By Debbie Robinson
U.S. Sen. Kit Bond on Friday praised the work of LaBarge Inc. and the award the company received from defense company Raytheon.
Speaking to more than 350 employees, and state and local legislators, Bond, who has served in the Senate since 1986, said the Six Sigma award to LaBarge reflects the commitment of employees to developing technology and electronics that are used by Raytheon in defense systems.
LaBarge develops electronics and interconnect systems used in those systems.
“It’s so important, because the fate of our young men and women are linked to the technologies you do here,” Bond said.
Raytheon awarded the Six Sigma award to LaBarge for the company’s effort to streamline production and lower operating costs while maintaining quality.
Bond recounted his son, Samuel, an officer in the U.S. Marines and how the defense systems and technology helped keep the military in Iraq safe.
“They’re coming back much safer as a result,” he said.
Raytheon recently awarded LaBarge a $10 million contract for work in Joplin on the David’s Sling program, a joint project between the United States and Israel to develop systems that would protect against short-range rockets and ballistic missiles.
“I assure you, I’ll continue these programs and get funding to support the defense,” Bond said.
Another project between the two companies is the miniature, air-launched decoy program that will be used to develop protection for military pilots.
Craig LaBarge, chief executive officer and president of LaBarge, praised the relationship with Raytheon that has spanned four decades.
Dennis Carroll, Raytheon vice president of business development, stressed LaBarge’s importance.
“What you do is make everyone of our guided-missile systems perform,” Carroll said. “Our national defense is so important to our nation, because we’re always going to have enemies.”
Also speaking to the crowd was Phil Benoit, Raytheon director of procurement for missile systems.
“About a year ago, our tactical Tomahawk program experienced some challenges,” Benoit said. “Your management and you accepted that challenge and scrap is greatly reduced. Now that program is up and running strong.”
After Bond addressed the crowd, he responded to questions about his thoughts on Republican presumptive presidential nominee John McCain’s choice of a running mate.
McCain announced early Friday he had selected Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
“He’s chosen a governor, and I think that’s extremely important to have someone with executive experience,” Bond said.
Bond said he has never met Palin, 44, but that her record is known. He said she is known for maintaining a high standard of ethics.
As for the choice of a woman, Bond said: “It’s about time.”
By Debbie Robinson
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