At a Glance
Custom-home building and concrete work
To many contractors, the laying of foundation is a basic step, one to finish quickly to get to a structure’s more engaging design elements, but Bob Cook knows better. The custom-home builder got his start at 14, in the concrete-foundation business, and then he opened a concrete-contracting firm of his own almost as soon as he turned 18. Professionally, he practically lived in basements.
His talents in this field helped him rise to the top of the Wichita, Kansas, market, and soon after he developed a yearning to try something new. “Five years after I started my concrete business, I built my first home for sale, and in the mid-’90s my homebuilding business accelerated,” he says. The contractor now owns and operates Wichita-based Bob Cook Homes, LLC, a company renowned for its personal customer service and fine craftsmanship. With his son Ben as his partner, Cook works on residences in developments across the city, creating homes with predictably strong foundations for empty nesters and new families alike.
One of the firm’s current projects is in the Woods in Auburn Hills, a West Wichita development. “The area is unique,” Cook says. “Its lots back up to trees and water, so residents have their privacy as well as lots of space. This is my fourth model home in the area.” The model home is a 2,100-square-foot, two-bedroom ranch home featuring beautiful masonry and landscaping work and stamp concrete floors in the basement. Cook started working on the model home in January 2012 and completed it just four months later, and it was then shown in the development’s Parade of Homes.
“I built this home for the empty-nester family: the couple that wants to have room for their children to come home and visit, but their lifestyle just suits the two of them,” Cook says. “They have a lot of room and luxury features to enjoy.”
Although he has found success as a homebuilder, Cook still operates his concrete business, too, but he now mostly works behind the scenes. “The concrete business is really something for a young man,” he says. “It’s very hard physical work, and while I have never been afraid of work, I knew that as I got older, I was going to have to make a living doing something other than concrete.”
Cook credits his education in the concrete field with his success in general construction. “When I was just doing concrete, all the jobs I worked on were for other contractors,” he says. “I paid attention to detail and learned how they were doing things. I took in what I did and didn’t like about the homes they were building. When I set out to do my own general-contracting business, I already had an idea of what subcontractors and suppliers I wanted to use; I knew where the best results were coming from.”
This on-site training helped Cook learn how to build entire homes, but in the end it’s still his concrete expertise that he uses first and foremost to ensure each of his homes can withstand the test of time. “As far as I’m concerned, you need to start with a good structure, and the most important thing about your home is the foundation,” he says. “If you don’t have a good foundation, you don’t have a good home. ABQ