Carl LaBarbera ’76 grew up in a business-oriented family, and Westmont gave him a good grounding in combining faith and work. After earning a degree in economics and business, he considered youth ministry as a career but joined the family firm instead. With his brother and later his sister, he grew the aerospace company from 15 to 120 employees and started related enterprises.
One of many Boeing subcontractors, the primary business added a final protective coating to parts from every kind of airplane imaginable, such as 747s, Airbuses and military fighter and cargo jets. After 24 years, the family sold the company, and Carl and his wife, Robin, established Kingdomworks SDG Foundation to glorify God by building capacity in other Christian organizations.
Robin served as a probation counselor at Orange County Juvenile Hall before volunteering to teach at a Christian school in Watts. During eight years in the inner city, she went to school to discover ways to help bright but disadvantaged students succeed. She earned a master’s degree in education at Biola University and a doctorate from Claremont Graduate University and joined the Biola faculty six years ago to train future teachers. Her expertise also includes special education, working with children with learning disabilities.
“We have a passion for leadership development, church planting, and empowering the urban poor, which includes building homes in Latin America,” Carl says. “The Vincent and Frances LaBarbera Scholarship at Westmont assists underrepresented students or those who are the first in the family to attend college.”
By serving on numerous local and national boards of Christian organizations, Carl shares the strategic planning expertise that helped him succeed as an entrepreneur and his experience with board governance.
Carl’s children, Ben ’04 and Rachel ’06, also graduated from Westmont. Ben teaches at Olive Grove Charter School in Goleta, and Rachel is a nurse at Long Beach Memorial Hospital.
Carl and Robin, who live in Seal Beach, Calif., encourage others to follow their passion and find their calling. “We all have opportunities to do that,” Carl says. “Serving with our strengths and passion honors God.”