26. Indiana : Carl Cook
he son of William (“Bill”) and Gayle Cook, Carl Cook took over the reins of the Cook Group upon his father’s death in 2011. The medical device company, which specializes in stents and catheters that contain pre-injected antibiotics, has revenues estimated at $2 billion. Much of what is known about the private family comes from Bob Hammel’s 2008 biography, “Bill Cook Story.” According to the book, Cook’s parents slowly transferred their fortune to their son to ensure the family’s control of the business without burdening the company with high taxes.
After earning an MBA from the University of Iowa, Cook spent a year setting up the company’s computers in France and Germany before stints at the Cook Group’s Leechburg, PA pacemaker company and Winston-Salem plant. Though never pressured to go into the family business, Cook remains dedicated to keeping the Cook Group privately-owned. In Hammel’s book, the company heir remarked, “I could take all this money and run, but that would leave everybody else in the company with the very strong possibility that they wouldn’t have a job.” He took part in his parents’ $500 million restoration of two Indiana locations, the luxury French Lick Resort and West Baden Springs Hotel, from 1996 to 2007. The Cooks added a casino and a Pete Dye-designed PGA golf course, host of the 2015 PGA Senior Championship.