Get to Know Dave Cook

Aspect is excited to welcome Principal Geologist Dave Cook, a seasoned environmental leader with focused expertise in urban brownfields redevelopment, site acquisition, remedial cost estimation, cleanup, and environmental strategy. Here are five questions we asked to get to know him better. 

  1. Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here?   I grew up in Wooster, Ohio.  Wooster is a small 20,000-person town (near Akron) between the urban diversity of Cleveland and very rural Amish farming country.  Growing up I had the benefit of a tight, small-town community, playing soccer against eastern European clubs in Cleveland, or experiencing Amish horse and buggies rolling through our town.  I went to undergrad at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, received a degree in geology and played collegiate soccer.  I then went to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona where I received a M.S. in geology.  Growing up I had visited about 40 States.  The only states I hadn’t been too after grad school were the Pacific NW, so I had to come.  Obviously, I couldn’t (and can’t) leave.   
  2. What inspired you to pursue geology? What made you curious about it?  Three things:  My dad sold trucks to oil field services and drilling companies that happened to make Wooster a home base for Appalachian basin oil exploration/development.  We had a family friend who was a geology professor at the local college (The College of Wooster).  And my dad and I did a Grand Canyon raft trip after my freshman year in college.  That sealed the deal (it also got me to NAU for grad school where I ended up completing my masters research in the Canyon; studying the 800-milion-year-old Walcott Member of the Chuar Group – about 60 miles down-river from Lee’s Ferry).
  3.  What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated?  Meeting and solving client problems in innovative/creative ways.  Applying new solutions and technologies to old problems.  I believe that an earth scientist has much to offer the world.  We are unique, and although we’ve always been needed, today, with climate change and extreme “earth events” society needs us to be confident, direct, factual and simple in how we describe complex three dimensional systems.
  4. What do you like to do when you aren’t working?  Playing pickup soccer, following the Seattle Sounders, hiking, running, bike riding, traveling, volunteering with Engineers Without Borders-USA (  EWB-USA is a 15,000-person volunteer organization composed on engineers, scientists, health professionals, and educators.  I’ve served in many roles in the organization from Seattle Professional Chapter President, to UW-EWB professional mentor for water projects in Bolivia, to Board of Directors, to 2016 national Board President.  It’s an honor to serve with my EWB-USA colleagues.  Come see me if you are interested in getting involved.
  5. What five people would be your dream dinner party guests?
  • Elon Musk – for his innovative, break the norm – won’t-take-no entrepreneurial attitude
  • John Wesley Powell – my geology hero.  Explorer/discoverer of the Colorado River system and the Grand Canyon (he did this research with one arm – a civil war musket ball took one of his arms).
  • Richard Branson – Another entrepreneur with vision, branding and marketing chops; plus he seems to have a good heart and soul.
  • Bonnie Dunbar – Space shuttle astronaut.  I got to meet and work with her when she was the Executive Director of the Museum of Flight.  Amazing scientist/engineer who grew up on a ranch in Eastern Washington.  She’s got the small town roots with a whole-earth perspective.
  • Barack Obama – I campaigned for him in Ohio in 2008.  He’s cool under pressure, smart, sophisticated, and takes a long view of success.