Owning it

Linda Alvarado’s work ethic led her to an ownership position with the Rockies

March 30, 2012
(NBHOF Library)

Linda Alvarado had a simple goal: Think big.

This is the philosophy of life which Linda Alvarado learned from her parents. Growing up in Albuquerque, N.M. in a family with five brothers, living in an adobe home with no running water, she applied this ethic vigorously, rising to become the head of a major construction company and the first Hispanic owner of a major league baseball team.

Linda Alvarado’s family never treated her any differently from her brothers, and she quickly developed into an individual who would not let ethnicity or gender serve as an obstacle. After graduating from Sandia High School, she went off Pomona College in California earning a degree in economics. Upon returning to New Mexico, she became involved in the construction industry, eventually taking out a small loan to start her own business. She learned the business from the inside-out, trying her hand at all types of projects, and used each one to learn and expand.

Following the advice of her parents, she thought big, with the company eventually growing into the international multi-million dollar operation. Today the Alvarado Construction Company is well-respected within the industry, and employs over 450 people. She also owns Palo Alto Inc., a restaurant company with 150 locations. Alvarado also serves on the board of directors for several Fortune 500 companies, and she has served as a Commissioner for the White House Initiative for Hispanic Excellence in Education.

In 1991, she became part owner of the Colorado Rockies, serving as one of the few female owners in the game and the first Hispanic owner. With a love of the game, this was an opportunity which she could not turn down. As she told a reporter, “This is the first time any woman, as an entrepreneur earning her own money, was able to bring capital to a major league franchise.” While there were risks involved with an expansion franchise, she joined in and remains an active part of the team.

Holding true to her roots, Alvarado is also involved in a number of activities which seek to promote opportunities and education for young people. Her message is one to which many generations of Americans can relate.

“What I still hope for and long for is the day when people will truly be judged not based on where they came from, and their gender, but really on their ability,” Alvarado said. “That is a dream we can’t let go. America is a country of immigrants and our success is built not on everybody being alike, but on our diversity.

 “The competitive environment with my brothers taught me about teamwork and the importance of taking risks. You can never get to second base in you keep you foot safely on first. I realized that even if you strike out, you still get another turn at bat.”

Jim Gates is the Librarian at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum