Cook Group gets ready for more growth around Indiana

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Cook Group is getting ready for a growth spurt.

The Bloomington-based maker of medical devices plans to add up to 1,330 employees in Indiana over the next eight years to accommodate increasing demand for its products.

That would be another shot in the arm for Cook, which is already the 20th largest employer in Indiana, with about 7,000 of its more than 12,000 employees working in the state.

Earlier this year, Cook was awarded up to $17 million in tax credits by the Indiana Economic Development Corp. for job training to beef up its workforce. The company says it is investing $101.7 million on the projects.

The credits focus mainly on two growing operations.

The first is Cook Regentec, a unit that develops tools and technology for regenerative medicine. In October, Cook cut the ribbon on a building it renovated at 1102 Indiana Avenue in Indianapolis, just west of the IU School of Medicine, on the edge of the 16 Tech innovation district. The site houses about 70 workers. More than a dozen others work at smaller sites in Bloomington and West Lafayette.

The Regentec division develops technology that helps doctors remove cells from the body, get them into the lab and ship them where they are needed.

The second growing location is Cook Profile Park, a facility on the west side of Bloomington that used to be home to a General Electric refrigerator factory. Earlier this year, Cook broke ground and held a tree-planting ceremony on the site. The nearly 1 million square feet will double Cook’s global headquarters, creating a campus between the current headquarters and the new facility.

Plans call for renovating the dilapidated refrigerator factory into a new manufacturing plant to make medical devices. The former GE site was built more than 50 years ago. The last refrigerator came off the line there in 2016, when GE Appliances closed the plant.

Cook has said it needs more space to accommodate its growth and transform its manufacturing process. “The flexibility that the GE space provides will allow us to purpose-build for efficiency in our product lines,” Pete Yonkman, president of Cook Group, said when the company bought the site.

Cook is also growing in other states. In June, the company announced plans to acquire a former cigarette facility in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, that closed in 2012. The company will transform the facility into a medical-device manufacturing plant.

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