Women's History Month: Shirley Cook

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In celebration of Women’s History Month, CSI recognizes the women who strengthen our workforce at every level of operation, all the way back to our founding. Since 1977, our co-founder Shirley Cook has watched CSI grow into the company it is today. 

When Jim would travel long distances to connect with potential customers, Shirley would manage bookkeeping and clerical work for the office when it was still in the basement of their Jefferson City home - all the while raising two teenagers at home while now-CEO Mark Cook was off at college.

A talented seamstress, Shirley would also sew clothing for herself and her children as they grew. In 1984 when CSI officially made the move to headquarter in Springfield, Missouri, it was Shirley who secured financing for their family home, where the Cooks lived until 1997; “Shirley’s Sewing” now stands as a prominent office-space and meeting place for our employees and visiting customers to our Springfield location. 

When Jim Cook passed in August of 2014, Shirley and her family created the Jim and Shirley Cook Scholarship to support students who matched Jim’s values in helping customers succeed through careers in mechanical engineering, computer numerical control programming, welding, or machine tool technology; careers which help to strengthen CSI’s ability to keep finishing jobs of the utmost quality.

Now 86, Shirley is happily retired and loves exercising, participating in trivia games, and attending Sunday church service, and she continues to support her family at CSI and beyond.

Shirley and Jim’s trust in God to provide allowed CSI to grow and flourish into what it is today, where that same faith sustains our path into the future.

We are so grateful for Shirley’s unending support of CSI: the woman who helped start it all!


Central States Industrial Equipment (CSI) is a leader in distribution of hygienic pipe, valves, fittings, pumps, heat exchangers, and MRO supplies for hygienic industrial processors, with four distribution facilities across the U.S. CSI also provides detail design and execution for hygienic process systems in the food, dairy, beverage, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and personal care industries. Specializing in process piping, system start-ups, and cleaning systems, CSI leverages technology, intellectual property, and industry expertise to deliver solutions to processing problems. More information can be found at www.csidesigns.com.