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Glenn Cooke '15

From left: Tyler Cooke ‘13, Hallie Cooke, Glenn Cooke ‘15, and Sutton Cooke attend a Virginia Tech football game at Liberty University.
From left: Tyler Cooke ‘13, Hallie Cooke, Glenn Cooke ‘15, and Sutton Cooke attend a Virginia Tech football game at Liberty University. Photo courtesy of Glenn Cooke.

Glenn Cooke

Virginia Tech Class of ‘15
Project Manager and Geotechnical Engineer at Hurt & Proffitt Inc.

I currently work as a project manager and geotechnical engineer for Hurt & Proffitt Inc., a civil engineering firm based out of Lynchburg, Virginia. As a geotechnical engineer, I have the pleasure of positively impacting society every day by ensuring that critical infrastructure projects are constructed on a firm foundation. This includes roads, bridges, utilities, schools, medical facilities, and pretty much everything else that people interact with within the built environment. I ensure structural stability by working with the most abundant building material on Earth — soil!  

During my free time, I enjoy spending time with my wife, who is also a Virginia Tech alum, and our two children (hopefully future Hokies!).

How did a scholarship, internship, or undergraduate research opportunity impact your time in the college? 
Approaching my final semesters, student aid funds were running short. Kara Lattimer, who now serves as director of undergraduate advising and student support for civil and environmental engineering, informed me of a scholarship opportunity — the Barton S. Mitchell Memorial Asphalt Industry Scholarship. I applied and was thrilled to learn I had been awarded the scholarship. The money reduced what I had to borrow to pay for my final semester at Virginia Tech, which had a great impact on me.

Additionally, I worked for the Department of Conservation and Recreation as a dam safety engineering intern. During this internship the summer before my final semester, I earned money to cover housing, as well as other related costs, and gained valuable industry-related experience. Throughout the summer, I visited nearly 100 dams across the state of Virginia, performing routine inspections to assess the overall condition of dams, collecting survey measurements to help determine regulatory status, and educating dam owners about the regulatory process and how to properly maintain their dam.

What was a project that you worked on while at Virginia Tech that you learned the most from? 
I learned a lot from the projects I worked on at Virginia Tech. 

Some of my favorites were: 

  • A topographic survey of the Duck Pond in Associate Professor of Practice Kevin Young’s measurements class. This was a two-part assignment that gave me a strong appreciation for how surveying was done in the past compared to today.
  • A small-scale retaining wall in my geotechnical laboratory class. The lessons I learned from this project are ones I share to this day when I explain the mechanics of how a geogrid-reinforced retaining wall works. 
  • An assignment from Paolo Scardina to determine the flow rate of Stroubles Creek. Scardina, an assistant professor of practice, taught us that you don’t always need high-tech equipment to collect good data. He taught us how a few common household items could be used to estimate the flow rate of the creek instead. 

These hands-on projects allowed me to experience how lessons in the classroom apply to real-world problems.   

Why is access and affordability at Virginia Tech important to you? 
Growing up in a small, coal mining community in Southwest Virginia, attending Virginia Tech seemed out of reach. I worked in the coal industry for nearly 10 years after graduating high school before enrolling at my local community college. I was excited to see that good grades pay off and that I could transfer to Virginia Tech. Having access to Virginia Tech was life-changing for me. Not only did I receive a high-quality education from a top-notch institution, but I also met my wife on campus!

How did Virginia Tech Engineering equip you for the “real world”? 
The Virginia Tech civil and environmental engineering faculty and staff equipped me to be a lifelong learner by fostering a challenging, yet supportive, environment.

The department:

  • Emphasized the importance of ethics, professionalism, and the immense responsibility of being a professional engineer in the communities we serve 
  • Took learning beyond the classroom by using real-world examples to explain fundamental principles

What student groups and/or programs helped you most during your time at Virginia Tech? 
I served as the transfer student ambassador for the Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. This experience helped guide my journey and allowed me to serve others.

My fondest memory from my time in Virginia Tech Engineering is... 
While it didn’t seem like it at the time, my fondest memories are of working late into the night finishing projects, doing homework, and preparing for exams with my friends and classmates.


A.S., Engineering, Southwest Virginia Community College, 2013
B.S., Civil Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2015