In some circles Brent Cobb is known as “The Thinker”. He is the analytical, thoughtful, and smart guy in the room. He has been a natural fit at World Class Industries.
Growing up, Brent was a good kid who never caused trouble. He was “one of those kids you hope you get,” proudly state Pat Cobb, his father and former President of World Class Industries. Brent graduated from Kennedy High School and received his BA in Economics from Saint John’s University in Collegeville, MN in 1998.
After graduating Brent took a position with a financial firm in Minnesota. After a few years, his interest was sparked to consider joining the family business back in Iowa. World Class Industries had started to evolve and focus more on assembly, kitting and supply chain activities, which peaked his interest. Brent joined the World Class team in 2003.
In 2005, at age 30, Brent took over as President of WCI at age 30 for his father upon his retirement. World Class Industries is a global leader in supply chain integration, with an emphasis in the agriculture industry. The succession of leadership from one family member to the next might not always be a seamless transition, especially when the new leader may be younger than some of his employees, but Brent was able to handle what might seem like a daunting task with grace. “He makes a lot of things look easy in a lot of cases,” said Patrick Patterson, Director of Operations at WCI.
Since then, Brent’s leadership has taken the company and built it up to be three times the size it was when he first came on as President. WCI has expanded from three to seven facilities, both domestically and internationally and grew the number of its important clientele as well. Annually, WCI is recognized by the Corridor Business Journal as one of the largest privately held businesses in the Corridor. When examining all the ways Brent has been able to use his analytical business sense to improve World Class Industries, it is clear he is building a legacy of his own.
He has professionalized and increased the capability of their assembly and kitting business. He has made a significant investment in an ERP system and worked on cost efficiency and creating value for customers. Brent has added custom fixtures that locate the part and implemented mistake prevention systems. He has added industrial computers that can detect the presence of a part, record the torque used on assembly, inline testing, and leak testing. All this has been accomplished by prioritizing the value and quality they can give to their customers.
An invaluable resource to Brent has been the Young Presidents Organization. YPO is comprised of young presidents that get together multiple times per year to provide an opportunity for problem solving with others in a safe and confidential environment. One member, Steve Hauschilt, President of Graham construction, notes that “Had I not met Brent, I would not be where I am today,” due to Brent’s ability to ask thoughtful questions and look for a long term strategy.
Not only is Brent a leader within World Class industries, but in the community as well. He holds or has held various positions, including being a member of the Board of Directors and of the Executive Committee for The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, the past Chapter Chair, Membership Chair, and Education Chair for the Iowa Chapter of the Young President’s Organization, and Board of Directors for Kids on Course.
What Brent enjoys most is time with his wife Dawn and their two daughters, Olivia and Lucy. He is the definition of a family man who cherishes his family and strives to make them a priority.