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Cooper Sterling
Vice President, Strategy

Motto: If you do your job, I don’t have to manage anyone.”

In the early stages of our company’s development, when it was primarily operated by my brothers and myself, I assumed responsibility for overseeing operations beyond our office premises. This encompassed tasks such as managing shipping, receiving, production, and purchasing, as well as supervising the yard personnel. Over time, my role has evolved, and I now primarily focus on purchasing, particularly in procuring wood for our panel production facility. Additionally, I collaborate extensively with our sales team, contributing to strategic planning, pricing strategies, and leveraging market insights to optimize our sales efforts. In my current capacity as Vice President of Sales, I play a pivotal role in guiding our sales initiatives and ensuring alignment with our organizational objectives.

As far as my background goes, after completing one year at ISU and subsequently attending Northern Michigan University in Marquette for an additional two years, I pursued practical training in the field of construction management. Equipped with a solid educational foundation, I aspired to transition directly into the workforce. My focus was on acquiring the skills necessary to assume the role of a foreman on construction sites.

Following my high school graduation in 1994, I embarked on my academic journey, followed by gaining valuable experience in the construction industry. Since joining Sterling, I have remained committed to this field, continually honing my expertise and contributing to the company’s success.

My leadership style is defined by a strong emphasis on action and hands-on involvement. While we prioritize hiring individuals with the requisite skills and expertise through thorough discussions and interviews, we firmly believe in empowering them to take ownership of their roles. We trust in their abilities to excel independently, providing guidance and support as needed.

Central to our philosophy is the belief in surrounding ourselves with individuals who possess superior skills and capabilities. By leveraging the strengths of our team members, we are able to drive the company forward in the right direction and achieve success. We foster an environment where experimentation and learning from failure are encouraged, recognizing that such experiences contribute to personal and organizational growth.

I take great pride in the journey of our company, which began when my brothers and I joined forces with our father. It was undoubtedly a challenging endeavor, one that presented numerous learning opportunities along the way. Building solid relationships with our suppliers was imperative, necessitating effective communication across diverse spectrums of the industry.

Navigating interactions with individuals ranging from forest workers in Missouri to corporate executives required adaptability and finesse in communication. I embraced the need to tailor my approach to suit the unique dynamics of each encounter, a skill that I believe sets me apart. My ability to connect with individuals from various backgrounds reflects my commitment to genuine and meaningful engagement.

Throughout this journey, the growth of our company has been a source of immense satisfaction. Despite our achievements, I remain grounded and value the diverse perspectives and experiences that have shaped our trajectory.

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