Tripp was born in Pasadena, Calif., and has been a resident of New Mexico since 1960. He has been active in business since graduating from college in 1969. Until 1975, he owned Tripp Wholesale Jewelers, which manufactured silver jewelry. That business evolved to become the present Tripp's Inc., a manufacturer of gold jewelry parts that serves 15,000 customers worldwide.
In 1985, Tripp launched Easy Self Storage in Socorro and Bypass Self Storage in Silver City, N.M., with more than 500 units between the two facilities. He started Tripp’s Construction Co., a self-storage contractor, in 1989.
Tripp has also expanded into the farming business with farms south of Socorro.
The W.N. Eaton Award is not Tripp’s first honor. In 1993, he received the Governor's Viva Award for Business Excellence. In 1998, he was elected as the state representative for District 49 (Socorro, Catron and Valencia Counties). He serves on the Agriculture and Water Resources, and Taxation and Revenue Committees, as well as the Interim New Mexico Finance Authority Oversight Committee. His work on water-conservation issues has made him a leader in the fight for private rights and for reigning in government controls of domestic wells.
Tripp is on the board of directors of State National Bank and is a former director of the Association of Commerce and Industry. He is also a former regent of Western New Mexico University in Silver City, and a former board member of the New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation. Tripp also served as the New Mexico Economic Development Commissioner for District 7.