By Jennifer Erb
2016-08-242016-09-01https://wvuieleaders.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/[email protected]WVU IE200px200px
When Bart Aitken came to WVU, he didn’t have an idea of what he wanted to do for a career. The fact that an older brother was an engineer led him to engineering. Since he liked working with people, he chose Industrial Engineering.
We buy assets with good growth potential and take them to a much higher level.
Bart did very well in college and went to Carnegie-Mellon for a Master’s degree (the equivalent of an MBA). Upon graduation from Carnegie-Mellon, he had a number of offers. He took a job with TRW, a high technology company. Right out of college, he was involved in strategic planning. He got to see the big picture of the direction that TRW was heading.
At the time, TRW was divesting itself of one of its business units. Bart went with the divested company. At age 27, Bart had P/L responsibility. Over the next several years Bart held senior executive positions with a number of organizations all of which were a spinoff of the original TRW divesture.
In Bart’s current position with Harbour Group, he is the President of businesses assets bought by Harbour Group. “We buy assets with good growth potential and take them to a much higher level. Then we sell them. As President I’m involved in growing the businesses,” Bart says.
Bart has no difficulty being the President of a highly diverse collection of businesses. “I’m not the technical expert,” Bart says, “but my educational background has given me a sense of where to focus the efforts to grow the business.”
One of Bart’s business units was in Germany. While Bart didn’t know any German to start, he found that he needed to learn enough German to communicate with the company’s employees.
Bart loves to see the companies he leads grow and prosper. The company’s growth leads to employment growth and stability as well. Bart also benefits from the sale of the business and gets a share of the gain in its asset value.
Mr. Aitken joined Cleaver-Brooks in 2015 as President, Chief Executive Officer and Director. Previously, he served as Group President at St. Louis-based Harbour Group, which acquired Cleaver-Brooks in 2012. Mr. Aitken joined Harbour Group as Group Vice President in 1998 and was named Group President in 1999. In 2005, he assumed the responsibilities of President and CEO of Lincoln Industrial Corporation. Following Harbour Group’s divestiture of Lincoln in 2010, he rejoined Harbour Group as Group President in 2011. In his role as Group President, Mr. Aitken had responsibility for the following portfolio groups: Plastic Processing Equipment, Automotive Accessories, Building Components, Lubricating Systems, Home Products and Boiler Room Solutions. Prior to joining Harbour Group, he served as Vice President and General Manager of the Engineered Products Group at Kennametal Inc. and Greenfield Industries, Inc., and Director of European Operations at Greenfield. Earlier, he held a number of operations management, manufacturing engineering and planning/analyst positions at RTW, Inc., and TRW, Inc. Mr. Aitken received a BS degree in Industrial Engineering from West Virginia University and an MS degree in Industrial Administration (MBA) from Carnegie Mellon University.