In a ceremony opening the company’s latest U.S. manufacturing facility, Cook Medical President Kem Hawkins joined national and local dignitaries today to dedicate a $19 million production plant that will add another 60 high-skill jobs to the local economy. The new facility joins an existing $20 million Cook factory in Canton that opened two years ago.
“Today, we are thrilled to open Cook Polymer Technology Canton, which will provide another 60 jobs to the people of Canton and add a significant economic boost to this small community. At Cook, we have always believed in reinvesting revenues earned here and abroad in new manufacturing facilities that create jobs for people, while ensuring that the Cook organization continues to grow,” Hawkins said. “Over nearly 50 years, Cook has reinvested more than $1.5 billion dollars in plants across the U.S. and in key facilities overseas that now employ 10,000 people. And we hope circumstances will allow us to continue that tradition.”
The new 60,000 sq. ft. Canton facility will manufacture polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) tubing used in a broad variety of the 16,000 different medical devices Cook manufactures. The highly technical, equipment-driven manufacturing plant will capitalize on the existing mechanical and maintenance knowledge of workers in the Canton area. Some employees formerly worked for the large International Harvester plant that once employed 3,000 people in Canton before it was closed in 1983, raising local unemployment to 17 percent. The city was selected for the new Cook plants because in addition to its ready workforce, it was the boyhood home of the late Cook Group founder Bill Cook, who wanted to help revive his hometown.
Canton Mayor Kevin Meade said he’s amazed at the impact of the tubing plant, along with the sister plant Cook opened there two years ago that now employs more than 100 skilled workers making angiographic catheters, has had on his economically challenged community.
“It doesn’t take a huge plant with thousands of jobs to make a real impact. Even a few hundred good jobs is enough to help a town the size of Canton turn itself around,” Meade said. Since Cook Canton opened, Meade said, the local hospital has invested over $40 million in a new clinic and upgrades to their existing facilities. In addition, a number of new retail stores have opened and local businesses have been able to expand. After years of no new housing permits, the city also has experienced a veritable housing boom with a new 42-unit apartment complex being built along with 16 new home construction permits having been issued.
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, D-IL, also joined the grand opening ceremonies, and welcomed Cook’s second investment in new jobs and economic growth for his home state.
“I’ve been impressed with the company’s commitment to the hometown of its founder and am thrilled that Cook Medical is continuing to invest in Illinois workers and the community of Canton,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. “While Canton has struggled economically in recent years, the quality of its workforce has remained strong. The good-paying jobs created with this new investment will have a ripple effect in terms of economic activity far outside the doors of its facilities as new workers make home improvements they’ve postponed, buy meals and clothing, and contribute to the area’s economy, which is on its way to thriving once again.”
Also speaking was U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-IL, who represents the Canton area.
“America has always been a country of endless possibilities and hard workers – folks like Bill and Gayle Cook, who built their apartment-run medical device company into the world’s largest family-owned medical device manufacturer,” Rep. Schilling said. “The company’s impact in Canton has been invaluable, and we need to guarantee that businesses like Cook can continue to manufacture products here in America and invest in our national, state, and local economies. Congratulations to the Canton community, and to Cook Polymer Technology Canton and Cook Medical for their successes in the global marketplace.”
Ultimately, the two Cook plants, which both were built with future expansion in mind, will employ more than 350 people. In addition, parent company Cook Group also has invested more than $15 million in Canton’s downtown square, building a new 32-room boutique hotel and buying and improving a shopping mall and other properties.
About Cook Medical
A global pioneer in medical breakthroughs, Cook Medical is committed to creating effective solutions that benefit millions of patients worldwide. Today, we combine medical devices, drugs, biologic grafts and cell therapies across more than 16,000 products serving more than 40 medical specialties. Founded in 1963 by a visionary who put patient needs and ethical business practices first,Cook is a family-owned company that has created more than 10,000 jobs worldwide. For more information, visit www.cookmedical.com.