CooperCraft, Now ISNetworld Certified and Ready for Continued Growth
Wednesday, May 14th, 2014
Coopercraft made the move from Sylvester to Tifton December 2011, and the transition has treated the company well. The easy access to I-75, continued growth of Tifton, and larger office space have all led to increased productivity and volume for the company ran by childhood friends Jerry Cooper and Darrell Powell, who lived three houses apart since elementary school while growing up in Sylvester.
“Tifton is growing very rapidly, and the chamber has been really helpful. The geographical location and community have been great,” Cooper says.
Cooper serves as the CEO and founded Coopercraft in January of 2002. Previously, he worked for Bellsouth for six years for corporate customers. “I just wasn’t seeing the customer service I felt the customer should receive and the opportunity was in place to provide a larger platform of products,” he explains, “so I decided to strike out on my own.”
A few years later, he got Powell on board as the CFO, which may have been the best business decision he’s ever made. “We’ve experienced a growth of 727% since I hired Darrell in 2007,” Cooper says. Powell, ever humble, responds, “I wanted to be involved with this great opportunity because Jerry has so much charisma and passion for what he does; he was just struggling with the account/business side of things and needed someone to come in and help with management and revenues,” Powell says.
Part of that growth is also due to their new office in Albany with the acquisition of former competitor Select-Tel. Cooper says, “They came to us in the first quarter of 2013, had been in business 20 years, and they were looking for an exit plan. We had mutual respect for each other, so we brought them under Coopercraft. They are very strong in fire alarms, and we want to grow that part of our business, and he wanted someone he could trust leaving his customers with, too. So it was a win-win.”
Cooper shares that some other milestones from 2013 include “30% growth last year, our total number of employees grew to 46, and we moved into the Savannah market doing a large amount of work for the Port Authority.”
This growth has Coopercraft reaching beyond Georgia state lines as they are now established in the Northern Florida and East Alabama markets. So what do they attribute to this massive growth?
Cooper says, “The majority of our growth was from word of mouth because providing excellent customer service is a top priority. We also take care of 16 major hospitals supporting their data connectivity infrastructures and physical security platform’s. People like that we stay on budget and that we provide a good quality product on time.” He adds they often recommend higher-end products that will have better results and last for longer, which customers appreciate over just the cheapest available solution. “We don’t have high turnover of clients,” he adds, noting Miller Brewing, Georgia government, and Proctor and Gamble as other major clients.
In addition to their products and service, Powell emphasizes that the people who make up Coopercraft are the main reason for their success. “We really have a strong team of people; a key component was finding an account executive for Savannah and that has really made a difference. We have top-notch technicians, management, salespeople—all-around great team, which is crucial because customer eyes are everywhere we work,” he says.
For 2014, they will continue to push their service area by “recapitalizing the company from the growth we’ve had, continue to push our market to Northeast Georgia, Alabama and Florida by growing our security platforms. And with the success of the Select-Tel merger, we’re looking at other potential opportunities for more mergers,” Cooper says. He credits hiring Heather Gilman as their Director of Marketing for helping facilitate their expansion goals, and her focus is “to pick up more market shares where we already work, putting effort into marketing to drive that additional business, with a lower cost to acquire,” says Cooper. And the ISNetworld certification they recently received will open up even more opportunities with industrial plants that mandate this level of certification.
Yet additional growth means additional and continuous training, which is another top priority for Coopercraft this year. Powell says, “We analyze our processes so that they continuously improve. In every weekly meeting, we emphasize the need to improve the process and flow of work, and how good we are in order to keep our competitive advantage.”
Part of that competitive advantage stems from eliminating the need for subcontractors. “Our team can handle any size project for customers; we can provide turnkey solutions for our customers, and we have the ability to do the biggest projects that other competitors can’t. Most companies that do projects have to involve 2-3 subcontractors, but we can offer all of that for one company with IP connectivity, security, networking; it’s all bundled, and our customers only have to deal with one company,” explains Powell.
Despite this massive success in a highly competitive industry, Cooper and Powell remain completely modest. “We considered ourselves very blessed to have the opportunities that we do,” Powell says, with Cooper chiming in, “We’ve had a lot of divine help, that’s for sure.”
More information on CooperCraft Communications is available at www.CooperCraftcommunications.com or call (229) 396-5800.
Shawndra Russell is a writer and social media educator for businesses, professionals and college students with the intent of stopping outdated me! me! me! marketing. Her latest works are 51 Ways to Help Your Social Media Manager Crush It! And How to Become a Freelance Writer in 30 Days. Read about her services and projects at shawndrarussell.com and connect with her on Twitter and Google+.