Just a Minute with Kenneth Cook, President, Ken Cook Co.

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:37 pm

Company address: 9929 W. Silver Spring Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53225
Company Web site: www.kencook.com
Industry: Technical communications – development of client product manuals and training programs, plus replication and distribution of materials
Number of employees: 90
Company’s annual revenues: $12 million
Education: Bachelor’s degree from Purdue University; Master’s degree from Claremont Graduate University
Family: Wife, Jean, and three step-children

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

"We’ve developed a media one-off concept for a client which included a Web bookstore with print, PDF and CD/DVD media options. With endorsement and help from this client, we will expand to six more bookstores."

What’s new at your company?

"With all the renovations of our facility, adding meeting and lunch rooms with a kitchen, the most popular addition is a popcorn machine, which has created a whole new culture and camaraderie!"

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

"We recently hired a marine sales executive and will add customer service staff, plus an accounting assistant. More staff will be hired in the IT area. Capital investments include a large-format printer, plus computer utilities for content management. Depending on city, county and state support, we may remain in the city or consider other location options."

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year? 

"As a publisher, we face increased paper prices and possible shortages which will impact our customers, competition and margins. Keeping up with technologies in content management, XML, Web functionality, publishing and related support functions will be challenging, but rewarding."

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

"The trend in the industry is customers using high-level brokerage agencies to purchase our services like commodities. It is a true challenge for retaining customers, reasonable margins and promoting value-added services with innovative solutions." 

Do you have a business mantra?

"Yes, most of my colleagues will agree that I have a relentless pursuit for teamwork! Being a team player is essential."

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

"Larry Bossidy, author or ‘Confronting Reality’ and ‘Execution,’ is awesome in his guidance and articulation of situations and how he handled them. At first, he was too direct with managers for me. But now I find managers respond and react to that leadership style. Good job, Larry!"

What was the best advice you ever received?

"Over the past 12 years, I have had challenges and career complexities. It is difficult to pinpoint any one bit of advice, but I would say a bumper sticker really hit home with me: ‘Don’t Put Your Dreams On Hold.’"

What do you like to do in your free time?

"Walk, golf, rebuild stereo equipment, music and shop (hunt) with my wife. I am shopping for an old English sportscar – a Triumph TR-6 would be fun!"


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