Local family starts small surveying and mapping business

Published 9:13 am Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Joey and Katie Cobb stand in front of their home with their children left to right, Cullen, Mary Katherine, Tucker Paul and Zach. -- Andrew Lind | Tidewater News

Joey and Katie Cobb stand in front of their home with their children left to right, Cullen, Mary Katherine, Tucker Paul and Zach. — Andrew Lind | Tidewater News

For nearly two decades, Joey Cobb commuted over an hour to work from his home in Capron. As a project manager for Woolpert Inc., a large engineering and geospatial firm with offices in Chesapeake, Cobb would travel to every corner of Hampton Roads as he followed the company’s many moves.

Despite the incentives of a shorter drive, Cobb loved living in Southampton County and never thought of moving his family closer to work. Now that he’s starting his own small business, though, work is moving into Cobb’s backyard.

A graduate of Chowan University, receiving his associate of science degree in business administration, and Old Dominion University, earning his bachelor’s of science degree in civil engineering technology with an emphasis is surveying and site development, Cobb began his career with an internship at the Dayton, Ohio-based company in 1994.

Moving up the ladder, he held several positions within the company, ranging from group manager of the survey department to project manager for Woolpert’s largest client, the Virginia Department of Transportation. When he decided to start his own business, Cobb Survey & Mapping, Cobb was managing a state-wide VDOT contract.

Despite his success at Woolpert, he always looked forward to getting away from the large corporate structure and starting his own business.

“As necessary as it may be for the large firms, I’ll enjoy having to attend a lot less meetings. I hope my human resources and accounting won’t hassle me as much,” Cobb said jokingly.

Surely enough, his wife, Katie, heads both of those departments.

Noting that that he thoroughly enjoyed his time at Woolpert, Cobb feels that he has built some great friendships and business relationships over the years, and that can only help his company thrive.

“I feel that the relationships that I fostered at Woolpert will add value to my clients,” he said. “Even though Cobb Survey & Mapping is starting as a small, family-owned company, I can reach out to friends throughout the eastern United States to accomplish tasks of any kind.”

In fact, while Cobb’s new endeavor will offer a variety of surveying services, including boundary, subdivision, mortgage, topographic, and bathymetric surveys, as well as construction staking and other odd jobs, he also knows that the company does not currently have the equipment to provide every service associated with surveying and mapping. If that ends up being the case, he said he’ll gladly refer potential customers to his friends or past relationships.

“If CSM cannot provide an efficient solution to the client, I have made numerous relationships that will provide these services,” said Cobb. “I will support them with the necessary client management, and that can yield a greater return on investment.”

Located behind their house at 10131 Fortsville Rd., in Capron, he believes that their shop is in a great location and can be of service to both Southampton County residents and others throughout Virginia.

“CSM is located midway between Emporia and Franklin,” said Cobb. “Getting to Richmond or Chesapeake in an hour is no problem when you’re already used to traveling all over the state.”

As is the case when starting a new business, he noted that there were several hurdles with getting the company started, including purchasing the equipment and necessary insurances, but that the pieces have quickly fallen into place.

“There are always obstacles to starting a new business, and they used to be taken care of by someone. Now it’s all on us,” Cobb mentioned. “That’s one benefit I got from being a group manager at Woolpert. My responsibilities included creating a business plan and making sure I achieved all of the agreed-to goals for a group of more than 20 employees.

“Cobb Survey & Mapping is no different, just on a smaller scale”

Another obstacle that the business faces in the first few years is getting the name out there.

“Being the new kid on the block can be tough,” he said. “But we have family and friends helping in many ways, and we are thankful for that.”

Cobb also said that he would love nothing in the world more than for CSM to be a success and hopes that his kids, Cullen 17, Zach 16, Mary Katherine 10, and Tucker Paul 7, continue to share his interests and one day take over the company that he started.

“That is, if they wanted to do so.”

For more information, contact CSM at 804-513-5799.