"Customer Service and taking care of the people we serve has always been the key to this company’s future. I have poured my life and career into that principle, and I am committed to always providing the very best service I possibly can…"
Gary Cooper grew up at CooperSteel. Literally and figuratively.Since 1973, Gary has worked in almost every discipline of the steel business.
All along the way, great customer service has been his goal. Even whenhe was simply priming steel in his first position with the company, hemade it a priority to serve all of his clients with honor, dignity andrespect. Today, Gary knows just about all there is to know about thesteel business… and then some! From administration and sales, to onsiteerection, Gary has not only done it, he has done it with excellenceevery step of the way. Gary attributes much of the company’s success andhis rise toPresident and CEOof Cooper Steel to the unending love andtrust of his parents. "Their confidence and encouragement has allowed usall to move forward into a whole new way of doing business, and it'sworking!" he says.
Gary has been the top dog at Cooper since 1988. Unfortunatly due to a car accident that year that resulted in a broken back for his Dad, Gary was now at the helm and his leadership hastaken the company from a respectable volume of $500,000.00 to more than $100,000,000.00 today. Gary's parents had groomed him for this challenge his whole life and when the time came he was able to answer the call. Each and every day Gary is totally engaged in every estimate and project from start to finish. "Customer service will always be paramount for the men and women at Cooper Steel in delivering customer satisfaction, this is what we believe and this is what we do". The value system instilled by his parents continue to be a source of strength to this day.
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.