The Bouchard Forefather

See the gallery below…

Craig Bouchard being elected into the Hinsdale Central Hall of Fame (his high school):

Craig Bouchard being elected into the Hinsdale Central Hall of Fame (his high school):

HCHS Foundation Hall of Fame
2007 Inductee Craig Bouchard,
Field of Distinction: Finance and Business

James P. and Craig T. Bouchard are cut from the same cloth in many respects: The products of a close-knit and very athletic Hinsdale family which includes six state championships while at Hinsdale Central High School. Highly successful professional careers that found each brother following their own personal and family dreams. And a strong sense of community service and desire to help those in need, leaving a lasting mark on everything they touched and everyone around them.

Both Jim’s and Craig’s career success can be traced to their roots at HCHS. Craig was a two-year starter in varsity Basketball and Baseball. The owner of several hitting records, in 1971 he was on HCHS’ first West Suburban Conference championship team, earning All Conference and All Chicago honors.

Jim was a triple threat, lettering five times in varsity Football, Basketball, and Baseball. He served as Co-Captain of the Football and Baseball teams and achieved First Team All Area recognition in Football and Baseball. His three interceptions in one football game still stands in the HCHS record books. And his accomplishments on and off the field were recognized by being named recipient of the prestigious James Carmignani Award for leadership and athletics at HCHS.

While they enjoyed great success on the sports fields, it was the fields of business and philanthropy that brought these two brothers their most satisfying achievements. Following college, Craig embarked on a 20-year career in banking, finance, and mergers and acquisitions with First National Bank of Chicago (now JPMorgan/Chase). His work took him from downtown Chicago to the downtowns of Hong Kong and Tokyo. Craig at the time was the 2nd youngest to reach the level of Senior Vice President in the bank’s 150 year history. He also helped found NumeriX, a Wall St. software company known as the risk management gold-standard to global trading institutions. Craig gained industry recognition for his expertise and insights into the global financial markets.

For Jim, it was a different career path. A career path his father, Robert C. Bouchard, had blazed in the steel industry. Following graduation from college, Jim set out on a 20-year journey in the domestic and international steel industry. He joined Inland Steel (now Arcelor/Mittal) and devoted himself to learning the intricacies of the steel business. He later joined United States Steel Corporation and quickly rose through the ranks to hold senior-level positions in sales, marketing, and strategic market development.

In 2000, after U.S. Steel acquired the Slovakian National Steel Company in Kosice, Slovak Republic, Jim was dispatched to Kosice along with six other executives and charged with revitalizing the ailing Kosice operations. As Vice President of Commercial, Jim and his team were widely credited with successfully restructuring the company and turning it into U.S. Steel’s most profitable business unit.

In 2004, their careers came together with the founding of Esmark Incorporated, a family of steel services companies. Starting with their first acquisition in Chicago Heights, Illinois, they built a regional network of 10 steel service centers over the next three years to become the fastest-growing steel company in the U.S.

In 2006, they set out to do something never before attempted in the history of Wall Street: the first ever takeover and reverse tender merger of a public company by a private company. The “Brothers of Steel” led a successful proxy battle to gain control of Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corporation. They built on that success in 2007 by acquiring one of the largest steel mills on the East Coast in Sparrows Point, Maryland. Combined with Esmark and WPSC, Jim and Craig have built in four years the fourth largest steel company in the country with more than $4 billion in revenue and a place on the Fortune 500 list.

All along the way Craig and Jim never lost sight of the strong family values and importance of community service that their parents instilled in them. In 1978 the Bouchard family instituted a scholarship program for students at HCHS in the name of their father. Today that scholarship program continues with the Helen Bouchard Scholarship for the children of Esmark employees seeking continuing education opportunities.

Jim and Craig have also supported or established two fundraising golf outings – the HCHS Foundation Golf Outing and the J. Kyle Braid Leadership Foundation – Chicago Golf Outing, the latter becoming the single largest annual fundraiser for the organization.

True to their alma mater roots, Craig and Jim have also helped finish the proposed weight room at HCHS with the single largest private donation and pledge to provide the steel construction materials for the project. In addition, they established a charity tennis tournament in Naples, Florida called “Girls are Best” benefiting local girls ages 7-17 that demonstrate high potential but need financial assistance to achieve their education and dreams.

Another philanthropic undertaking by the Bouchards was their personal donation and building of an addition on to the IMANI Christian Academy in Pennsylvania that houses the academy’s new science department and allows this entirely private funded organization to provide a better learning environment for all of its current and future students.

Together with their families, the Bouchards also devote considerable time and financial support to a number of other educational, health, and charitable organizations in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Florida, and are always there to lend a helping hand for those in need.

Their success would not be possible without the loving support of their families. For Craig, his wife Melissa and their six children: Kai, Justin, Patrick, Shale, Cambelle, and Braidy. For Jim, his wife Carolyn (HCHS Class of 1979) and their three children: Natalie, Clayton, and Aubrey.

HCHS Foundation

Hinsdale Central High School Foundation