The award was presented to Cooke during the League’s Public Works Officers Institute held March 22–24 in San Diego, which is the largest gathering of municipal public works professionals in California.
The James L. Martin Award has been presented annually since 2003 to individuals who demonstrate outstanding contributions to the public works field, including fostering professional development, mentoring of others and actively participating in League activities such as department leadership and policy committee representation.
"It is an honor to acknowledge Keith Cooke’s dedication to the advancement of the public works profession, both for local public works agencies and in leadership roles in the League of California Cities and elsewhere," said Jay Spurgin, public works director with the city of Thousand Oaks and president of the League's Public Works Department. "His more than 35 years of involvement in numerous professional organizations demonstrates a passion for public works few could match."
Cooke’s career spans more than three decades, as he first began practicing civil engineering in 1984. He has been with the city of San Leandro since 1994 and became director of the city’s Engineering and Transportation Department in 2015. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in civil engineering from the University of California, Davis and a master’s degree in structural engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He also holds licensure as a Professional Engineer. He is a member of the American Public Works Association and represented San Leandro on the Alameda County Technical Advisory Committee of the Alameda County Transportation Commission from 2003 to 2015.
“I am humbled that my colleagues in the Public Works Officers Department of the League of California Cities have honored me as the 2017 James L. Martin Award recipient and I hope my service inspires others to volunteer their time and efforts to this worthy cause as we all work to make our cities a better place for all.”
Cooke’s contributions to the League of California Cities are extensive. He served as president of the League’s Public Works Officer Department from 2013 to 2014 and as a member of the League’s Transportation, Communication and Public Works Policy Committee since 2015. Previously from 2007 to 2015, he was a member of the League’s Public Safety Policy Committee. Since 2008, he has been part of the joint League of California Cities and County Engineers’ Local Streets and Roads Oversight Committee from 2008 to the present.
James L. Martin dedicated his career to the advancement of public works, serving as the League’s Public Works Department president in 1970-71, and national president of the American Public Works Association in 1983-84. Over his 35-year career he served the communities of Richmond, Berkeley, San Leandro and Fresno as Public Works Director. He passed away in 2008.