CO.STARTERS Grad Spotlight: Lee Pope
Written by Felicia Ingram
Lee Pope is a local businessman whose CO.STARTERS adventure started his business, Disaster Services, off right. Pope was a part of the first CO.STARTERS class at theCO in spring of 2015. This program for entrepreneurs seeks to inspire growth and transform their startups in only nine weeks. We asked him to explain how his business has grown and developed in the last 18 months from what he learned from the course and what new challenges he has recently faced.
What was your favorite part of CO.STARTERS? Honestly, getting to meet everybody. It’s good for networking. But also it was really cool to get to know all the different people and all the different ideas.
How important is a program like this for Jackson? Because [Jackson] is a small town, sometimes it’s kind of difficult to find a place like this where it reaches people that are reaching for that kind of help. And so if you don’t have a place like this, it really smother’s the potential of a lot of people in the area. So having CO.STARTERS opens people’s ideas to not where they just have an idea but also opening it to the possibility where they can really make
What are some memorable parts and specific things you learned from CO.STARTERS? Breaking out into the pairs and getting to know other people’s business models and ideas and things like that. I really enjoyed that because you get to see the way people think. . . . As far as what I learned, I mostly learned a lot about the business side of it. I know the working side of what I do really well, but the business side of it kind of pointed me in the right direction on what I needed to do on a couple of things.
Where do you plan to be in the next ten years? That’s a good question—hopefully still open (laughs). That’s number one priority. I see us still staying mostly Jackson-based and maybe opening a Memphis satellite office. . . . I just want to be the premiere construction company for residential here in Jackson, Tennessee, by that time.
What is your work philosophy? Get everything in writing. Do exactly what you say you’re going to do and do it as efficiently and with as much quality as possible. So get it done as they expect. Get it done right. Get it done fast.
What was life before CO.STARTERS? Before CO.STARTERS I went for more of an idea of consultations, disasters, and insurance restoration business. I was doing what I do now, but I was working for somebody. And [I] wasn’t sure if I wanted to just jump out there and start a construction company. It’s a lot to that. And so I thought of a more consultation-based business where you kind of help people out—learn the process, know what to expect, what they should get from the insurance companies, things like that. But kind of going back through and seeing everything, I just decided to go and follow through with the construction side of it.
Pope wants to continue his efforts in Jackson and is glad to have theCO as a launching pad. “I think theCO is a great place for people who are trying to get started,” he said. “Because you’ve got so many avenues, so many people to reach out to who are very willing to lend a hand. I think it’s going to do really great things for Jackson.” CO.STARTERS continues to help business owners just like Pope who want to be inspired to ignite their businesses. For more information on the next CO.STARTERS class, visit www.attheco.com/costarters.