Welcome to the Basement Living blog. This space will be dedicated to everything related to basement living. Before we get there, however, indulge me as I relate the creation story of Rockwell Window Wells.
You could say that Vaughn Cook, founder and owner of Rockwell Window Wells, was laying the foundation for his future business all throughout his education and career. He just didn’t know it yet! He received his mechanical engineering degree from BYU. Afterwards, he had some great work opportunities. He did composite tooling on the Premier I and Hawker Horizon business jets for Raytheon Aircraft in Wichita. He worked on the carbon fiber hood for GM’s Corvette C6 and he worked for McClaine Quality Composites in Salt Lake City.
The seed for Rockwell Window Wells was first planted in 1999 when Vaughn decided to act as general contractor for his own home. Vaughn felt that his degree qualified him to undertake this project. In the process of comparing price quotes for basement foundations, he observed that the window well designs presented to him were unattractive. Due to time, money and availability constraints however; he was obliged to accept an inferior design. But Vaughn didn’t let these events discourage him. Instead, the experience inspired him to explore the idea of creating his own original window wells with designs superior to the ones being offered to him. From previous work experience, Vaughn knew how to produce molds, but he did not have the capital to make a business with his designs. Furthermore, his attempts to convince manufacturers around the country to invest in a joint venture proved unsuccessful. By 2000, Vaughn put aside the idea of creating a business plan from the window well concept.
Then, in 2003, Vaughn changed his career path. He refused a job offer to build wind turbine blades and, with his wife’s support, started the Rockwell Window Wells company. The Cooks sold their home and moved into the basement of Vaughan’s parents’ home. They used the equity from the sale of their house to build their first mold (in his parents’ garage) and to feed themselves and their teenage children. Vaughn built the first production worthy part in the spring of 2004 and began presenting the product at local exhibitions. He finally obtained a business license for Rockwell Window Wells in June of 2004.
In June of 2014, this Springville, Utah based company will celebrate its ten year anniversary. Vaughn attributes his success to the loving support of his family. Reaching this important business landmark is also a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit. Lack of funding was a definite obstacle to Vaughn’s aspirations, but he overcame them. Perhaps an even more impressive display of his fortitude can be found in his ability to overcome the pull of other influences. More often than not, engineers are lured to “exciting” positions such as designing jets, motorcycles or wave runners. Instead of pursuing such avenues, Vaughn possessed the originality and insight to identify a gap in the thoroughly established window well industry and create a unique product to fill it. This spirit of innovation has allowed Vaughn to create a great product and build a successful business from it.
Feel free to browse the Rockwell site to learn more about the amazing products Vaughn and his team have created. Tune in next Thursday as I discuss the safety aspects that should be considered when choosing a window well.