Welcome To Cowen!

Our Foundation is Built on Personal Service.

The world has changed dramatically since our fourth-generation company began in 1896. But despite market ups and downs, technological innovations and leadership transitions, one important aspect remains the same – our unique approach to old-fashioned customer service.

Though the concept sounds simple, few companies adhere to this principal like we do, and it is key to the success of every project. Rolling up our sleeves to ensure each phase is completed correctly is ingrained in all our staff from the office to the job site.

At Cowen Construction, we’re never too busy to talk about your project and we don’t stop working until the job is done right.

Who Is Cowen

Seven Cowen brothers began working their way west on the construction of the Frisco railroad in the late 1800’s. They would stop in towns selected for a depot and use their stone mason skills to build the new structures. During these travels, one of the Cowen brothers, Nathan, met his future bride in Arkansas. He stopped traveling to court his new love and soon found out he could make more money building homes than he could railroads. They married and moved back to Indian Territory, now known as Shawnee, where he had earlier built a depot station. There began Cowen Construction in 1896.

The news of his construction skills traveled and Nathan soon began construction on the first town school and church. Nathan and his bride had three boys who were quickly involved in the rapidly growing family business. There is not a block in downtown Shawnee that doesn’t show the Cowen’s hand in construction – the City hospital, municipal auditorium, City Hall, Masonic Temple and Elks Building. Most of downtown Shawnee was constructed by Cowen, as well as many buildings on the local Oklahoma Baptist University campus. The Cowen family business was thriving.

The two oldest Cowen brothers took the helm when Nathan died in 1941. The youngest brother, Steve, was just old enough to begin attending college at Oklahoma A&M. During World War II, Cowen began building several large Army and Navy installations in Oklahoma and Arkansas. Among these was the $29,000,000 naval installation at Norman and Lexington, the alien internment camp at McAlester, The Newport Air Base and Glennan General Hospital in Okmulgee. During this peak, while America was struggling due to the war, the Cowen’s were running a $1,000,000 per week business.

Our team provides the structure.

Great people are behind every Cowen project. Our strong relationships are born out of a team concept that has directed our company from the beginning. We assemble the right group of experts for each unique project and cross-train our staff so that everyone in management has a working knowledge of our projects. This level of hands-on attention allows us to react quickly to job-specific issues and maintain a personal level of communication with our clients. When Cowen takes on a project, our staff has it surrounded.

The Professional Construction Management and Administrative staff at Cowen holds the following degrees and certifications.

Masters of Industrial Management
Bachelors of Business Management
Bachelors of Science Construction Management
Bachelor of Engineering
Bachelor of Accounting
Certified Public Accounting
Associate of Drafting and Design
Certified Professional Constructor
Certified Construction Manager
Certified Facilities Manager
Certified Design Building
Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Green Advantage Certified LEED
American Society of HealthCare Constructors, Certified Senior Professional
Certified Society Professional Human Resource Management
Department of Labor Certified Instructor of Construction Safety Standards
Department of Labor Certified Instructor of Industrial Safety Standards

“We surpass your expectations.”

At Cowen, we believe that construction is about more than brick and mortar- it‘s about relationships. We’re proud of the fact that our clients routinely refer us business. Our goal is to surpass your expectations, each and every time. It’s our passion, and it guides everything we do. We’re here to champion respect for our trade and the art of fine craftsmanship.

While our values are timeless, we readily embrace new technologies- and new ways to ensure that our customer’s are getting the best our industry has to offer.

Cowen Construction can take your project through every stage, from land acquisition and planning to construction. And we ensure the utmost in quality and cost control along each step of the way. Our services and capabilities include:


This phase includes site analysis, zoning, budget development, materials and systems studies. Our knowledge is critical at this point to obtain lower costs and streamline the construction process.

Construction Management

The process of a project can be overwhelming, which is why our construction management services are key to help manage the planning, design, construction and day-to-day operations of the project.

Program & Project Management

We excel at complicated projects, and can provide our proven process for managing simultaneous projects to ensure everything stays on track. Let Cowen handle daily administration, financial responsibilities, logistics and overall project coordination.


Cowen Construction has a team of individuals that not only design the right project for our clients, but build it as well. With your full input and knowledge, we’ll create a complete design and budget from conception to completion.

General Contracting

Cowen reviews all construction documents and obtains pricing from the many subcontractors and suppliers that will be needed. By bidding each area separately, the lowest price is secured and passed along to the owner.

We are Cowen, and our mission is to raise the bar on what a true builder can be.

Our Skills


Meet Our Leadership

John Cowen
John CowenPresident
John Cowen, age 56, was born in Bordeaux, France. After receiving his education in Construction Management from Oklahoma State University, he began working full time at the family company, Cowen Construction. He currently serves as the Owner and President of Cowen Construction – a business started by his grandfather in 1896. He and his wife, Lori, reside in Tulsa and have three children: Carly, 18; Paige 16; and Johnathan, 14.

John has been a member of The Oaks Country Club for 15 years. Some of his other involvements include serving as President of the Oklahoma Chapter of AGC and a National Director, the Board of Directors for Tulsa YMCA, Tulsa Area United Way, City of Tulsa Building Code Appeals Board, NatureWorks, the Tulsa Boys Home and a Trustee of the Oklahoma Construction Advancement Foundation. Presently John is serving as Monuments Chairman for NatureWorks, a Tulsa non-profit that has developed and given to the City of Tulsa (21) larger than life pieces of original bronze art located in the City’s parks and public spaces. Cowen Construction and John Cowen were also awarded the Business of the Year from the Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Some of John’s achievements include being awarded Builder of the Year by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America and being inducted in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Building. His projects have won the Build Oklahoma Award for many consecutive years. This award is given to projects representing the “Best of the Best” for Oklahoma.

In his spare time, John enjoys golfing, boating and traveling.

Link Cowen
Link CowenVice President
Link has oversight and responsibility of all construction related activities. He is a graduate of the Oklahoma State University’s College of Business and has over 15 years of experience in project management, estimating and preconstruction services. Link was born in Shawnee, OK; which is the city in which his great grandfather started Cowen Construction in 1896. He and his Wife Heather enjoy spending time with their son Link, who is the fifth Cowen in the direct lineage of his great, great grandfather to carry the family first name of Link.

Link is proud to be associated with Leadership Tulsa, he has been the Chairman of the Construction Leadership Council and is a recipient of the Build Oklahoma Award for leading the way on a 35 million dollar LEED Gold medical facility. He enjoys golfing, going to the lake, and spending time with his family.

In his role with the company, Link believes it is most important to keep the firm focused on building lasting relationships that result from providing outstanding service based on a foundation of trust, accurate information, quality construction, open communication and an appropriate amount of creativity throughout the building process.

David Carder
David CarderVice President/ Chief Financial Officer
David Carder has been Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Cowen Construction since 1998. David Carder was raised in Norman, Oklahoma. He graduated Suma Cum as the outstanding graduate from the School of Business from the University of Oklahoma in Norman, and is all SOONER.

David is a former partner with KPMG Accounting firm and has served as the CFO of the Cowen Construction Company for 16 years. David is a past president of the University of Oklahoma Alumni Association and is an active member of Financial Executives International. David has been on the Board of Trustees of the Oklahoma Chapter of the National MS Society twice, once in the late 80’s and then joined the board again in 2001. He has had several tours of duty as Treasurer for the organization and is the immediate past Chairman of the Board. He is currently serving on the Finance Committee.

He is married to Debbie Carder and their favorite hobbies are cooking, collecting wine and SOONER Football.

Our Clients