From retail and restaurants to tech and media, contractors to coworking spaces, large, small, and everything in between, a diverse array of businesses call Alexandria home. In our blog series, Growing in Alexandria, we sit down to talk with businesses around the City to learn more about who they are, what they do, and why they love it here. Have an idea for a business in Alexandria to talk to? Email us!
One thing that the greater Washington Metro area is known for is government contracting- and Alexandria is home to many of these organizations. August found us meeting with Jula Jane, President & CEO of Coggins International, to learn more about their automation and technology-focused company.
AEDP: To start, can you please tell us a little bit about Coggins International?
Jula: Coggins International is a global leader in automation and technology solutions, specializing in the aviation, defense and energy (oil & gas) industries. We have an elite team of certified engineers, informational technology professionals and instructors who work hand-in-hand with customers and alliance partners to design, implement and deliver cutting-edge technologies, combined with world-class training and support services.
AEDP: Do you have a favorite quote?
Jula: This is one that we use throughout the office and it probably has been with us two decades – “The difficult we do every day. The impossible takes a little longer.” The sums up what we do here at Coggins International.
AEDP: How would you describe your company culture? What do you want people to think of when they think of Coggins?
Jula: We are well known for an unconditional commitment to excellence. The Coggins team works cohesively to earn our customer’s business every day, never taking it for granted! We are very team oriented and customer focused. The Coggins team is truly a professional family. Keith Coggins (my partner) and I go to bed every night thinking about our employees’ mortgages, student loans, car payments. If they ever have family issues, we take it to heart. A lot of the team has been with us for over twenty years.
AEDP: What’s the next big project for Coggins?
Jula: Coggins has just been awarded two 15-year IDIQ contracts from the Defense Logistics Agency to provide an electronic point of sale enterprise and mobility solution. This solution will be deployed at over 700 military bases. It is a truly global project that we have been working on for over 10 years.
AEDP: Running a business is exhilarating, but it can also be difficult in some ways. What would you said is your biggest challenge for running your own business?
Jula: Finding a work/life balance. I enjoy what I do so much that it’s as much my hobby as it is my livelihood. I need to quiet my mind once in a while and take a stroll through one of our lovely parks and literally smell the roses. The business is 24/7 on my mind but I love it. I wake up with a purpose and cannot wait to get to the office.
AEDP: Lastly… our favorite question: why Alexandria?
Jula: This decision dates back to 2014. Keith and I were splitting our time between Atlanta, Washington, DC and New York. Atlanta was our headquarters and we were doing a lot of work with Delta and the Department of Defense based in Atlanta. With all of our new projects coming up, we took a strategic look at our position and decided that we wanted to be closer to our primary customer, the Defense Logistics Agency in Washington, DC. We chose Alexandria based on a lot of criteria: proximity to the airport was huge; ease of getting into DC without being in the city. We train about 1,000 military personnel a year on how to use our software. These training courses can be three weeks long and that can be a long time away from home and in one place. We wanted a city that had things for them to do outside of class and Alexandria has no shortage of interesting and fun things to do. They can quickly get into Washington, DC for sightseeing as well. In terms of an office building, Canal Center offered us a blank canvas in which to build our ideal office space.
To learn more about Coggins International, visit their website or stop by their office at 44 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 401.