Cook Medical on Friday opened 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.
“Over nearly 50 years, Cook has reinvested more than $1.5 billion 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,” said Kem Hawkins, president, Cook Medical.
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%.
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.
Two years ago the company opened a plant that now employs more than 100 skilled workers making angiographic catheters.
“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.
“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,” said U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-IL, who represents the Canton area.
“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, “ he added.
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.