INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- At the eighth annual Indiana Life Sciences Summit today, BioCrossroads recognized the late William A. Cook, the founder of Bloomington-based Cook Group and one of the world's great entrepreneurial success stories, with the August M. Watanabe Life Sciences Champion of the Year award. Cook Group President Kem Hawkins accepted the award as a tribute to his friend and colleague.
Now the largest privately held medical device company in the world, the company began humbly in the Cook's apartment in 1963, crafting catheters, needles and wire guides by hand and connecting directly with physicians for sales. A constant innovator and medical pioneer in the field of minimally invasive medicine, the company grew rapidly, and now has more than 15,000 products on the market in the areas of interventional radiology and peripheral intervention, urology, critical care medicine including antimicrobial-impregnated catheters, gastroenterology, general surgery and many others. With annual sales of approximately $2 billion, Cook Group now employs about 6,500 Hoosiers and total global employment exceeds 10,000.
"With uncommon vision, compassion, and persistence on the part of everyone who has ever worked here, Cook Group has grown into a generous and caring global company. An unrelenting commitment to preserving and protecting the future of our company has guaranteed that the organization will go on to serve our employees, our communities and our patients for many years to come," said Hawkins. "At Cook, the patient always comes first. From the start, this company has been a true pioneer and its innovations have had a dramatic effect that changed the course of medical treatment. We are pleased, and Bill would have been honored, to receive this recognition of our company's achievements named after one of his closest friends and colleagues, Gus Watanabe."
"Bill started from humble beginnings, and then went right o
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