Case Studies

Copeland Coating Company Inc.

The Surface Maintenance People

Copeland Coating Company Inc. (CCC) is one of upstate New York’s leading contractors for asphalt protective coating and sport paving projects. Headquartered in Nassau, N.Y., CCC serves a broad area spanning a 200-mile radius from Albany for large specialty projects. John Copeland, president of the company, says his family has been in the business for over 60 years. “My grandfather was instrumental in developing coal tar coatings in the ’40s,” he recounts. “My father joined when he got out of the Marines in the early ’50s.” The family was involved in the manufacturing of asphalt coatings, sales and application in Connecticut. “We have been the leading manufacturer in southern New England,” John explains.

The current president started working for his father in the shop at 14 and joined the crews at 16. “We were always very busy,” he says. “It was a seasonal effort.” When John went to college, tennis was starting to gain recreational popularity in the United States, opening up a new construction opportunity. “Everyone was learning about it and wanted to play,” he says. “It followed that contractors building tennis courts needed to find someone to coat the courts and put lines on them.” John’s father determined that the company would fill the market gap and set about producing materials in-house. “I was thrilled to be color-coating tennis courts instead of seal-coating big parking lots,” says John.

Covering More Ground

John started working in the office after college. His father had faith in his experience and sent him out to see what other companies were doing and where. “He suggested I check out who was doing coatings in Albany, N.Y.,” explains John. “So I called a few contractors and it was well received. It all happened over the phone. I made a list and gave it to my father, who went up to meet with some of them.” A day after graduation, John was in Albany working on a tennis court. CCC converted a gas station into an office/field station in the Albany area and the business started to take off.

“We got through the first couple of years with old trucks and equipment,” explains John. “We focused on improving our formulas.” CCC’s executives joined American Track and Tennis Court, which John says later evolved into the American Sports Builders Association (ASBA). The organization helped John and his father get in touch with other sports surface manufacturers across the country. The group formed affiliations and began sharing materials, resources and networking to boost business.

These connections established through what is now the ASBA allowed CCC and other member companies to explode into the industry. The company and its affiliates have developed technology and innovations that make sport surfaces safer for athletes and more affordable for colleges and sports clubs. CCC’s sports coating division grew quickly. “We quickly went from building eight tracks a year to building 25 tracks a year,” says John. “Now we’re up to 40 in addition to our other services.”

CCC has installed sport surfaces at nearly every state university in the state of New York. “Most recently we did SUNY Farmingdale and Stoneybrook,” says John. “We put in 12 new tennis courts at West Point Military Academy last year and we did some of the rubber work in the end zone at Giants Stadium.” Track construction makes up about half of the company’s revenue and, John says, “We’re working for a general contractor at the University of Albany where the track alone is worth almost $1 million.”

Good Old Fashioned Tar

CCC started as primarily an asphalt company, and this division of the company is still active, though it makes up less than 15 percent of the business. “We manufacture and distribute coal tar seal-coat material,” says John. “But we’ve greatly reduced our own contract application.” CCC supplies over 100 contractors in the Albany area with the company’s sealants, coatings and colored/safety surface systems, and, John explains, “We don’t want to be in competition with our own customers. We are very selective about our road and parking lot paving.” The company is still constantly introducing new asphalt products, and John says something quite special is on the horizon. “We’re developing a green asphalt product,” he elaborates. “We want to be full scale by spring.”

CCC uses all its own products, which the team develops in-house from premium made-in-America materials. “We buy domestic components, which has always something that’s been important to us,” says John. Products are blended on site for the highest quality application. Between asphalt and sport paving materials, CCC offers dozens of surfaces with a variety of ingredients and textures.

Together the CCC team has decades of experience in formulation and application of surfaces. Years of practice have earned Copeland Coating Company Inc. a well-deserved, enduring reputation in the Northeast for quality, integrity and service.

Published on: June 29, 2013

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