Thor Construction Founder Richard Copeland Dies At 66, Leaving Legacy Of Black Entrepreneurship



Richard Copeland, who constructed Thor Development into the biggest Black-owned enterprise in Minnesota, has died at 66 of most cancers.

The Minnesota Star Tribune reports Copeland, who additionally co-owned Copeland Trucking, was recognized for his candor, excessive power, exhausting work, and insistence on hiring different Black and Brown contractors, suppliers, and workers.

The Black businessman’s work was additionally featured within the 2007 PBS particular On a regular basis Heroes.

“He was a comet,” lifelong buddy and enterprise associate Tim Hoag instructed the Tribune. “He burned vibrant. It’s so unhappy.”

Copeland started his profession delivering Ford truck components for his dad and mom’ Copeland Trucking firm. He began Thor Development in 1980 after his father fired him for purchasing trucking gear with out permission. His first contracts with Thor concerned filling holes the Minnesota Gasoline Co. created whereas doing restore work within the state.

Copeland employed his buddies to assist the enterprise get off the bottom, and in 1985, he and Hoag bought Copeland Trucking.

Hoag praised his enterprise associate, saying Copeland was decided to show Thor Development into a hit and made certain that Black and Brown residents within the Twin Cities shared in it.

“He had no drawback getting in entrance of any CEO in Minnesota and asking for work. Nearly demanding it. In the event that they didn’t have a variety program, they need to have one. And they need to rent minority employees and contractors. He was captivated with that,” Hoag mentioned.

Though Copeland grew Thor Development, it additionally had a quick and unhappy downfall. The enterprise folded in 2019, only one yr after finishing a $36 million workplace constructing in Minneapolis, on account of a number of lawsuits in opposition to it.

In January 2019, Dawn Banks, a key lender for Thor, sued the corporate for greater than $three million in unpaid debt. That opened the floodgates as Thor was hit with a number of lawsuits, and Copeland was compelled to fold the corporate.

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