The Entrepreneurial Success Award is selected from individuals who own and operate or who bear principal responsibility for operating a business. Nominees for this award must own or operate a business that initially was defined as "small" under the applicable SBA size standards, developed into a large business and must have received SBA assistance to help the business grow. Jan Jordet, Director of Consulting & Financing Services at the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA), nominated Copeland for this award.
Copeland is the Founder and Chairman of THOR Construction, founded in 1980. Through Copeland's drive, vision and tenacity, he has developed his organization into a major international force in the construction industry. His commitment to redefining the role of underutilized communities has always set him apart. By setting expectations for excellence and assembling some of the most talented people in the world, Copeland and THOR create an extraordinary construction experience above all others. With a half dozen business units and hundreds of employees, Copeland is known in his organization as a dedicated leader – one who moves, touches and inspires others – in all his interactions. Today, THOR is one of the largest African American owned companies in America, the SBA said.
Copeland was able to use several SBA programs and services to help him grow his business including: 7(a) financing, 8(a) certification, SCORE assistance, and the Bond Guarantee Program.
Based on a solid foundation of hard work and dedication, THOR Construction Inc. has evolved into one of the largest African-American owned construction companies in the nation. THOR is committed to providing quality projects specializing in General Contracting, Construction Management, Design-Build, Consulting, and Concrete. With a proven track record of success and ingenuity, THOR is an industry leader in retail, hospitality, restaurants, entertainment, concrete and civil markets throughout the country. With offices in Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, New Orleans, and Atlanta, THOR provides unparalleled service for clients from coast to coast.
Even more important than his business success, is his ongoing mentorship and encouragement to other entrepreneurs of color. He has made a special effort to include many woman- and minority-owned contractors as subcontractors in the work of THOR Construction. This intentional inclusion has benefited dozens of emerging businesses and helped expand the reach of public projects to involve our diverse community of business owners.
In addition, Copeland continues to be a role model for giving back. His philanthropy and personal volunteerism is widely known and very much admired and appreciated. In fact, his leadership and financial support of the National Association of Minority Contractors - Upper Midwest, Summit OIC, Dunwoody College, Phyllis Wheatley, and Redeemer Lutheran Church have been instrumental to their ongoing successes.
Copeland will be honored at the Minnesota Small Business Week Awards program on May 6, 2013, at the Depot Minneapolis.