posted October 11, 2010

Hope College Alumni Association to Honor Luke Pinkerton

The Hope College Alumni Association will present a Young Alumni Award to 1997 graduate Luke Pinkerton, president and chief technology officer of Ann Arbor-based Polytorx, on Saturday, Oct. 23, during the college's Homecoming Weekend.

Pinkerton will receive the recognition during a celebration brunch for all Hope alumni being held at the Haworth Inn and Conference Center.  Registration for the brunch, which begins at 9:30 a.m., is required.

The Young Alumni Award was established to honor the talents and contributions that young alumni have made to their professions, their communities and to the college, and was first presented in 2007.  Criteria include having been a member of the Alumni Association for 15 or fewer years; notable prominence through professional endeavor, research, volunteerism, and/or involvement with the local or global community or the college; and demonstrating significant initiative by starting innovative service projects, research, businesses or other original enterprises.

Polytorx, which Pinkerton co-founded in 2003, manufactures Helix, a twisted steel reinforcement that is mixed with concrete to provide superior strength and resistance to cracking, faster installation times and lower costs than traditional materials such as rebar.  Helix is sold in more than 30 countries for virtually all uses of concrete.

Pinkerton majored in engineering-physics at Hope.  After graduation he pursued a master's degree in civil structural engineering at the University of Michigan, where he was part of a research team that developed what ultimately became Helix.

After completing his graduate degree at the University of Michigan, Pinkerton went on to work with General Dynamics as a structural engineer and founded HomePort, a company to market a consumer electronics device that he had designed.  In 2002, he left General Dynamics and enrolled in the MBA program at Georgia Tech University to pursue an MBA en route to working with his former faculty mentor and others to develop a business around Helix.

Pinkerton and the company have received several awards through the years, including The Michigan Technology Tricorridor Award, a National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research Grant, the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Association (NCIIA) Award for Excellence in Marketing and the Carrot Capital Business Plan Competition.  Helix was featured on "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" in May 2006.

Pinkerton came to Hope as a student from Granville Ohio, where he graduated from Granville High School in 1993.  His co-curricular activities at the college included men's swimming and the Cosmopolitan Fraternity, and volunteering as a tutor with the Hope College Upward Bound program.   He also participated in the Vienna Summer School

Pinkerton and his wife, Joy, who is a 1996 Hope graduate, live in Ann Arbor.  They have two young children at home, Wil and Meg.

The brunch costs $10, and alumni can register at or visit the college's office of Alumni and Parent Relations.  The office is on the second floor of the DeWittCenter and can be called at (616) 395-7899.

The DeWitt Center is located at 141 E. 12th St., facing Columbia Avenue at 12th St.  The Haworth Inn and Conference Center is located at 225 College Ave., between Ninth and 10th streets.