Mark de Naray, CEO and president of Minnesota Diversified Industries, to speak Feb. 3

Mark de Naray, CEO and president of Minnesota Diversified Industries, to speak Feb. 3

Mark de Naray, chief executive officer and president of Minnesota Diversified Industries, is the next speaker in the University of St. Thomas Alumni Association ’s First Friday Luncheon Series.

The luncheon begins at noon Friday, Feb. 3, at The Depot, 225 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis.

One of Minnesota’s largest nonprofit corporations, MDI was founded more than 40 years ago and offers paid employment opportunities to people with disabilities and disadvantages. A manufacturer and distributor of corrugated reusable plastic containers, including the plastic totes used by the U.S. Postal Service, MDI also offers fulfillment, distribution and packaging and assembly services. Its goal is to enable its employees to develop transferable skills, earn a living wage and have access to benefits, ultimately achieving personal independence and self-sufficiency. The $45 million business grew by more than 35 percent in 2005 after a 2004 turnaround. It earns 97 percent of its operating funds from its business activities.

De Naray, who joined MDI in May 2003, has been a chief executive of six different businesses over the last 20 years, including five at Select Comfort Corp., the developer of the “Sleep Number” bed. He also has broad experience with nonprofit community organizations. He most recently served as an advisory board member for business development at Urban Ventures, an agency serving Minneapolis’ Phillips Neighborhood.

On first Fridays of each month during the academic year, the St. Thomas Alumni Association's First Friday Luncheon Series offers lunch and a speaker of current interest. St. Thomas alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends, along with the general public, are invited. Cost of each luncheon and presentation is $25. A limited number of $10 student tickets are available at the St. Thomas Box Office.

Reservations for the Feb. 3 luncheon are due Friday, Jan. 27. Early reservations are recommended as these events fill quickly. For nonstudent reservations and more information, call the St. Thomas Alumni Association, (651) 962-6430, or register online via the Alumni Association’s Web site.