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Biography

Craig W. Barshinger, our Democratic At-Large candidate for the 29th Legislature, was born in San Jose, California, on February 16, 1957. He is the first of two children born to Donald and Mimi Barshinger (both deceased). He comes from a family that believes in public service, including his stepmother Linda, a supervisor in East Goshen Township, Pennsylvania, his grandfather Owen Saylor, the mayor of Johnstown, PA, and his second cousin John Saylor, a six-term Congressman. Craig grew up in New York and Pennsylvania, where he learned to appreciate the rich melting pot diversity of people of different cultures, races and religious practices. He attended the University of Delaware, where he studied biology and chemistry, and the University of Aix-Marseille in France, where he obtained a graduate degree (Diplôme d'Etudes Approfondies) in biological oceanography.

Lured by the beauty of the Caribbean, Craig took up residence in the Virgin Islands at the age of 22. Since the first day of his 31 years of residency he has contributed to the growth and development of our community and continues to do so through his career choices, volunteer associations and personal achievements. Inspired by the beauty of Caneel Bay beach, Craig invented the Dive Computer, an innovative, watch-like device which has set the standard for avoiding decompression sickness ("the bends"), while diving. He patented the Dive Computer with the trade names of the EDGE, SkinnyDipper, and Marathon. Craig’s invention has effectively replaced the former method of using U.S. Navy tables. Possessing an entrepreneurial spirit, Craig moved between the Virgin Islands and Pennsylvania for the next six years to manage and then provide consulting services to a research and development company he formed.

His company, Orca Industries, was founded to develop, manufacture and market his diver-carried decompression computers. Craig also founded and served as the president of the CFS Research Foundation, a non-profit corporation which solicited funds from private and Government sources, making them available for research and education in the area of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Focusing full time on the Virgin Islands, Craig spent the next eight years serving as a biologist for the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW). In that capacity he was commended by the government for his accomplishments in securing continued federal funding. In 2002-2004, Craig worked for the Virgin Islands Department of Education. He took leave to run for the position of Senator-at-large, and was elected the the 26th Legislature in 2004 and in 2008 was elected to the 28th Legislature with over 16,000 votes.

The door of his most recent venture, Bits & Bytes Computer Consultants, was opened in September of 1989, and he expanded the services offered with Computer Central LLLP in 1998. Craig 's community involvement has been extensive. That involvement includes service on the Boards of the St. John Community Foundation, the Environmental Association of St. Thomas-St. John (EAST), the League of Women Voters, the Interfaith Coalition and the St. John Singers. He has been an active and an honorary member of the Rotary Club of St. John. He is also a member of the Territorial Committee of the Virgin Islands Democratic Party and was a member of the Virgin Islands Girl Scout nominating committee. He has even served as a volunteer in the park, counting sea turtle nests on St. John.

In addition to professional and volunteer activities, Craig continuously sets and achieves personal goals as evidenced by the attainment of various certificates and language skills. As a young man, he was an active Boy Scout, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout and election to the prestigious Order of the Arrow. The certificates he has earned include a U.S. Coast Guard Boat Operators license, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification and Instructor Certification in Scuba Diving and Windsurfing. His language proficiencies include French, German, Swedish, Esperanto and a working knowledge of Spanish and Chinese.

During conversations with other locals Craig slips with ease into the use of our unique local dialect. With his language skills he adds another dimension of cohesiveness needed to bring and keep the various groups in the Virgin Islands together. As a concerned Virgin Islander, Craig realizes that the greatest impact he can have on the future of our islands is by serving and representing his fellow Virgin Islanders in our Senate.

Campaign Address
Box 456-Cruz Bay
St. John, VI 00831
Tel: 340.693.5000