Craig LaBarge, born in 1951, is a fifth generation St. Louisan.
After graduating from St. Louis University High School in 1969, he attended SLU and graduated in 1973 with a BS Commerce & Finance degree.
Upon graduation Craig went to work for “the family business”, LaBarge, Inc. The Company was founded as a steel pipe distributor in 1953 by his father, Pierre LaBarge, Jr., and through a series of mergers and acquisitions in the late 1960s and 1970s, had diversified into a variety of other businesses, going public along the way. After completing his degree at SLU, Craig immediately relocated to Southern California to begin learning the electronics business at one of the acquired companies. After two years in California he furthered his career by spending four years at the Company’s primary electronics design and manufacturing facility in Tulsa, OK. He then returned to St. Louis as President of the newly-formed Electronics Division of LaBarge, Inc.
Beginning in the mid-1980s Craig spearheaded a complete restructuring of the Company, which ultimately resulted in focusing entirely on the Electronics business and divesting all of the Company’s other business interests. The restructuring process, while tremendously challenging, was completed in the early 1990s.
The leadership team that Craig assembled beginning in the late 1990s was able to grow the business very successfully. From 2000 through 2011 revenues grew at a compound annual rate of 14%, while earnings increased at a 21% compound annual rate. During this period the Company consistently out-performed its peer group by a wide margin on key metrics of financial and operational performance. In large part, the success can be attributed to: a “customer-first” strategy focused on high-performance, custom products and services; a culture that encouraged and rewarded continuous improvement; and, strong execution.
In June 2011 LaBarge, Inc. was sold, and soon thereafter Craig retired. At the time of the sale, the Company served customers in the Defense, Aerospace, Oil & Gas, Mining and Medical Equipment markets. Full service engineering and manufacturing facilities in Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, employed approximately 1600 talented people.
BS, Business Administration 1973