Month: May 2017

Giving back. Supporting the community. Making a difference.

Gray07222013004Dick and Stasi Gray do that every day.

The couple, who both graduated from Michigan Tech in 1982, like to help Michigan Tech students by supporting scholarships and student activities and organizations.

“We like to give back,” Dick says. “We are investing in the future.”

Dick, who has a bachelor’s in geological engineering, spent 23 years in the oil and gas industry; 16 of those with Amoco, living and working throughout the western United States and later as the president of a privately held oil and gas company called Presco Western LLC.

When Dick and Stasi were starting out and raising their three children, they remember receiving calls about giving back to Michigan Tech. “At the very beginning when they called us, we’d give $25 or $50,” Dick says.

After returning to Houghton, Michigan in 2005 to open the Keweenaw Brewing Company, also known as the KBC, they began to employ college students at the brewery taproom, many whom attended Michigan Tech.

The couple credits the success of the taproom to support from Michigan Tech students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends.

“The KBC has become more than just a brew pub. It’s a community gathering place,” Stasi says. “It’s like a coffee shop that serves beer. We are entwined with Michigan Tech. Our business is entwined. We wouldn’t be here if not for our educations at Tech.”

That connection led them to give to students through the Dr. William J. Gregg Endowed Scholarship and the Bill Rose Geoscience Student Travel Endowment, in addition to Blue Key, Pep Band, and other student organizations.

“It’s a nice way to provide support and we want the money to get to the students for scholarships,” Dick says. “We want to benefit the students. We don’t need a building, a park, a wing, but we do like helping the students.”

For Stasi, returning to Houghton and supporting Michigan Tech has become a family legacy. Her father, brother, and sister-in-law are alumni as are the couples’ children Ryan ’07 and Dana ’07.

“My dad always talked about this place with such fondness,” Stasi says. “There is something about this place that we fell in love with. It’s a family thing for us.”

Besides the brew pub, the Grays own and operate a 25,000-square-foot wholesale brewery located in South Range, Michigan. KBC beers are sold across Michigan, northern Wisconsin, and eastern Minnesota.

Dick and Stasi say they want to support Michigan Tech and encourage others to do the same.

“You have to have the sense that you can make a difference in the future of someone,” Dick says. “You care about the university for what it’s done for you and you want it to succeed in the future and you want students to reap the benefits that you did.”