legislature of Pennsylvania in 1789: “It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but … stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn.”

The Heritage Foundation’s George Washington Generations Yet Unborn Award recognizes those who, like America’s first president, are concerned with securing the blessings of liberty for future generations. By providing the equipment necessary for tapping into America’s vast natural gas reserves, Wright is ensuring that future generations will have access to abundant, affordable energy and a vibrant economy.

Wright’s story is one of loyalty, hard work, and vision. Several years after graduating college, Wright returned to her home town of Mount Vernon, in 1980, to begin learning the ropes at Ariel Corp. — a rapidly growing company founded by her father, Jim Buchwald, just 14 years prior. Ariel had already grown from a small business into a major provider of reciprocating gas compressors.

Her parents passed the family business to the next generation in the late 1990s, and Wright gradually took on more responsibility. After becoming president and CEO in 2001, Wright more than quadrupled Ariel’s revenues and production, and greatly increased the company’s international reach. Under Wright’s leadership — as chief executive officer, president, and chairman — Ariel became the largest producer of reciprocating gas compressors in the world.

Ariel’s success has enabled Wright to engage in philanthropic work that has improved the lives of Mount Vernon residents — and will continue to do so for decades to come. Through Ariel Corp., personally, and the private family foundation she established in 2009, the Ariel Foundation, Wright has supported dozens of programs for area schools, colleges, universities, safety-net organizations, and parks and recreation projects — including the recently completed Ariel Foundation Park, a 250-acre public park and green space in the city.

Wright has also been a strong supporter of The Heritage Foundation since 1993.

“Karen is dedicated to her home town and to towns across America, which rely on America’s energy resources for jobs and for affordable energy. She understands how free-market principles and innovation improve people’s livelihood.” Heritage President Jim DeMint said.

“Paying success forward and giving others the opportunity to succeed is the right thing to do. Whatever your personal definition of success may be, whether it is improving the quality of life in the community or providing young people the opportunity to achieve the satisfaction and dignity that accompanies a job well done — that’s what I’d like to leave behind,” Wright said. “Heritage is a part of that promise as they protect, define and promote exactly the individual rights and rule of law defined by the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and The Bill of Rights. These principles make America, the country George Washington led to nationhood, the best place in the history of the human race to accomplish these goals.”

Wright will receive the George Washington Generations Yet Unborn Award on the last night of The Heritage Foundation’s annual President’s Club Meeting in Washington, D.C. With more than a half-million members, The Heritage Foundation is the nation’s most widely supported think tank.



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