A lot can change over the course of a few years. Just ask Jud Cook.
For nearly three decades, he served as an US Army Engineer officer ending his career as the head of engineering for U.S. Central Command, a theater-level Unified Combatant Command of the U.S. Department of Defense. The job had him traveling throughout the Middle East, where he was charged with overseeing construction on two continents. But by 2013, Cook was looking for something different—he was ready to put his busy, always-on-the-go lifestyle behind him. Instead, he was ready to finally plant his roots.
But not everything changed when Cook decided to make this complete life turnaround—then and now, Cook was, and will always be, passionate about cars. By the time he had officially retired from the military, Cook had discovered Christian Brothers Automotive (after attending a Discovery day in Houston). And within a matter of months, Cook had made the official transition from an Army colonel to a first-time business owner. In September 2013, his first Christian Brothers location opened in Riverview, Florida.
“Transitioning from being the chief engineer for U.S. Central Command to owning a Christian Brothers Automotive location sounds like a complete 360—but it certainly didn’t feel like it. The training, support and group of peer franchisees in their system really made it easier for me to finally transition into the next stage of my life,” Cook said. “For years, Jenny, my wife, and I moved all over the world and she, like many military spouses, carried the burden of raising our four children through my absences. Christian Brothers gave me an opportunity to truly build something special for my family and the community.”
As Cook’s business took off, he quickly found that there were plenty of parallels between his new career and his time spent in the military. Christian Brothers’ mission, core values and operating principles have always been focused on providing exceptional service—and that was the exact guiding principle that led him through the military for 29 years.
“Service has always been part of my life and career. It is my experience that successful organizations are ones that serve a larger purpose and can give back to the community,” Cook said. “I quickly found that Christian Brothers strives to treat their customers and employees like we want to be treated. They set a high standard for potential franchisees, and it’s comforting to know that fellow business owners in the system are well qualified and hold service in high regard.”
Cook believes that picking a career within an industry that he truly enjoys has also helped make his new business venture a resounding success. He has plans to grow his location so that it ranks as one of the top-rated units among all Christian Brothers locations in customer satisfaction and sales.
“The best thing you can do is to pick an industry that you are passionate about. I found what I was looking for in Christian Brothers. It’s an economically advantageous business model, and on top of that, their franchisees, employees and clients are always put first. Everything about my decision to join Christian Brothers was meant to be. I’ve become a part of their family,” Cook said. To learn more about development opportunities with Christian Brothers Automotive, click here.