I established The Cook Company in 1984 as an opportunity to meet client objectives with comprehensive, unbiased financial advisory services.
It has provided the chance to combine my education, public service, and financial background in a way that helps individuals and families to make long-term plans to meet their investment and financial goals. The firm is a culmination of varied careers I’ve had in the nonprofit, government, and private sectors.
My life as an independent entrepreneur started early as I began delivering newspapers at the age of 10 in my boyhood home of Cleveland. I learned invaluable lessons from that job (which I continued until age 18), including the importance of reliability and being responsible for delivering a dry paper in all types of weather, knowing that 100 different customers had different definitions of what constituted good service. Further, I learned through the weekly payment collection process that all of my customers were different and I had to approach each one appropriately to obtain a good relationship and get paid regularly.
Establishing The Cook Company in 1984 was made possible by the encouragement of friends, public officials...
I saw a need for a firm that offered financial advice to help position clients in investment vehicles that met their objectives in a trusted and personal environment. Experience demonstrated too often that many financial firms are only interested in clients as assets and are motivated by a profit motive that often lacks transparency.
During my time as a student at Dartmouth College, my early career began to focus on service. In the summer of 1961, I participated in Operation Crossroads Africa in Mali and Senegal, where we built schoolhouses with Senegalese and Gambian students. This experience transferred to graduate work at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, followed by attendance at the School of Social Service Administration (SSA) at the University of Chicago. There, I earned an A.M. degree focused on casework (counseling), public/social policy, and administration.
Following graduate school, I spent several years in the nonprofit and government sectors, where the importance of listening to people and understanding the causes of pain and underlying goals for a satisfying and fulfilled life were honed. Jobs included time in Houston, Texas, at the Family Service Center as a caseworker focused on children and family counseling. From there, I spent time at Cape Kennedy, Florida, where I had the opportunity to work with the Community Service Council of Brevard County.
After Florida, I returned to Houston where I joined the staff in the Mayor’s Office implementing its Model City Program. It was during that position that I had opportunities to work with local, state, and federal offices in implementing complex social programs. One key insight gained during that experience was the difficulty in taking a small, successful program, say daycare, and trying to ramp it up to serve more by giving it more money. What works on a small, neighborhood level needs different management systems to succeed, which rarely happens.
While in Houston, I became active in Dartmouth alumni affairs and was soon offered a dream position to return to Hanover to work in the Secretary’s Office at the college. We spent five wonderful years there, raising two young children, serving on the volunteer fire department, and trying our hand at “farming” with a 4,000 square foot vegetable garden.
My final position prior to moving to Colorado was as the Executive Director of Big Brothers of New York City, which had been challenged by the near bankruptcy of New York City – a major funding source for our programs and shelter. It was an insightful opportunity to provide and finance a needed social program in a major metropolitan city, dealing with issues of funding through gifts and grants from state and local governments.
My time in the nonprofit and government sectors was fulfilling, but Mary Jane and I soon decided that it was time to pursue challenges in the private sector. We also wanted to move to Colorado, a place we had vacationed many times.
My experiences in government turned out to be a good fit for municipal bond underwriting, which led to my first job in finance with Boettcher and Company, a highly regarded Denver investment bank. Working with city, county, and tribal governments in Montana, Idaho, and Washington, I gained a great appreciation for the talented government officials seeking to fund needed public infrastructure. It was a great opportunity to cultivate expertise in financing options available to public entities and individuals.
Following Boettcher, I was offered a similar position at Dain Bosworth, another Denver investment bank, and later the opportunity to establish the public finance department at Colorado National Bank. These experiences provided exposure to the wide range of financial institutions available to communities and individuals.
Establishing The Cook Company in 1984 was made possible by the encouragement of friends, public officials, and local legal firms. I saw a need for a firm that offered financial advice to help position clients in investment vehicles that met their objectives in a trusted and personal environment. Experience demonstrated too often that many financial firms are only interested in clients as assets and are motivated by a profit motive that often lacks transparency. As such, I created The Cook Company as a Registered Investment Advisor, which requires a fiduciary relationship with each client, meaning that we act in the client’s best interest, not ours. This kind of relationship is consistent and complementary to my past experiences and facilitates trust and transparency with each client.
Thus, in 2011, I was thrilled when my son, Tim, who was born after we moved to Colorado, asked if he could join me and become my succession plan. Having grown with Tim, I knew his motivation, character and integrity were impeccable. He became an Eagle Scout, did well academically, and served in China for a year following graduation from Carleton College. Following graduate work at the University of Washington in International Studies (China), receiving an M.A. degree, he went on to the National Bureau of Asian Research in Washington, D.C., traveling extensively and advising government agencies. He had a successful career in the international arena and was motivated by service.
Tim’s interests coincide beautifully with the goals of client service of The Cook Company and he has been warmly accepted by our clients. I am proud to know the succession is in good hands!