11255 Camp Bowie Blvd. West
Debbie Cooley’s tale of entrepreneurship was born out of gutsiness and determination to be successful in a male-dominated industry.
After working more than 20 years in packaging sales, Cooley grew tired of being undervalued and underpaid compared to her male colleagues. Relying on experience and her industry contacts, the single mother used $10,000 in savings to begin M-Pak in her garage in 1999.
The certified woman-owned business is a distributor of industrial packaging materials that earned $9 million in revenue last year. The company now operates in three locations nationwide with distribution points around the globe.
The company’s products include sustainable plastic bags, corrugated boxes, insulated mailers, bubble wrap/foam, stretch film, cases and coolers as it works to increase clients’ operational efficiency and reduce overall packaging costs.
The company packs and ships everything from coffee beans to drone aircraft for the U.S. military.
As to innovation, that’s part of the company’s DNA.
“We like to do the unusual, the adventurous customized solutions,” Cooley told the Fort Worth Business Press.
Cooley takes pride in running a family-owned business that focuses on customer services and developing the best solutions for clients.
“Someone once asked me what’s the key to our success,” Cooley said. “We answer our phone. We visit with our customers.
Cooley’s daughter, Anna Boulware, joined her mother in the business in 2001 as vice president of sales.
M-Pak obtained General Services Administration (GSA) status and their first federal contract in 2003.
About 85 percent of M-Pak’s business is from the federal government. Customers include all branches of the U.S. military; the FBI; Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce and Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“We were FEMA’s first purchase order after [Hurricane] Katrina hit,” Cooley told the Business Press.
Other customers include the Lockheed Martin Corp., local law enforcement and emergency departments and small private businesses.
M-Pak expanded in 2012 by adding a line of tactical gear, clothing and equipment for law enforcement and fire and emergency medical service professionals, which account for about 12 percent of the company’s annual sales.
– Marice Richter
Best advice you’ve ever received?
“You’ll NEVER succeed in running your own company.” Ironically, this comment, along with the numerous naysayers, became my greatest motivation and ignited my fire to succeed.
What advice would you give an entrepreneur?
Go for it, trust your instincts with all you’ve got and never give up. Entrepreneurship is not easy. Surround yourself with authentic, candid, energetic, goal-oriented people.