Gary Cooper has made the steel business and people in it his life. Since 1973, Gary has been immersed and intimately involved in each aspect of his family business from his humble beginnings priming steel to his role as CEO and Chairman of the Board. Since he first took leadership in 1988, Gary has both recognized, maintained, and championed the values, priorities, and culture that he learned from his parents and which continues to make Cooper Steel a top-level company operated by some of the best the industry has to offer. One of these fundamental values has been the act of putting the customer and their job first, a practice he belives can only be genuinely relayed through both action and consistency. "We make it our mission to treat everyone we work with like family and to treat every job as if it's the only job we're working..whatever it takes to do it right..this is what has earned us the national reputation we enjoy".
W. Duff Zimmerman, P.E.
President, Chief Operations Officer
W. Duff Zimmerman is the current President and Chief Operations Officer at Cooper Steel. He holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Tennessee and has enjoyed a nearly 30 year career at Cooper Steel serving as a Project manager, Field Operations Manager, VP and now his current position.
Holly Rittenberry is the current Controller at Cooper Steel. She has enjoyed a nearly 30 year career with Cooper Steel, serving as the Managing Secretary, and AR/AP Manager before assuming her current position.
Executive Vice President
Cory Cooper is the current Executive Vice President at Cooper Steel. Cooper, attended Carson Newman college before coming to work for Cooper Steel in 2007 as a project manager. He immediately became an asset to the family business helping over-see many large projects in his career. He earned his current title January 2017.
Chief Administrative Officer
Jordan Cooper is the current Chief Administrative Officer at Cooper Steel. He holds a bachelor degree in finance from the University of Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State University. While receiving his education, Cooper played baseball and was drafted into professional baseball by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Starting out as a New Business Manager he earned his current title in the fall of 2016.
J. Kenneth Cooper
"It was always important to me that Cooper Steel be a family company. We worked hard from the beginning to build it that way. When you're with Cooper, you're with family."
James Kenneth Cooper was born in Bedford County, Tennessee on October 7, 1932. At the age of five, he suffered an 85% hearing loss from surgery to remove tonsils and adenoids. He attended schools in Bedford County. As a result of his hearing disability and with very little help for the hearing impaired, he quit school in the tenth grade.
He began to work summer jobs at the age of twelve including a rock crusher. When he turned 18, he got a job at the Florence Stove Company in Lewisburg and worked there until an economic downturn resulted in his layoff in 1957. That setback turned into great opportunity when he enrolled and completed the welding curriculum at the very reputable Nashville Auto Diesel College. This educational achievement lead to a job at the Uniroyal plant in Shelbyville and a fateful moonlighting opportunity.
Specifically, the shift at Uniroyal was from 6:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., so he bought a truck and welding machine and started a moonlighting welding business that he worked afternoons, evenings, and weekends. In 1960, he gave up his "day job" and opened Cooper Steel (then called Cooper Welding and Steel Erection). He has served as President throughout its history. In 1988 he was in a car accident that broke his back, after healing from the accident he oversaw the erection part of the business until the mid 90's when he reduced his hours to part-time. If you go to the plant today he still comes around to look for improvement to process and quality of the product because he still has that passion for the steel business. Without James Kenneth Cooper, there is no Cooper Steel.
He married the former Faye Waggoner in 1952, and they celebrated 60 years of marriage in March of 2012. He has two sons, Barry and Gary; Barry served as the company’s CFO for nearly 30 years before retiring in early 2017 and Gary is Cooper Steel’s acting CEO and Chairman of the Board. He also has six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He remains active at Edgemont Baptist Church and in various food distribution programs and other benevolent activities in Shelbyville.