Harold Short graduated in 1940 from Colorado State with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. As a student, he was active in the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, Pacemakers and ROTC. At Colorado State, he met his wife, Betty, who studied home economics and served as president of Panhellenic Council.
Following graduation, Harold Short worked briefly designing bridges for the state of Wyoming. He was commissioned in the Field Artillery, and in 1941 he was called to active duty. Short served 5 years in the Army during World War II, earned the rank of lieutenant colonel and received two Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart.
After the war, Short worked in the construction industry as project manager for Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc. In 1953, Short’s aspiration to go into business for himself led to a partnership with J.G. Milne in Milne Ready Mixed Concrete Inc. in Boulder.
Under Short’s management, the company evolved from a small sand and gravel outfit into Flatiron Companies, a group of construction firms founded in 1972. The firms’ operations included paving, concrete, sand and gravel, and development.
Today, the Flatiron Companies engage in land development and property management services, and Short continues to serve as chairman of the board.
Short’s contributions to the business and civic community have included service as the chairman of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association; director, regional vice chairman and board member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; president of the Colorado Contractor’s Association; and member of the National Asphalt Association and National Sand and Gravel Association.
Short has served as chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee on the Environment, chairman of Mountain States Employers Council, trustee of the Mountain States Legal Foundation, trustee of Colorado State University Alumni Foundation, director of Affiliated Bankshares of Colorado, director and chairman of Arapaho National Bank, director of First National Bank of Boulder, and president of the Boulder Rotary Club and Boulder Chamber of Commerce.
Harold and Betty Short have a long history of supporting Colorado State. They have established endowment scholarships throughout the university, have made land contributions, and have given to many university campaigns. They made the first major gift to launch the Morgan Library campaign.
The Shorts’ recent $2 million gift to the engineering and physics campaign is the largest individual donation in Colorado State’s history. The gift will help fund the expansion and renovation of the Engineering Building as well as establish an endowed chair in the College of Engineering.
The Shorts have three children, Mary Kay Short McDowell, Carol Patton and James Short. The Short family’s connection to Colorado State University extends to Mary Kay Short McDowell and her husband, Ed McDowell, who both earned degrees from Colorado State. James Short also is a Colorado State alumnus.