Served as President of Thompson Products (which later became TRW) from 1933 through 1953, when he was named Chairman of the Board
Guided the company from the beginning stages of the automotive and aviation eras into the aerospace and electronic age
Frederick C. Crawford believed in effective, to-the-point communications, and used his skills to build a company into a world industrial leader. After graduating from Harvard, Crawford accepted a position with the Steel Products Company as a challenge. Starting as a scrap collector, he learned about the industry — and the concerns of workers — at the lowest level. He soon was assigned another unpleasant task: to close a failing plant in Detroit. Instead, Crawford gathered all of the workers and their wives and asked if they would make personal sacrifices to keep the plant open. The workers agreed, and Crawford impressed his employees by working harder than anyone else. The plant became productive and profitable. Steel Products later changed its name to Thompson Products, and Crawford became President in 1933. He continued to maintain effective communication with his employees, inviting workers into his office to discuss their problems and their needs. He scheduled regular meetings to obtain their operating suggestions. Crawford also realized the need to diversify and started producing valves for aviation. By 1953, sales had grown more than 75 times to $327 million and the company expanded into aerospace and government contracts.