I recently sat down with Daniel Cook, & JP from Allied Cook Construction Management to discuss some of his favorite things about Maine, and his experience with running a family owned business in this great (and challenging) state. The conversation was easy and felt like we had been buddies for years. Goodwin Motor Group (parent company of Land Rover Scarborough) recently hired Allied Cook to build a new Jaguar - Land Rover building to better serve our customers in the Southern Maine region.

 What attracts Allied Cook to projects with the Goodwin Motor Group or car dealerships in general?

Specifically, Goodwin Motor Group falls right into our wheelhouse of repeat customers and we don't bid on any projects, we go out and get hired, work with the customer to develop the budgets and get the designers to get the projects where they need to be so they can go.

So, when you meet somebody like the Goodwin's, who...seem to have a similar culture to us, it's easy and nice to go out there and do the work.

JP: It's a really great relationship there. A lot of give and take. And, they are car dealers, so they like to negotiate.

Dan: There is also a lot of mutual respect and trust, I think that's really what attracts us to businesses like this. Family businesses. And car dealerships, just because we've done so many of them, it's become sort of a niche for us.

JP: And you want to do what you know.

Dan: It's not the only thing we do, we do a lot of higher education, medical offices, hotels, office buildings and stuff. But, again, those customers are also based on relationships and trust built up over the years. If we find a new project, like if we just met the Goodwins, that would be our goal. To develop a culture with these people for future business.

What is your favorite local restaurant, and your favorite thing to get there?

Dan: I would have to say Sebago Brewing Company and right now, my favorite meal seems to be the Tuscan Steak Salad. It seems to switch now, over the years, as to what my favorite dish is, but that's what I'm going for lately.

You go to the Scarborough location then?

Dan: Scarborough, and I live in Gorham so we go to the Gorham location a lot.

What would you consider to be Maine's best road to drive when you are "just taking a ride"?

Dan: That's difficult. We go skiing a lot so, I don't know if it's the best drive, but I really enjoy the travel through it is Rt.e 27. Seems to go through a lot of different towns and terrain. Maybe the road is not the best condition through the whole thing, but it's enjoyable between Augusta when you get up into the Stratton, Eustis area and all the different curves and straight-a-ways, towns that you go through.

Are you a car or truck guy?

Dan: I always own trucks. I appreciate cars they just not practical for me, so it never works out. I want a car…it just doesn't make sense for me.

If you hadn't gotten into construction, is there another field you think you would be a great fit in?

Dan: The only other thing I think about now would be the restaurant, brewpub industry now. I like to cook, I'm not great at it, but I think I could do a really good job if I just jumped into it. It seems like it would be fun. I'm sure it's not without its problems, but from afar, just thinking about it, it seems fun.

Or a captain's license...and charter boats around. Have you heard about these people that bring the wealthiest people's boats around the world? And they aren't on it? Sounds pretty nice to me.

JP: I would probably just want to brew beer all the time. Or distill whiskey. Do the whole "micro-brew thing."

Do you have a favorite local Bar or bartender?

Dan: We do enjoy some specials at Sebago Brewing Company in Scarborough from time to time, so we have gotten to know the bartenders over there., Kim, June, and Rachael, those folks. It's a nice easy place to go, and there's no nonsense. We can stay there for awhile and it doesn't get out of hand, we can grab a couple pints and…

JP:  Its like Cheers, everybody knows your name.

What makes Maine a great place to live and do business in?

Dan: I guess that's two separate things. The doing business in Maine seems like there's still some trust and value placed on doing business together here. You hear about other parts of the Country or the world and how difficult it can be and ya know, Maine's a small town so you can get the help you need, people need to be a little more upfront and honest because it doesn't take very long to be exposed if you're not. I like that you can trust most people.

The living here, I think, from the little bit of traveling I've have have the ocean, you have inland and the mountains. You just have this wide variety of terrain, from the coast to Mount Katahdin, and just, all of the things you can do here. Ya know, you go to the Midwest or other locations and it seems like it's very limited and very flat. And raising your family in know you can be pretty comfortable and safe. You don't feel like everybody's out to get everybody. It's a friendly place to live.

This is Allied Cook's 60th year in business. Dan's Grandfather started the Company in 1958. He borrowed 10,000 dollars from his wife. Her Grandfather had bought her AT&T stock when she was a baby. She was born in 1913. Using those funds He started the business. When the eldest Cook passed away in '77 Dan's father took over at the young age of 26. Daniel and his brother were raised in the business and took the reigns over the last 20 years. Dan is happy to have Allied Cook present core family values, ethics, and the desire to treat people right and do good business. They are very proud of the last 60 years, the company has been in business and look forward to the next 60+.