Nate Cooke Anniversary group BLOG

Rich Duncan Construction VP of Operations Nate Cooke (second from left) is joined by family, friends, and colleagues to celebrate his 20th anniversary with the company at Rudy’s Steakhouse.

From modest beginnings with a single truck and a few tools, Rich Duncan Construction has grown to become one of the Willamette Valley’s premier local construction companies since being founded in 2002. Its impressive commercial builds — from new popular Chick-fil-A locations to the rebuild of the Oregon School for the Deaf — can be seen and admired across the region. While its success and local recognition — including being named the Salem Chamber’s 2022 Business of the Year — can be credited to Owner Rich Duncan and the incredible team he’s built over the years, that team will often point to Vice President of Operations Nate Cooke as one of the main reasons the company has continued to thrive.

On March 27, 2024, the company showed its appreciation for Cooke’s service by celebrating his 20th anniversary with Rich Duncan Construction with a party at Rudy’s Steakhouse. A group of family, close friends, and colleagues came together to honor Cooke, who is widely considered to be the tireless backbone of the company and who consistently goes above and beyond to support others.

“He provides mentorship to other employees in the company and helps them through anything that they are going through,” said Katie Arnold, Project Engineer. “Whether it’s projects or family situations, he makes sure that he is there for them and that everyone feels a part of the Duncan family.”

To Arnold and General Superintendent Scott Jackson, the health of the company’s culture can also be traced to Duncan and Cooke’s ability to mold unique roles to fit an employee’s individual strengths, as well as the rare complementary dynamic they have developed together as business partners — which Jackson called a true “yin and yang.”

“I was making a comment to him [Cooke] today that I’ve never felt more secure in my life, compared to the past without him in it,” Duncan said. “What he does to back me up, and what I do to back him up is what we lean on.”

As Cooke took the celebratory moment to reflect on his 20 years with the company, he marveled at just how far it had come.

“Back then, we’re looking at other companies in town, like Dalke [Construction] and others, and thinking, ‘one day we will elevate to that,’” Cooke said. “Now, fast forward 20 years, and we’re doing jobs we never thought we would. I’m totally overwhelmed by where we’re at today. It’s just been really special to be on that journey.”

“When Rich approached me to become his partner, I was overwhelmed with joy, gratefulness, and a feeling of honor,” Cooke added about his proudest personal moment with the company. “It was just really special.”

Adding to the special occasion was a surprise 20th-anniversary gift from Duncan to Cooke: a brand-new Corvette in the company’s signature Duncan blue. Cooke had made an offhand comment to Duncan years earlier that had been his dream car, so he was shocked and humbled by the incredibly generous gesture in appreciation for his service to the company.

“You’re not going to find a more caring man than Rich Duncan,” Cooke said.

Join us in congratulating Nate Cooke on 20 years at Rich Duncan Construction!

Nate and Rich Corvette BLOG

Nate Cooke (left) and Rich Duncan (right) in front in Nate’s 20th anniversary gift – photo courtesy of Rich Duncan Construction’s Facebook page.


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