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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Top 100 Women-Owned Business: Packaging solutions business geared for continued growth

M-Pak Inc.

11255 Camp Bowie Blvd. West

Suite 111

Aledo 76008



Fort Worth-based M-Pak Inc. is wrapped in success.

A global distributor of industrial packaging materials, M-Pak provides tailored protection and packaging to national retailers, federal and state government entities and prime contract buyers. The company offers a battery of 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.

Packing and shipping everything from gourmet seasonings for a local spice business to a drone aircraft for the federal government, M-Pak has done it all.

“We like to do the unusual, the adventurous customized solutions,” said Debbie Cooley, founder and president of M-Pak, a certified woman-owned business enterprise and a small disadvantaged business. “That’s what makes this fun. We create a solution and that makes the customer happy.”

Cooley was a single parent in 1999 when she started M-Pak from scratch out of her home using $10,000 in savings. She had spent her early career as the only woman working in sales for a local crate manufacturer before realizing her dream of owning her own packaging business.

M-Pak’s sales have grown from $133,000 in 1999 to $9 million in 2015. The company projects 8 percent growth in revenue for 2016.

Anna Boulware, Cooley’s daughter, joined the business in 2001 as vice president of sales. Boulware currently is vice president of the National Institute of Packaging, Handling and Logistics Engineers, a member organization of industry professionals.

The women obtained General Services Administration (GSA) status and their first federal contract in 2003.

Today, about 85 percent of M-Pak’s business is federal and the company now operates in three locations nationwide with distribution points around the globe. The customer base includes every branch of the military; the FBI; Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce and Homeland Security; Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); Lockheed Martin Corp.; The Boeing Co.; local law enforcement and emergency departments; and numerous small, private businesses.

“We were FEMA’s first purchase order after [Hurricane] Katrina hit,” Cooley said.

Mother and daughter expanded the business in 2012 with a line of tactical gear, clothing and equipment for law enforcement and fire and emergency medical service professionals. Name brands include 5.11 Tactical, Pelican Products and SafariLand. The tactical gear and uniforms now make up 12 percent of the business.

M-Pak enjoys an excellent rating for its responsiveness and customer service with the GSA, was named 2004 Vendor of the Year by the Small Business Administration and received a 2014 Edison Award for excellence and leadership in innovation in concept, value, delivery and impact. The firm has appeared five years in a row as one of the fastest-growing companies on Inc. Magazine’s Top 5000 list.

“Someone once asked me what’s the key to our success,” Cooley said. “We answer our phone. We visit with our customers. They like that and they like our responsiveness. I think that personal touch is a huge part of our success.”

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