Nothing changes your life like a child. So, when son Montgomery “Monty” Cooper was born two years ago, dad Shawn realized quickly that he couldn’t continue the go-go life of an international jet-setting textile fashion executive. Just a little over two months after Monty was born, Shawn flew to Asia on company business. Not being able to bond with his child for a couple of weeks was a final straw.
Now, instead of making extended trips, working long days, and coming home to continue checking e-mail and stressing over corporate projects and plans, Shawn and spouse, Chiquita, spend the evenings in “Monty Time,” making sure the two-year-old youngster gets a firm footing in a loving family.
That’s how it was for Shawn when he grew up. His father, who had a 30-year career with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, was a strong role model who helped show Shawn what it takes to build a successful family of his own. His parents provided a home filled with love and instilled in him and his sister, Crystal, moral values, discipline, and a strong work ethic. They are now retired and living in Raleigh, just a car ride away when Shawn and Chiquita need a babysitter.
Shawn’s family lived in several towns across the state, according to his father’s assignments. Fortunately, they were able to spend Shawn’s entire high school years in Catawba County. Shawn attended Fred T. Foard High, where he excelled in both athletics and academics. He was on the track, cross country, and basketball teams, and was also active in Key Club and Science Olympiad.
When it came time to choose a college, Shawn was unsure of what academic path to follow. With his passion for math and art/design, friends and family often told him that engineering or architecture would be a good fit. During one of the college tours, a recruiter from North Carolina State told him about generous scholarships in textile engineering. Though he had no particular interest in that field, he recognized it as a good opportunity from which to explore the whole range of engineering programs.
It turned out he enjoyed working in textiles and ended up earning his bachelor’s at State in textile engineering. He wanted to study it further, and enrolled in a “Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies” program at University of North Carolina Greensboro. In addition to classroom work, he had internships at Milliken & Co. and Wrangler, and spent eight exciting, enlightening months studying the field in Melbourne, Australia.
He also developed a serious relationship with Chiquita, who had been an acquaintance at Greensboro and was also studying abroad in Melbourne. Their romance grew there, and they were married in 2008.
Shawn earned an additional degree in Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies at Greensboro, and for the past 12 years has worked in product development for VF Corporation and Belk Incorporated. Chiquita is also a UNC Greensboro graduate, with a degree in Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies, and an MBA. She works as a brand advocate for Kohler.
Living in Concord and South Charlotte, the couple had visited Davidson many times and thought about living here. But their job locations were in totally opposite directions, and a Davidson address seemed impractical. They were both working long hours, and barely slowed down at home in the evenings.
Then, the addition of Monty to the household changed everything, Grateful for his own development in a close-knit family, Shawn realized he had to find a more sustainable lifestyle for everyone’s sake.
So, last September he launched a Lake Norman area franchise called “Tutor Doctor,” an international company that emphasizes personalized, one-to-one tutoring in clients’ homes. Shawn handles the administrative and marketing side of the business, while his cadre of about 15 tutors/employees works directly with clients on a wide range of subjects and grade levels.
It’s finally the job of a lifetime for Shawn—one that integrates teaching and helping young people achieve their potential, while enjoying family life in a people-centered town where he can contribute to civic life. He helps with LearnWorks at the Ada Jenkins Center, serves on the Outreach Ministry at Elevation Church, and also sits on the UNC Greensboro Advisory Council, helping students determine their path within their major and ultimately helping them find internships and jobs.
While he’s out making client calls, he can drop by the day care center and spend time with Monty. They can walk to Roosevelt Wilson Park from their Davidson Bay home or walk downtown to get some ice cream or dine out. They go swimming at the YMCA, read stories together, play catch, and do all those family things that build a happy home—in Davidson!
Bill Giduz was the son who followed his father’s footsteps into journalism. He has been involved his entire life with news and photography in schools he attended and jobs he’s held. He believes now that he’s got a few good years left to devote to The News of Davidson.