"Three-hundred trucks were lost in New York," says Cole, and there was a rush to replace these vehicles.
"One of our customers, S &S, donated nine trucks, and we are very proud to be one of their suppliers," he says.
The gravity of the situation was not lost on this CEO, who is a Vietnam vet and former member of an elite Special Operations military group. After years of service to his country, Cole in 1976 moved to Ohio to begin his business life.
Running a business was not that different from his military training. As a result of his past, Cole leaves little to chance.
The growth of his company included the meticulous planning and subsequent building of a 17,000-square-foot facility in Berea. The building and the land surrounding it is designed for expansion. According to Cole, a new employee could join the company and be in place in minutes.
"We can grow the company without changing anything," he says. "Everything is in place, we have everything ready to go. It was all part of the plan."
Since 1976, the company has grown consistently. In 2001, regional offices were opened in Chicago, Houston, Denver and Lawrenceville, Ga. Cole believes it's important to have a regional presence and be there for customers and suppliers.
"While everyone else is concentrating on the Internet and Web sites, we still believe in that face to face with the customer," he says.
NOSHOK is the No. 2 supplier in the emergency vehicle industry and the forerunner in the growing coal methane gas industry. Cole expects to be No. 1 in both those industries in the next few years, but he's a firm believer in manageable growth.
"You should always look before you step," he says. "We are very satisfied with growing the company in the 15 percent area for the last 15 years. Slow, methodical growth is healthy." How to reach: NOSHOK, (440) 243-0888 or www.noshok.com