The Cook and Boardman Group LLC
In 1955 Frank Cook and Jack Boardman founded The Cook and Boardman Group LLC (C&B) after discovering a market opportunity working with contractors and architects around Charlotte, N.C. The growing business continues to serve the same client base in an expanded geographic region, providing engineering and distribution services for entrance projects from northern New England, down to Florida and as far west as Utah and Idaho. Chuck Hummel, current president and CEO of C&B, leads a team of 540 professionals, spread between 21 locations across the country.
“Our niche is in nonresidential total opening and specialty projects,” Hummel explains. “We engineer and distribute commercial hollow metal doors and frames, architectural wood doors, architectural hardware and accessories, including electronic access control devices, as well as specialty-related products. We focus on general contractors, design-build contractors and architects for new construction and renovation, as well as building owners from an aftermarket perspective.”
A Unique Market Share
The company’s growth in recent years has come through two avenues. First, Hummel and his team have made a number of acquisitions, boosting sales revenue. In 2010, C&B acquired 13 commercial locations, formerly owned by Stock Building Supply Company. This purchase immediately tripled sales figures and has allowed the business to broaden its geographic footprint into the Mid Atlantic markets through Precision Doors & Hardware. C&B has also gained entry into the West Coast of Florida through Hollow Metal Specialists, as well as in Utah and Idaho through Architectural Building Supply.
In September 2012, the business purchased Maine-based Exactitude Inc., including two sales arms, Hardware Consultants and Precision Millwork. The team also purchased C&S Door in Lynchburg, Va., in May 2013, combining the facilities with existing regional location and rebranding the company to Precision Doors & Hardware. The business’ broad geographic reach offers C&B a leg up on competitors, many of which operate out of single locations. To-date, C&B has 21 locations across the United States.
Along with these acquisitions, C&B has also been steadily expanding its product offerings. Beyond commercial doors, frames and hardware, the business also offers specialty items meeting Section 10 requirements. These product lines include: bath partitions and accessories, fire extinguisher cabinets, wall protection items, lockers, wire mesh partitions and numerous other specialty solutions. The team has also expanded its efforts and knowledge into hardware electrification and hardware hookups for various door integration requirements.
With new ground to cover and new products and solutions to promote, the team has ramped up its sales efforts. C&B is taking the operation a step further, focusing on a range of vertical aftermarket needs for schools, health care, office, manufacturing, lodging, retail, government and other market sectors.
“We view ourselves as a full-service specialty supplier and subcontractor both on projects of new construction, additions, remodels, renovations, as well as the aftermarket and maintenance needs of doors, frames, hardware and specialty products for building owners,” Hummel explains.
A Growing Portfolio
As the company grows steadily, C&B continues servicing major contractors with a range of clients, both old and new. In 2013, the team completed a number of unique projects, boosting the company’s portfolio and showcasing C&B’s capabilities as both a supplier and subcontractor.
When the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority reached out to one of C&B’s important suppliers, Overly, the business knew just where to look for answers. “They were looking for help resolving a problem with the doors between the tunnels and the electric rooms along the subway system,” Hummel elaborates. “The contact was spurred by an incident in the tunnels when a standard hollow metal door opening was ripped out of the wall and sucked onto the tracks. A train hit it and it became lodged between the train and the third rail, causing a fire.” Through C&B’s Precision Doors & Hardware location in Alexandria, Va., the company worked closely with the transit authority to build a better, safer passage for technicians.
“Nick Bottini is a senior manager of our Mid-Atlantic Precision Doors & Hardware, based in Alexandria, Va.,” Hummel continues. “WMATA invited Overly and him to the site. They visited the tunnels to evaluate the conditions so we could help them find a solution. We determined that these structures need at minimum, a 3-pound per-square-foot pressure door. Overly had the product to meet those conditions and over time, we were able to supply some openings to meet their needs. We also reversed the direction the door swings and made these openings fire-rated.” According to Hummel, developing a prototype took more than two years, with a number of adjustments made for safety.
No project is too complex for the growing team. C&B recently took part in the historic renovation of the Utah State Capital in Salt Lake City. “This was our most challenging and memorable project,” Hummel notes. “Our West Region unit, Architectural Building Supply, reused and replicated 100-year-old hollow metal doors and hardware. To begin with, all 1,200 or so door openings had to be removed, catalogued and stored for reuse if required. Some of the hardware had to be cleaned by dry ice blasting to preserve the original finish and eliminate any chemical residue. We then used the parts and pieces to rebuild the hardware to working condition. We had dies and wax castings made to replicate historical escutcheons, door casings, frame stops and lite-kit profiles. This project could not have been accomplished without the expertise and cooperation of Curries Metal Doors & Frames, Sargent Architectural Hardware and Dahlstrom Roll Form Companies.”
C&B is making major strides of growth, despite the recent recession that rocked the non-residential construction industry. Together, all 21 locations work together to broaden horizons. Additionally, the team continues to work alongside major suppliers, creating custom solutions to complex problems. The Cook and Boardman Group LLC stands strong alongside key suppliers and clients, paving the way for innovation through quality and ingenuity.
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