Jan 262011

By Naomi Hatch —

Terry Cooper, Snowflake’s new Public Works superintendent, was welcomed to town at the Jan. 11 council meeting by Town Manager Paul Watson.

“He has some significant experience in the streets and roads arena, and that’s one of the things we are particularly excited and interested in,” said Watson, adding with a laugh, “We know he’ll help us fix roads without any money.”

“I want to be here and be a part of the community,” said Cooper in an interview on Jan. 19.

Cooper was born and raised in Iowa. His dad was in the construction business, so he spent his high school freshman and sophomore summers working on the highways in Nebraska with him. He got a job locally with the cable company his junior and senior years, splitting his day between work and school.

Cooper was offered a job in Columbus, Ohio, where he worked as head of security keeping apartment residents from stealing cable service. When that project ended he took a job in Denver, Colo., for the cable company as supervisor of service technicians.

Approximately 25 years ago he moved to Phoenix to help his brother ,who had a construction company.

Sixteen years ago Cooper moved to the White Mountains, where he worked in the construction field, eventually taking an entry level labor public works job for the City of Show Low. In 2½ years he had worked his way up to road superintendent, thanks to his asphalt and concrete experience.

Cooper has experience in water mains, paving and, as he said, “A little bit of everything, which was right up my alley.” He saw the opportunity in Snowflake and got really excited about it.

“It’s a new venture for me” said Cooper. “A lot of my experience is hands on.” Even though he is a supervisor, he plans to be hands on, noting, “I enjoy working in the trenches.”

“It’s going to take me some time to get familiar with the system,” said Cooper. “I’m fortunate to have those with Curtis (Winder, water) and Gary’s (Leech, wastewater treatment) expertise. Just having those guys there with knowledge of water and wastewater makes my transition easier. I’m looking forward to picking their brains.

“I’m really excited to be here and very, very fortunate,” said Cooper. “We’ve got some work to do, I can see that, but there is nothing wrong with that, you always have work to do.”

Rob Emmett, who has been town engineer, will take on the responsibilities of Public Works director, and Cooper’s responsibilities will be water, sewer and roads.

“I’m excited, really looking forward to working with the guys and trying to provide the best service we can for the citizens of Snowflake,” said Cooper.