|JOPLIN, Mo. — St. Louis-based LaBarge, Inc., a manufacturer of precision electronic wiring harnesses and cable assemblies with manufacturing facilities in Joplin, announced that the company will expand its operations into a section of the former King Press building at 13th and Maiden Lane.
LaBarge President and Chief Executive Officer Craig LaBarge made the statement during a May 4th standing room only press conference at the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce. "I am happy to announce that LaBarge has leased 56,000 additional square feet of manufacturing space in the former King Press building, which is directly adjacent to our largest facility here," LaBarge said.
From left: Joplin Mayor Jon Tupper and Chamber President Kyle Hickam visit with LaBarge President and CEO Craig LaBarge following the press conference. Don Wilkinson/JBJ
The company considered a variety of solutions for their needs, but LaBarge said that they ended up expanding literally into their own backyard. The LaBarge facility on Maiden Lane is about 60,000 square feet in size and directly south of the existing King Press building. The company has a second operation on the northwest corner of Junge Blvd. and Schifferdecker Rd. of about 33,000 square feet.
"These two facilities have served us quite well over the years, but we’ve reached the point where we need additional capacity and the two buildings are no longer sufficient," LaBarge said. According to LaBarge, the demand for their advanced manufacturing services has been growing, and within the last year the company has secured several important new contracts for cables and wiring harnesses that are being manufactured in Joplin. These include orders from Raytheon, Sikorsky Aircraft, Boeing, and most recently a $10 million contract with Eclipse Aviation.
"The expansion will increase our square footage in Joplin about 60 percent and will provide plenty of capacity in the near term to meet our growing needs. I am happy to report that our business expansion will create between 60 and 80 new jobs this year. We have an exceptional workforce in Joplin, so I am very, very pleased that our expansion will allow us to create these new jobs in short order in this community."
LaBarge said that the building is being completely renovated to suit their needs and when completed will feature a new roof, heating and air conditioning systems, high intensity lighting and other internal improvements. The company expects to occupy a portion of the facility on an interim basis starting in the very near future, with the balance of the plant renovation completed by July.
"Over the years, our Joplin manufacturing operations have produced some of the most sophisticated cable assemblies and wiring harnesses ever made. The products assembled here support critical operations on commercial and military aircraft, missile systems, submarines, the Space Shuttle, medical applications and many, many others," LaBarge said.
The new space will house production for several defense programs, including the Blackhawk helicopter, the Tomahawk cruise missile, the Joint Standoff Weapons Systems (JSOWS), and others as the need arises.
Robertson Press Equipment of Webb City is the new owner of the former King Press property.
"The Joplin operation specialty is manufacturing complex cable assemblies and wiring harnesses that have to work reliably in very demanding environments ...they must work the first time and every time," LaBarge said.