Ken Cook Co.

Location: 9929 W. Silver Spring Dr., Milwaukee
Web site:
Year founded: 1944
Product or service offered: Product support documentation and fulfillment.

Leadership team: Kenneth J. Cook, president and chief executive officer; Robert Haukohl, vice president; John Poelzer, treasurer; Jeff Mayer, director corporate accounts; Laura Landergott, director sales and marketing; Greg King, director IT and fulfillment.

Target clientele: Ken Cook Co. provides product support documentation, training programs and fulfillment services to manufacturers of construction, automotive, marine, electronic controls and power equipment. Businesses with technical documentation, training and fulfillment needs partner with Ken Cook Co. for concept-to-completion management of product information for Web, new media, video and print applications. 

Business organization memberships: Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC), Council of Small Business Executives (COSBE), the Milwaukee World Trade Association (MWTA), Printing Industries of Wisconsin (PIW) and the Association for Northwest Advancement. National and international memberships include Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the National Association of Service Managers (NASM), the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) and the Society for Technical Communicators (STC).

What has fueled your company’s growth? Ken Cook Co. has experienced significant growth by developing innovative technologies that increase productivity and impact bottom-line revenue for our customers. Recognizing and responding to customer needs, Ken Cook Co. developed media1off, an extremely powerful business tool providing a single source solution for streamlining the document management, print, inventory and fulfillment process. It goes beyond consolidating the supply chain, it can turn a cost center into a successful revenue generator. In addition, Ken Cook Co.’s response to the demand for training and certification programs that ensure the safe operation of equipment and vehicles has resulted in the development of technologies that allow global participation and reduced liability for its customers.

What is the biggest obstacle to your company’s growth? While many metropolitan areas nationwide recognize economic factors and loss of jobs to overseas industries as business challenges, a unique challenge to the Milwaukee region with its concentration of manufacturing businesses is the growth of the knowledge economy. This growth has required a restructuring of jobs from primary manufacturing industries to technology and other knowledge-based industries. The challenge is to attract and retain workforce talent to supply the development of knowledge-based industries.

Do you plan any changes in your company in the upcoming months? An ISO 9001:2000 certified business, Ken Cook Co. seeks to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide services and products that meet customer and regulatory requirements and enhance customer satisfaction through effective application of its quality system and continuous improvement. Ken Cook Co. strives to anticipate, recognize and respond to customers’ needs in order to provide products and services that offer best-in-class customer satisfaction. As a result, the company plans to increase its IT programming and instructional development staff to answer the training and certification needs of its clients.

Who are the business people, locally or nationally, whom you admire? And what traits do those people exhibit that make you admire them? I admire and am grateful to Henry Uihlein, owner of U-Line Corporation and volunteer at Senior Organization of Retired Executives (SCORE), who mentored me through the challenges of a family owned business. Dr. Herman Viets, president of the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) is a good friend and I admire him for his innovative programs, candor about workforce development and vision in the future technical education degrees that will drive our economy.

What is the outlook for the business conditions of your industry over the next several months? The key industries that Ken Cook Co. supports have issued reports that indicate a slow growth for the balance of 2007.

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