By Nathan Turner Jr.
For The Birmingham Times
Robert E. Joiner, 70, and a partner established Joiner Fire Sprinkler Co., in 1994 with one employee and one company vehicle. Over the past 23 years, the company has grown—it now employs 45 people and with 26 company vehicles—and has installed sprinkler systems at hospitals, malls, and U.S. government facilities, including Fort Knox in Kentucky; Fort Campbell, which straddles Kentucky and Tennessee; and Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Locally, the company has put in sprinklers at Grandview Hospital, Regions Park, and the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.
Joiner, who is president and sole owner of the company, said he’s encountered stumbling blocks but has never felt hindered because of race.
“People want someone who can do a good job, and they don’t care if you are black or white,” said Joiner who grew up on his father’s 400-acre farm in Mississippi. “I don’t get caught up in black and white. If someone does, that’s their problem.”
Joiner has been in the sprinkler business since 1971 when he was the first person hired at Birmingham’s Jim Crumpton Sprinkler Co. He worked there for 16 years before quitting and later starting a company. During his tenure at Crumpton, he noticed how the owner efficiently managed the business and laid a strong foundation for success.
“He would say to me that the only thing you have is your name and reputation,” said Joiner. “Surround yourself with the right people—get the right attorneys, accountants, and workers—and the sky’s the limit.”
In 2004, Joiner bought out his partner and continued to invest into the company. He learned to spend money wisely. For example, when the economy tanked in 2008 Joiner was able to finance the sprinkler company with his own money. That way, he was able to cover incidentals, such as salaries and health insurance, and keep the company afloat.
For more information …
Joiner Fire Sprinkler Co. Inc.
Address: 3408 Messer Airport Highway, Birmingham, AL 35222
Mailing address: P.O. Box 10804 Birmingham, AL 35202
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