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George Cooper started Development Concepts over twenty years ago. What began with a focus on specialized technical assessment support quickly grew to provide services in a number of areas, including multi-year training program development, EEOC compliant assessment development, consultation services, and organizational development. George laid the foundation for the success that continues today, as Development Concepts continues to support a wide range of clients -- including those who have used our assessments since the 1990s.

George R. Cooper, III
Founder (1954 - 2015)

George started out in the manufacturing world as an engineer after graduating from Georgia Tech with a mechanical engineering degree, then moved to maintenance management—in fact, he continued to think of himself as a maintenance man, first, no matter his focus. Shifting to work for a Tier One automotive supplier, he held positions in operations and quality management, including responsibility for implementation of the Toyota Production System (TPS) across his division's worldwide locations. Along the way, he obtained an EMBA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

His extensive real-world experience perfectly set the stage for creating a consulting practice focusing on the development of content-validated technical assessments used for selection, qualification and determination of training needs for jobs with specialized knowledge, as well as the development of customized training curricula and materials to assist clients in improving the skills of their incumbent workforce. Having been a practitioner in the industrial world with a broad technical background made him uniquely qualified to consult from a position of experience and expertise.

In recent years, George became active in the areas of public education and skilled workforce development in an effort to address the shortage of qualified candidates for skilled jobs. He partnered with regional secondary and post-secondary education institutions and employers to bridge the gap between schools' curricula, students' demonstrable proficiencies, and employers' needs. He projected the emergence of an industrial renaissance in the United States, and the need to provide clear pathways to the many skilled jobs that exist for people in all walks of life. He  was passionate in his work in these areas, and his legacy continues to bear fruit as demonstrated by the success of his and others' combined efforts. 

Andria L. Yates, Ph.D.

Andria first worked as an engineer after obtaining her hard earned bachelor's degree in mechanical and materials engineering from Vanderbilt University. After her years in quality assurance and manufacturing management, she left the manufacturing world and completed a doctoral program in psychology, adding a few formal letters to her name along with the concentration in industrial and organizational psychology.

She has worked in management and executive positions in manufacturing, human resources, and new media businesses in addition to her continued consulting practice.


She also serves as part time faculty at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she has taught a variety of courses and created seminars in areas such as Social and Emotional Intelligence and Meditation. As Dr. Yates, she also leads study abroad courses in Social and Multicultural Psychology to Greece and Italy.


Andria is a systems thinker, which influences all areas of her work (and life outside of work.) Her consulting spans the boundaries of organizational and individual services, with an overarching emphasis on the health and effectiveness of the system, whether the system is an organization, a group, or an individual. This includes work as quantitatively focused as creating pre-employment assessments and analyzing the results of an employee or client survey (which greatly appeal to her metaphorical left brain) to the more qualitative efforts involved in coaching others and leading experiential retreats in self discovery (engaging more of her right brain.)

She now adds leading Development Concepts and the management of the team that continues to provide the services George and she created together for many years. In addition, Andria recently launched Reach & Thrive, a specialized consultancy that supports individuals (and groups) in personal development. 

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