Cook '98 Photo
© Nathan Mandell
takers, value makers
Feldco chief Doug Cook is a glass act
not now, when?"
was the pivotal question Doug Cook asked himself before
changing course to acquire his own business, Feldco, a 30-year-old
home improvement venture that the Kellogg School alum has
halfway through a 12-year-long broadcasting career, Cook '98
enrolled in the Kellogg
Part-Time MBA Program. He knew he wanted to expand his
skills and professional options, but he had no idea just where
the education would take him — or how poetic the symbolism
would be once he found the company he purchased in 2000.
search required two years of due diligence, but today Cook
is CEO of the leading Chicagoland replacement window, siding
and door specialist. The value of looking at the world through
new glass is something the Kellogg entrepreneur discovered
someone would have said to me 10 years ago that I would end
up spending a big part of my career in the home improvement
industry, I would have said, 'What are you, crazy?'"
says Cook. "That couldn't have been farther from my world
his experiences in Professor Steven
Rogers' Entrepreneurial Finance course kindled
what had already been smoldering: a desire for his own business.
"I just didn't think it was going to be possible to do
at that point," says Cook, who remains active in the
Kellogg entrepreneurship program and who, along with his spouse
Dianne, is a Leadership Fellow in the Kellogg School Dean's
Council in recognition of their financial contributions.
Cook believed he would first hone his skills in the corporate
in Steve's class, though, really lit a fire in me. I thought,
'If not now, when?'" says Cook. "There's never going
to be a good time, and you can always find a reason not to
do something: kids, marriage, money, health. You name it.
Time is not on your side if you're an entrepreneur looking
to get into the game."
he began a two-year search to acquire a company. When his
broker brought Feldco to him, Cook wondered whether the venture
offered any "lights, camera, action" pizzazz, but
he kept an open mind and took a closer look. What he saw was
a "dusty, not rusty" company that intrigued him
and a deal that could work for everyone involved — including
founder Bernard Feld, looking to retire while safeguarding
his legacy and his employees' security.
seven years, Cook has shaken off any dust at Feldco to turn
the company into a thriving enterprise of 200 employees and
more than 150,000 customers served by four locations in Illinois.
advice to those looking to acquire a business? "Don't
rule out prospective ventures for ignorant reasons ... and be
prepared to leverage your passion to get others to believe
in your vision, your product or service and your leadership."
a business takes time, says Cook. "That's especially
something that bright, ambitious people, have got to understand."
help foster that understanding, Cook contributes to the Kellogg
entrepreneurship program. In addition to speaking frequently
at the school and serving on the board of the Levy Institute
for Entrepreneurial Practice, Cook and his company sponsor
the annual Kellogg
Alumni Entrepreneur Conference in May.
embodies all the qualities of an ideal Kellogg alum,"
says Steven Rogers, director of the Levy Institute. "He
is personally successful and always giving back to his alma
mater. He's a fantastic role model for our students and alums."