Michael Cooke became the City of Turlock's Municipal Services Director in September. Cooke previously served as Turlock's Regulatory Affairs Manager.
Q. What inspired you to get into your career field?
A. "I wanted a career where I could make a difference in society. Local government provides the critical public health, public safety, and quality of life services that citizens care about the most."
Q. What led you to Turlock?
A. "When I was in college, I decided to study for a year in Germany as an exchange student. I met my future wife there, and she is from Hickman. When I graduated from college, we decided to get married and live in California. Of all of the cities in the region, Turlock really stands out as having the best quality of life."
Q. How does working in municipal services allow you to help others?
A. "Clean water is essential to our existence. The dedicated employees in the Municipal Services Department ensure that Turlock's residents and businesses always have ample, clean water on demand. We also make sure that wastewater is properly treated to protect human health and the environment. Everyone takes water and sewer services for granted, but a huge amount of effort goes into operating a public utility."
Q. What do you look forward to the most each day as you go to work?
A. "I am very blessed to work with a group of hardworking and dedicated professionals. I enjoy observing their accomplishments and figuring out how I can help them be successful in their work."
Q. What change would you like to see happen in Turlock in the next five years?
A. "Groundwater is a diminishing resource — we are using it up faster than it is being replenished. Turlock needs to secure additional water resources to protect our long-term future. People from all over the State are looking at our region to solve their water issues. We should use regional water supplies to address our region's needs first."
Q. What do you think Turlock should be most proud of?
A. "We have an outstanding water and wastewater systems that are critical components for Turlock's future economic development. These utilities are the result of wise decision-making and investments by council members and city staff over many years. Further, Turlock has incredibly dedicated and highly qualified professionals that operate and maintain our water and wastewater utilities."
Q. What do you like to do for fun?
A. "I coach youth soccer. I learn more from the kids than they'll ever learn from me!"
Q. What was the last thing you read?
A. "'The Constant Gardener" by John Le Carre. I love spy and detective novels, particularly English ones."
Q. What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
A. "I grew up in England, and have both U.S. and British passports."