Monday, July 23, 2007

The Carlyle Group and You

The Carlyle Group and You

More accurately, this would say "The Carlyle Group and Its Tenuous Connections to St. Louis and My Family History" but that's kind of long.

You know who The Carlyle Group is -- a prominent Washington DC-based private-equity firm that leverages investments in all kinds of businesses and in real estate, with principals that have included prominent politicians of various stripes, most notably former members of the Bush and Reagan administrations.

Like other private equity firms, Carlyle invests in numerous different kinds of businesses simultaneously; but they are not 1960s-style conglomerates inasmuch as they tend to plan for short-term ownership of their subsidiaries.

Anyway, within the past month, two companies with generic-sounding names have come under the Carlyle umbrella: Sequa Corporation and PQ Corporation.

PQ originally was Philadelphia Quartz; but it also has a large subsidiary called Potters Industries. And one of the divisions of Potters is Crestwood MO-based Flex-O-Lite.

Flex-O-Lite makes glass beads for reflective paint used for striping highways and airport runways. They have been located in St. Louis for 60+ years.

My grandfather Albert Frank worked as a burner operator at their former manufacturing plant on Flex-O-Lite Drive in Affton during the 1950s.

Sequa Corporation, meanwhile, is a bit more like the old-line conglomerates. They make automotive parts, printing equipment, tuxedos, and aircraft engines and engine parts through their Chromalloy Gas Turbine subsidiary.

Chromalloy Gas Turbine is the largest component of Sequa, and the only one retaining the name of the former Chromalloy American Corporation, a one-time Clayton MO-based conglomerate that Sequa acquired in 1987. Over the years, Chromalloy owned such things as what is today Washington Ave.-based CPI Corporation (once called Chromalloy Photographic Industries; later changed to Consumer Programs Incorporated).

As best I can tell, though, the only remaining part of Sequa located in St. Louis is Precoat Metals.

Precoat has offices at 1310 Papin Street in the Blanke Building downtown, but their St. Louis manufacturing facility is located at 4301 S. Spring St. in Dutchtown.

4301 S. Spring is a large parcel at the SW corner of Spring and Bingham, so it includes the former Goeke farm at 3860 Bingham Ave.

Anyway, these kinds of bizarre, tenuous connections seem to fascinate me.

Later, maybe I'll share (if I can figure it out myself) how I'm distantly connected to one of Michael Allen's favorite people. ;-)

1 comment:

samizdat said...

Fortunately, you're not a ruthlessly evil supra-national conglomerate like Carlyle.