Birmingham Times | April 24, 2014 
by Charlene Holmes
Special to the Times

Mr. Christopher Roper’s skills are in great demand. As owner of Chris Rooter Plumbing, Inc. Mr. Roper has been using his Master Plumber and Gas Fitter skills for over 20 years. He is both an Alagasco and Alabama Power Certified Contractor.
He has contracts with the Birmingham Housing Authority, UAB, Jefferson County, Birmingham Water Works and Hickory Knoll Apartments in Homewood.
“I am very thankful for these contracts. It’s the Grace of God that has placed me where I am today,” Mr. Roper said.
The Crestwood, Alabama native and Woodlawn High School graduate said becoming a plumber was the farthest from his childhood dreams.
Mr. Roper expounded, “I was into music. I played the tuba in high school. I was going to attend Florida A&M on a band scholarship because that school had the best college marching band. Rick James, Parliament and the BarKays were a few of my favorite bands. I wanted to be in a band,get really good, go to Hollywood and live the glamorous life. Realistically, I wanted to major in Mechanical Engineering at Florida A&M, come home and get a job with AT&T.”
“But God had a different plan for me. And you know you must follow God’s plan,” Roper added.
Instead of attending Florida A&M, Mr. Roper said he enlisted in the Navy from 1983-1989 where he worked in Military Intelligence. “I interpreted Morse Code and radio signals. As a young supervisor of about 13 people, I was taught people managerial skills.”
Mr. Roper said after the Navy, he worked at Guzzler Manufacturing where he assisted mechanical engineers and foremen. Over the years, he said he worked for different companies such as Electronic Data Systems, AT&T, BellSouth, Unisys Corp., and finally Roto Rooter as a computer technologist, in electronic data systems and finally as a plumber.
“By then, I wanted to own my own business and work for myself. Mr. and Mrs. Charles and Mary Cheathem inspired me to go for it and become my own boss.”
He continued, “I could not get a business loan so I struggled and took money from the jobs that I had to pump money into my business.”
“I participated in UAB’s SCORE program that was taught by retired executives and learned  how to write a business plan, apply for a loan and get my business started. I wish SCORE were still around to help others contemplating starting a business,” he said.
Mr. Roper said he would advise future business owners to attend a trade school. “Get educated about the kind of business that you want to start. Focus on your credit, seed money, and cash flow.  Do not try to finance yourself. Pay for information and guidance about how to correctly set up and start your business. Seek professional financial counseling. Hire an accountant. Don’t spare any costs. Get information. Ask questions. Owning a business and paying yourself is much different from working for someone and having someone else do the payroll. With hard work, you can start your own business.”
He continued, “Be ethical.  Remember, good follows good. My parents, Mr. J.C. Roper and Mrs. Ruby Lee Roper instilled in me the necessity of being honest, ethical and treating customers as if they were my family or me. I believe in rendering the best service, using the best materials and performing an excellent, high quality job.”
Chris Rooter Plumbing is a midsized company consisting of  between 6-15 employees. “ We are here to provide residential, commercial plumbing repairs, sewer cleaning, sewer installs, gas piping, hot water heaters, kitchen and bathroom remodeling and jet and sewer camera services,  plumbing consultation  and estimates. We bring plumbing up to code, as well. If we cannot answer your questions, we will point you in the direction to get the answers.”
He continued, “We can get the job done. We have about five Master plumbers, dump trucks and electrical equipment. I am proud of my staff and their daily hard work and dedication over the years.”
Mr. Roper mentioned other people and companies that have assisted him over time. “I appreciate the Roper, Hawkins, Crum, Simpson and Bradford families for their help. I thank Ms. Naomi Truman at the Birmingham Housing Authority, Mr. Will Moore, Mr. Frank Pratt, Mr. Mac Underwood, Ms. Theresa Fernandez, Mr. Ed Travis, Mr. Raymond Childs, Birmingham Water Works, the Water Quality Department, UAB, Jefferson County, Mayor William Bell, Mr. Michael Bell, the Birmingham Construction Authority for Minority Contracts, Mr. and Mrs. Stephen and Robin Givens, Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper, Mr. Chris Thompson of CVS Plumbing, Mr. Charlie O’Brien of Wehby Plumbing, Master Plumbers, Mr. Marvin Powell and Mr. Paul Adams.”

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