Alumni Take Local Concrete Company to the Next Level

Core group of Captains helps JACKCRETE expand into larger market.

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When Laughton “Buddy” Cockrell ‘74 and his partners started RPC Industries in 1979, he couldn’t have envisioned that a generation later, a core group of his employees would be fellow Captains.

He founded JACKCRETE in 2013, and the company has become a success in Hampton Roads specializing in polyurethane foam concrete lifting and leveling of unstable slabs of concrete. The products used are impenetrable to moisture and decay, making the business environmentally friendly and long-lasting.“We started out doing residential work, but have since grown to include large-scale commercial, industrial and municipal clients,” says Cockrell. “We’ve experienced great success and rapid growth.”

JACKCRETE’s recent spate of hires includes four additional Christopher Newport alumni – all coincidental – according to Marketing Manager Baylen McCarthy ’17, who graduated with a double major in marketing and management. “Each employee outshined other candidates during their interviews with no preference given to them based on their alma mater,” he says. “They simply had the combination of adaptability, ambition and intelligence we were looking for.”

The team of alumni has found working alongside fellow Captains to be very beneficial. “Coming from similar backgrounds helps build camaraderie and trust between each other,” says Ryan Brooks ’11, JACKCRETE accounting manager.

All agree that Christopher Newport instilled in them qualities that empowered them to be successful. “At CNU I learned the critical-thinking skills and confidence to quickly make an impact here. For my classes, especially within the marketing major, I had to be adaptable, driven and comfortable with outside-of-the-box thinking,” says McCarthy. The fourth Captain, sociology major, Megan Davis ’15, has also found success at the company as a project coordinator. “Even though I didn’t study anything related to construction at CNU, my education helped me become a more well-rounded worker and thrive in any work environment,” says Davis.

Cockrell agrees with his young colleagues that Christopher Newport provided a firm foundation for his success. “It gave me the basic business skills to combine with the practical and leadership skills I got from my Air Force and work experience and gave me the confidence to form my own start-up. As I look forward to retirement, it has been an unexpected bonus to watch these young people grow their own start-up within RPC Industries,” says Cockrell.

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