Tom Coble, president of Coble Trench Safety, a Greensboro, N.C.-based firm that supplied trench and traffic safety equipment and training to contractors, municipalities and industrial clients in southeastern and mid-Atlantic states, was killed on Jan. 20 when the plane he was piloting crashed shortly after takeoff in Rainbow City, Ala.

Coble, who was 58, founded the now 82-employee firm in 2002. It now has 11 locations.



Succeeding Coble as president is Matt Coble, his son and the company’s former vice president of operations. 

The firm spokesman did not disclose its revenue but the company was cited in a regional business publication as the 11th fastest growing private firm in North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad region, based on 2011 revenue growth. Ernst & Young also named Tom Coble as its entrepreneur of the year in the Carolinas last June, the company says.  


A spokesman for the firm says the cause of the crash “has not been determined yet” and is under investigation. The company says Coble, who was alone and returning to North Carolina, had more than 42 years of flying experience.