Corey Cook spent the past 13 years building new boats instead of just repairing them, a trend he hopes will continue
By Hilary Reeves
As Foss Maritime prepares to launch the Nicole Foss – the third of three state-of-the-art Arctic Class tugs – from its Rainier, Oregon shipyard later this year, foreman Corey Cook said the gradual transition from repair work to building new boats has been an exciting one for his crew.
“Rainier was basically a repair yard until 2003,” said Cook, General Yard Assistant Foreman at Rainier Shipyard. “That’s when things took off. Foss started building new boats, and the work has been pretty steady since.”
The three tugs built at Rainier feature hulls designed specifically for polar waters, reinforced to maneuver in ice. A series of time-lapse videos recently released by the company shows construction between April and January. The first shows the hull assembly; construction, flip, and installation of the bow and stern modules; the installation of one of two main engines; the superstructure install; and the wheelhouse construction.
A second video shows construction through the transportation of the hull to Vancouver, Washington to have a tow winch installed before returning to Rainier for her wheelhouse installation.
Cook grew up in Rainier, working on cars with his father.
“At one point, I thought I should be a dentist, but I decided to go to work right out of high school,” he said.
After making the decision not to pursue higher education, Cook jumped at an opportunity to join Foss.
“I was always interested in welding and fabricating, and I thought Foss was a great company to get some on-the-job training,” he said. “I started as a laborer and moved up from there.”
Building 10 Dolphin Class boats, barges, pilot boats, and now the completion of the third Arctic Class tug proved a tremendous learning experience.
“I really like the variety of what we do,” said Cook. “The greatest challenge has been to stay competitive and offer a superior product while working on many different projects simultaneously, no matter the obstacles. Usually, my day involves managing people in the yard, helping them work efficiently and effectively on whatever is needed to meet our schedule, making sure they have the proper information and material before they need it.”
Cook said not pursuing education after high school isn’t exactly a regret, but if he could go back, he would have taken more classes to better prepare him for the position he’s in now: a manager of people after 18 years with the company. He lives in Rainier with his wife and two children, and said his free time is spent pursuing their love of sports.
“My kids are involved in sports almost year-round,” he laughed. “We also have some goats and chickens on a small farm, and the kids do 4-H. I used to stock-car race at the local dirt track, and I was track champion in the Sportsman Division in 2005, but I’ve quit that because I just don’t have the time.
“I’m probably most proud that I’ve been with Foss for more than 18 years, and my attendance record speaks for itself,” he concluded. “I hope we continue to build new construction at the Rainier Yard. I don’t want to be or do anything else.”