Home    /    History

History of Cox-Powell Corporation


    Forming that foundation was a young entrepreneur by the name of William A. Cox Jr. Mr. Cox was an aspiring youth that grew up as a working man on his family’s farm and was heavily involved in the likes of the 4H club, hunting, and fishing. In 1930, Mr. Cox traveled from southeastern Virginia by steam locomotive to Blacksburg, home of Virginia Tech University. After a grueling 4-year effort, Mr. Cox graduated from Virginia Tech. Seeking growth, Mr. Cox embarked on a venture with R.F. Trant Inc., ironically a locally owned Norfolk HVAC company. He excelled as a service technician and service manager. Near the beginning of the 1940s, World War II broke out. William Cox answered the call of duty and served his country diligently in numerous positions overseas, escalating to the rank of Colonel before returning to the Norfolk Area. With a bit of jingle in his pocket, a couple of pencils, and some paper, Colonel Cox decided to go into business for himself.

    Colonel Cox sought to capitalize on a new bustling market known as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. This relatively new market was gaining a lot of traction. Manufacturing companies were struggling to find buyers for various components that were initially supporting the efforts of World War II. Additionally, the Hampton Roads area was growing commercially, and the need for dependable mechanical heating and air conditioning contractors was abounding.


    In 1946, Colonel Cox had an idea. He wanted to take advantage of the wartime growth in the Hampton Roads area and make his entrepreneurial dreams a reality. With a newfound love of heating and air conditioning, Colonel Cox surveyed the Norfolk area and quickly discovered that there were not many HVAC contractors in the area. Later that year, his vision turned into a tangible business as Cox-Frank Corporation was formed. After a few years of successful business operations, Mr. Cox bought out Frank. He later redesignated the Corporation to what we know today as Cox-Powell Corporation. The addition of Powell was named after another Virginia Tech alumnus, J.V. Powell Jr., a chemical engineer who was currently serving as Cox’s Vice President.


    After nearly 4 decades of successful business operations, Mr. Cox was looking to retire and step away from the successful Corporation he had built. In 1984, John Kerner, a sharp businessman with over 17 years of experience working with Honeywell as a mechanical contractor, approached Mr. Cox with the possibility of acquiring Cox-Powell Corporation. Mr. Cox obliged, and Cox-Powell Corporation was given new life and new ideas from a hungry businessman eager to build upon the dreams and success that William Cox attained.


    HVAC installations and retrofits in commercial and industrial settings always have a large electrical load. In 2005, Olde Towne Electric was added in the Williamsburg area, thus completing the puzzle to become a full-service HVAC Contractor. Other acquisitions included Vassars Inc. and Controlled Environments in 2007. These additional HVAC affiliated companies have afforded Cox-Powell Corporation to expand to the entire Hampton Roads region offering full-service HVAC and Mechanical Contracting.

    However, business acquisitions are not the end-all solution to full-service HVAC contracting. Cox-Powell has expanded internally throughout the years, establishing footholds in the commercial and industrial HVAC markets such as Indoor Air Quality, Chiller & Boiler Repair, Thermography, Electrical lighting and wiring installations, and HVAC Environmental Controls.


    Today, Cox-Powell Corporation comprises nearly 100 employees: Service Technicians, Project Installers, Electrical Technicians, Controls Technicians, Accountants, Dispatchers, and their own IT department. Central dispatching is done at the corporate office utilizing state-of-the-art mobile fleet dispatching, and billing of maintenance hours is heavily automated. Technicians are assigned calls strategically based on their GPS location and capabilities, significantly reducing travel times and minimizing costs associated with the business.

    Cox-Powell’s service capabilities range from small through the wall and split systems to built-up systems with large centrifugal chillers or systems designed and engineered for a specific application. We work with critical ventilation and building pressurization systems from clean and isolation room applications to ventilation systems for exhausting noxious gases. Our customers regularly request solutions to system deficiencies, new system design, and existing system modification as facility configurations change.

Cox-Powell Corporation is primed for success continuing into the next 25 years and beyond through these new growth initiatives.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt