Mark Cook, Blentech Assistant Shop Superintendent –
1985 to today
What was your title when you first started?
I started as a welder at Custom Stainless first in 1985. (Many Custom Stainless employees went on to join Blentech when it started in 1986.) I was working for a dairy equipment company but wanted to take a job closer to home. Now, I’ve worked here for 32 years.
What did you do in that role?
I learned to weld when I was 12 year old. My father was a welding instructor at Hunting Beach High School. He also taught adult classes in the summers and when there was space in his classes, I would fill it. To learn about how the factory worked, much like many new employees, I started in parts. You learn where all the parts fit into the bigger machines. Then you move to fabrication and have a good understanding of how it’s all built. Back then, I shared a work area with Lauren Frederickson. He was an excellent craftsman. Both my father and Lauren were big influences when it came to craftsmanship.
I then became Assistant Supervisor around 1989. I was good with people and taught newcomers to have pride in their craftsmanship.
Today I serve the role as a mentor, educator and guide to our workers to have excellence in their work. The schools no longer teach industrial arts which I think is a big mistake. It’s harder to find skilled workers who know their stuff when they come in. Today, new welders need lots of mentoring and molding to bring them up to the level of standards Blentech requires.
What type of machines were made back when you first started?
When I started, we made a lot of tumblers and VersaTherms. Now we do a lot of systems.
Most memorable project?
The first fusion cookers (Infinity Cooker) needed to be welded inside from both ends or sides and therefore, when they were first designed, the length was based on the length of my arm. Our engineer, John Lennox, came out and measured the length of my arm and based the first fusion cookers on the size of my arm! He couldn’t make it longer or I couldn’t weld it! That length in our designs is still used today.
What advice would you give now to your year one self.
I would tell my first year self to not give up on the creative part of your job. It’s the part I enjoy the most. Being creative each day. I really enjoy what I do here at Blentech. Our jobs are not cookie cutter. I never do the same thing each day. It’s a challenge every week to create equipment that’s unique for each customer and do so with a high level of craftsmanship. When I’m finished with the job in my area, I go to final assembly and make sure when they put the machine together it all works exactly how it should.
What do you like to do when you’re not at Blentech?
I’m very much into fitness. My wife and I both like being active and working out. I am now a personal trainer and work with others to become fit. I’m working on getting certifications in weight loss and in behavior modification. It’s all connected.
What is something surprising that your coworkers might be surprised to learn about you?
When I served in the army, I served in the infantry and was on a pistol team. My service time took me to Kansas, Korea and Washington State.
What makes Blentech products different?
Quality. Our level of craftsmanship is way ahead of our competitors.
Thank you Mark, for your lifetime contributions to our Blentech team.
Mark is one of the many Blentech employees who personify excellence by design. To find out more about Blentech, listen to our Founder, Darrell Horn, speak about how Blentech has been designing equipment for 30 years that is of unparalleled quality and craftsmanship in our video here .