Cook Construction Company Inc.
- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: April Reeves
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Founded in 1997, Cook Construction Company Inc. believes in five pillars of success in business: trust, teamwork, responsibility, safety and service. Based in Plant City, Florida, Cook has become one of the area’s most trusted site preparation, demolition, earthwork and underground utilities companies, paving the way for projects to kick off in a timely, efficient manner. “Our customers know we’ll contribute to their success and as a result, we’re constantly working with the same contractors and repeat customers time and time again,” says Ben Cook, founder and CEO of Cook. “We always get good recommendations because we keep our word and we get things done in an efficient, cost effective and friendly manner.”
Offering the full scope in site development, Cook regularly works with some of the largest contractors in South Florida, including Schmid Construction and The Beck Group. “Our customers know we’re going to bring the job in on time,” says Ben. “We’re an asset to the project, not a liability.”
Ben says Cook brings a level of responsiveness to the table that other site contractors don’t: “We always man our jobs properly and we’re constantly catering to our customers’ needs. If they have a question or a concern, they can always talk to someone. We have people answering the phone all the time.”
Assembling a high-quality team
Today, Cook has grown to 30 employees with many years of experience in the industry. Alongside Ben in the company’s upper management is Stephen McLeod, president of Cook, and Thomas Tillman, chief financial officer. “Stephen has been here since the get go, joining me after about fourth months in operation. He runs our operations and estimating department and Thomas oversees all finances and budgeting,” notes Ben. “I decided to give retirement a try after selling the large road building firm in Virginia Beach, Virginia, which I was a part of. This lasted for five years due to my belief that I was too young to retire, and experiencing a great deal of boredom from not going into the office every day. I also wanted to move back to Florida to be closer to my family.”
Having the right people on board to get the job done the right way is an important part of Cook’s model. “We like to hire young people, train them and show them our way of doing things,” says Ben. “It takes a good mix of good people to make a great company.”
Ben says his door is always open to employees for suggestions and ideas. “We’re a very family-like team and we want everyone to feel as though they are a part of something,” he says. “They know they can come and talk to me about anything. If an employee has a good suggestion, we will always listen — people like to know they will be heard.”
A full suite of services
Cook offers every type of site development and preparation service possible, from site preparation and evaluation all the way to demolition. “Site evaluation is just as necessary as preparation,” explains Ben. “The proper evaluation of a site can determine how efficient the construction process will be and if there might be unexpected delays or additional costs. We also have extensive demolition experience. Through the process we salvage as much material as possible for reuse, greatly reducing debris in landfills and saving our customers on dumping costs.”
Cook’s crews take pride in understanding the technical ins and outs of earthwork — everything from moving earth to finish grading and landscaping. Cook has the experience and knowledge to provide underground utilities. “We work with providers to fulfill all technical needs and federal, state and county code obligations,” adds Ben.
The only service outside of underground utility installation that Cook turns to subcontractors for is asphalt paving. With this full suite of services in its arsenal, Cook can tackle a range of projects: banks, libraries, office parks, convenience stores and gas stations, shopping plazas and commercial sites. “Right now we have a $3 million job with Schmid Construction at a grocery store expansion,” notes Ben. “We also do many gas station and c-store projects. We do many Burger King projects, and we have just completed a large multiphase expansion project with Gordon Food Products at their plant site in Plant City.”
In addition to large-scope, million dollar projects, Cook has a steady flow of projects in the $200,000 to $500,000 range. “We can have anywhere from 14 to 16 jobs going on at one time, small and large,” says Ben.
Regular jobsite meetings and quarterly employee meetings are a big part of Cook’s process. “This helps us stay on the same page and keeps everyone informed on our progress, new jobs and general areas where we can improve,” says Ben.
Clear communication, a teamwork approach and friendly service have helped Cook Construction Company Inc. maintain a solid backlog of work with many repeat customers that know who to turn to for efficient site preparation, development and delivery.
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