COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA), a leader in promoting quality and excellence in the sheet metal and air conditioning industry, announced the recipients of its Contractor of the Year and Chapter Executive of the Year awards during its 78th Annual Convention in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Jack Knox, president of R.F. Knox Company Inc., is this year’s Contractor of the Year. This prestigious award is given to a professional who exceeds all expectations of serving and promoting the industry.
“Jack’s passion for innovation and his commitment to developing the next generation of sheet metal professionals has not only bettered his business, but SMACNA and the industry as a whole,” said Aaron Hilger, SMACNA’s chief executive officer. “No one is more deserving of this award than Jack. He has been an exemplary SMACNA member for more than two decades, having served on more than 20 committees over the years, as well as serving on our Executive Committee. I join with all of our SMACNA members to say I am thrilled for him to receive this much-deserved recognition.”
Knox is a fourth-generation owner of a family business with more than 100 years in the trade. He’s risen through the ranks, holding various roles ranging from estimator to project manager to construction management and now, president.
Knox has also played a significant role within SMACNA. He served as SMACNA’s 2017-18 board president, as well as served on the Budget and Finance Committee, Technical Resources Committee, and the Investment Committee. An advocate for positive legislative change, Knox has been a longtime member of the SMACNA’s legislative and political action committees, and a member of the SMAC PAC donor clubs for almost 20 years. He is also the management trustee of the Sheet Metal Workers’ National Pension fund.
Locally, Knox is an active member of the board of directors for Georgia SMACNA and serves on several standing committees, including the joint apprenticeship & training committee, health and welfare committee, and the industry fund.
Chapter Executive of the Year
Nathan Cooper, executive director of SMACNA Colorado, is this year’s Chapter Executive of the Year. This special award is given to the person who has made a positive and significant impact on SMACNA as a national association and the local chapter.
“Nathan is a tireless advocate for the industry and is someone who builds bridges between management and labor in a way that benefits all,” said Hilger. “His leadership skills are unparalleled, as is his compassion and thoughtfulness for those around him. I am thrilled to honor SMACNA Colorado’s own Nathan Cooper with the 2022 Chapter Executive of the Year.”
Cooper has served as the executive director of SMACNA Colorado, the local chapter representing more than 75 contactor firms across the Centennial State, since 2018. In the role, he’s been instrumental in supporting initiatives most important to his contractors, including workforce development and infrastructure. Cooper also plays an important role on SMACNA’s Legislative Committee and the SMACNA PAC Committee. He is a top PAC and administrative fund contributor, with nearly a decade as a Diamond CIC.
Prior to joining SMACNA Colorado, Cooper worked in the Iowa Senate and spent six years with the Sheet Metal Contractors of Iowa as the association’s education director. There, he sharpened his skills in political persuasion, leadership, and workforce development. Cooper leverages all of these traits on a daily basis in his current role.
Cooper is also an active member of the Arvada Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and serves on the Chamber’s Construction & Trades Industry Action Committee. He has also participated as a member of the Colorado WORK Act Grant Review Committee. Cooper and his wife, Laura, enjoy traveling around Colorado and the world, and assisting with the Faith Lutheran Church’s Youth Group.