Happy Birthday, Cooper Industries
Tuesday in Houston, I attended a small, low-key birthday party. Seems that a stalwart of American manufacturing, Cooper Industries, is celebrating its 175th anniversary! That means that in 1833, when Charles and Elias Cooper opened their foundary in Mount Vernon, Ohio, Andrew Jackson was president, 350 settlers were incorporating a city on the estuary of the Chicago River over in Illinois, and in Hamburg, Germany, Frau Brahms was giving birth to a baby boy she named Johannes.
That was then. Now, Cooper Industries, Ltd. is a global manufacturer, with 2007 revenues of $5.9 billion, approximately 88% of which are derived from electrical products. With administrative headquarters in Houston, Cooper employs approximately 31,000 people and operates eight divisions: Cooper B-Line, Cooper Bussmann, Cooper Crouse-Hinds, Cooper Lighting, Cooper Safety, Cooper Power Systems, Cooper Wiring Devices and Cooper Tools Group. Cooper Connection provides a common marketing and selling platform for Cooper's sales to electrical distributors.
Another great American success story.
But Cooper didn't invite a few journalists over just for birthday cake. CEO and Chairman Kirk S. Hachigian is obviously proud of his company's long history--and probably would have opted for a bigger celebration had the economy not become so problematic--but he also has his eye fixed on the future. We were also treated to a tour of Cooper's brand new Industrial Technology Center located just a few miles from the company's headquarters in downtown Houston. The 35,000-square-foot facility features an auditorium and training rooms designed to help demonstrate the entire Cooper line of industrial products and solutions.
The center will host, train and educate end users, distributors, engineering and procurement professionals, as well as internal employees. Professionals who design and build industrial facilities can see Cooper’s entire industrial offering under one roof, from the newest lighting technologies and electrical fuses to transformers and energy automation solutions to mass notification systems. Based on current bookings, several thousand people are expected to use the facility each year.
The showpiece of the Center is a full-scale replica of the key components of an industrial refinery, displaying more than 230 of Cooper’s products as they appear in a plant. As we say in the word-smith business, Cool!