Southeastern Equipment is pleased to announce Regional Manager Chip Cropper as the recipient of this year’s Most Valuable Person Award. The annual award is one of Southeastern’s most prestigious accolades. Winners, who are nominated by their colleagues, demonstrate the highest commitment to teamwork and the company’s core values: Helpful, Thoughtful, Capable, and Loyal.
“Chip has held many roles with the company and been a great mentor to many associates during his 30 years with Southeastern,” said President Mickey Gourley. “We can’t thank him enough for his leadership and loyalty.”
The challenge of learning a new role is nothing out of the norm for Chip. After graduating from Kent State University with a degree in aerospace technology (Air Force ROTC), he worked as a pilot for an aviation service. In that role, he was the designated corporate pilot for the Southeastern management team as they expanded the business beyond Ohio. In 1990 he decided to make a career shift, and Southeastern offered him a job.
“They probably figured if I screwed up, I could always fly the company plane,” he laughed. Over the past three decades, he’s held numerous positions including credit manager, parts and service manager, governmental sales rep, and his current role of Regional Branch Manager, overseeing Perrysburg, Novi, Mansfield, Holt, Brunswick, Mentor, and North Canton.
“My aviation background made the transitions a lot easier,” said Chip. “But at the end of the day, this is a people business. That’s always been the most important part of any role I’ve had.”
It’s also been the most rewarding. “The thing I’ve enjoyed most is mentoring and coaching people. I had great mentors at Southeastern who were always generous with their time and showed me the ropes. So if I’ve had any small part in helping encourage someone else’s success, then that would be very humbling and satisfying.”
According to his colleagues, Chip has done exactly that. Many of his MVP nominators praised him for leading by example, as well as his personal and professional support over the years. As he retires in July, he takes with him the admiration and gratitude of all those whose lives he’s touched.
“This award is a fitting tribute to Chip’s character, experience, mentorship, and commitment to his team and our customers,” said Thor Hess, Executive Vice President. “He will be greatly missed and long remembered by all of us in the Southeastern family.”