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In 1992, Carol Campbell saw an opportunity to tap into an existing market and to create jobs in Chicopee, Mass. Today, Carol is the sole owner of Chicopee Industrial Contractors (CIC), a company with $2 million in sales and 20 employees, providing rigging and millwright services to manufacturing companies in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Europe. The question Carol is always asked is – Just what is a rigger and millwright? Says Carol, “In simple terms, rigging is the moving, installation, leveling and alignment of production machinery and equipment and a millwright is the maintenance mechanic for production equipment.” Not exactly traditional “woman’s work”, so how did she choose to enter such a male dominated industry? Says Carol, “The truth is I saw an opportunity and was in a position to take a risk, so I took it.”
With a classic business background in finance, marketing and human resource management, Carol was better equipped than a lot of women to launch a successful business. Yet she knew that to be successful, she needed to complement her business background with technical specialists. When a rigging company closed in 1992, Carol was able to hire its experienced and technical workers, specializing in rigging, millwright, fabrication and concrete installation. “ I surrounded myself with the best in the industry and together we’ve created a successful entity.”
Carol works closely with her relationship manager at BankBoston to make sure she has the financial backing she needs to keep her company healthy and growing. “Asking for credit is a very personal thing. You feel very vulnerable. Your livelihood and that of your employees is on the line, and you worry that if you ask a stupid question, your credibility will be questioned,” said Carol, mirroring many women business owners’ anxiety about dealing with banks. “If BankBoston can eliminate that vulnerability through the Women Entrepreneurs; Connection, it will be a major advantage for women business owners.”
What lies ahead for Chicopee Industrial? “Our focus this year is to expand our in-house technical support service as well as our market base and to complete the paperwork necessary to receive SOMBA (State Office of Minority Business Assistance) certification,” offers Carol. No doubt the company will continue to thrive under her leadership.