Cook Group receives the inaugural Jerry Semler Corporate Citizenship Award

Sagamore honors bloomington, in based company at its annual conference on citizenship

Like Sagamore Institute, which he helped to lead as a Board member for nearly 20 years, Jerry Semler was steadfastly dedicated to service and solutions. So, it’s fitting that the Cook Group – a company long focused on serving and finding solutions for its clients, its home state of Indiana, and the world – is the recipient of the inaugural Jerry Semler Corporate Citizenship Award.

Sagamore President Teresa Lubbers and CEO Jay Hein presented the award to Cook Group’s Chairman of the Board Stephen Ferguson and President Pete Yonkman on Tuesday during the Institute’s annual Indiana Conference on Citizenship.

Cook, a family-owned company founded in Bloomington in 1963, has grown into an international leader in developing medical devices as well as establishing breakthroughs in biomedical research and animal health.

Yet, it’s not just business operations that set Cook apart as a leader in its home community of Bloomington and throughout Indiana. Like founder Bill Cook, the company that bears his name is driven by service to employees and the communities where they work and live.

A prime example: In 2022, Cook Medical executives recognized that affordable housing was in short supply for many middle-income workers in communities in south central Indiana. So, Cook found a solution, announcing that it would build 300 homes to address workforce housing needs. The initial step in the multi-year plan involved purchasing 62 acres in Owen County, where 90 affordable single-family houses will be built.

“It’s so beautiful,” Tommie Jones, a quality control inspector with Cook Medical, told National Public Radio while touring her new home in May in Spencer, Indiana.

Service and solutions. They are words that defined Jerry Semler’s life. And they are words that define Cook Group’s approach to corporate citizenship.

Here are a few other examples of Cook’s outstanding corporate citizenship:

  • Countless visitors to the West Baden Springs and the French Lick-Springs hotels in Orange County have gazed in wonder at the magnificent restoration of the historic sites that was driven by Bill and Gayle Cook’s passion for preserving what is best in our state. Historic restoration is just one example of how the Cook Group has made a lasting investment in Indiana and beyond.
  • My Cook Pathway is a remarkable benefits package that enables employees to further their education and improve their job skills while working at Cook. For those without a high school diploma, Cook pays employees a fulltime salary while they work parttime and study to earn an Indiana High School Equivalency Diploma. Workers are offered fulltime employment upon earning a diploma. Cook also partners with Ivy Tech, Purdue Global, WGU Indiana, and Indiana Wesleyan University to assist employees in earning associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees.
  • Cook Group has partnered with Goodwill of Southern & Central Indiana along with the Indianapolis Foundation, IMPACT Central Indiana, and the United Northeast Community Development Corporation to create 100 jobs at a new medical device facility at East 38th and Sheridan streets in Indianapolis. The site was chosen because nearby residents face high rates of poverty and unemployment. Workers at the facility manufacture medical devices such as introducers, sheaths, drainage catheters, and needles for Cook Medical as employees of Goodwill Commercial Services. Employees have opportunities for long-term employment and career progression. Through Goodwill, the facility offers services such as support for mental and physical health, substance use disorder support, soft skills training, and housing stabilization. Employees also can earn a high school diploma and associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees for free.