Monday, November 22, 2010

GlobalPittsburgh Honoring Somerset County Drilling Company For Efforts to Help Save Trapped Chilean Miners

Center Rock, Inc., the Somerset County, Pa.-based company that provided advanced drilling technology to help rescue the 33 trapped Chilean miners in October, will be honored by GlobalPittsburgh with its International Bridge Award for building bridges of understanding and communication between the Pittsburgh Region and other parts of the world.

Officials from Center Rock, whose technology was a key part in the rescue of the miners who were trapped 2,000 feet underground for two months, will receive the award at the GlobalPittsburgh Annual Dinner on Monday, December 20, 2010 at LeMont Restaurant.

GlobalPittsburgh President Roger Cranville said Center Rock’s actions to help with the Chilean mine rescue, which captured the attention of the world, exemplify the type of grass roots citizen diplomacy that helps strengthen international relations at the personal level.

“This is the type of goodwill effort to bring the people of the world together that no government entity could accomplish,” Cranville said. “We want to honor the people of Center Rock for their amazing success in this heroic rescue, and raise them up as an example of what citizen diplomacy can achieve.”

For more than 50 years, GlobalPittsburgh, formerly known as the Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors, has forged relationships between the Greater Pittsburgh Region and the global community through citizen diplomacy – connecting people and institutions in the region with audiences around the world through a wide range of hosting, training, networking, educational and outreach programs and services.

Center Rock’s involvement in the Chilean mine rescue began in mid-August, after news that 33 men working underground at the time of a major mine collapse at the San Jose Mine in the Atacama Desert near Copiapo, Chile, were still alive after 17 days. The bad news was that it could take until Christmas to free them.

At Center Rock, a small company in Berlin, Pa., President and CEO Brandon Fisher, and Richard Soppe, Manager of DHD Sales & Product Development, knew that Center Rock’s technology could help aid in the rescue of the 33 miners. They launched a plan that ultimately led to the men’s release two months ahead of schedule.

Working through a network of its distributors and fellow drilling experts with contacts in Chile, Center Rock was able to provide the special equipment that created a shaft wide enough to accommodate the rescue capsule in what came to be known as “Plan B.”

On September 4, Fisher and Soppe arrived at the site of the rescue to join several other members of the drilling team who had traveled from other parts of the world. Rescuers would use increasingly larger versions of Center Rock’s DTH (down-the-hole) drilling technology to create a shaft large enough to permit use of the 22-inch-wide, 13-foot-tall rescue capsule, dubbed the “Phoenix,” which pulled the miners to safety starting on October 12.

In addition to honoring Center Rock with the International Bridge Award, the GlobalPittsburgh Annual Dinner will focus on the theme “Celebrating Chile – Connecting Countries, Cultures and Citizen Diplomats,” and feature fine food, a wine tasting, music and entertainment. The event will run from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at LeMont Restaurant, 1114 Grandview Avenue on Mt. Washington.

Since 1993, the International Bridge Awards have been a unique recognition of the region’s global connections by GlobalPittsburgh, which engages international delegations, groups and individuals by creating itineraries and facilitating introductions through the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program and other international programming agencies in many fields, including energy and environment, life sciences and medicine, education, business and technology, clean/green design, advanced manufacturing, arts and culture, government and finance, social services and law, and other areas.

Tickets to the GlobalPittsburgh Annual Dinner at LeMont are available by calling 412-392-4513 or sending email to Gail Shrott at Tickets are $50 each for GlobalPittsburgh members, $60 for non-members, or $450 for a table of eight. Advance reservations are required and must be paid by December 13, 2010.

For more information about GlobalPittsburgh, go to or contact Thomas Buell, Jr., GlobalPittsburgh VP-Communications, at 412-392-4513 or 412-720-2218, or by email at

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