Get to know Cort Cooper, a Physical Oceanographer in the Chevron Energy Technology Company



JOB AT CHEVRON: Physical Oceanographer in the Chevron Energy Technology Company (ETC)


EDUCATION: Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from MIT; PhD in civil engineering from the University of Maine

Tell us about your job at Chevron.

As a metocean specialist (the physical environment near an offshore platform), I am responsible for understanding the wine, waves and current patterns in the oceans where Chevron wants to install and operate offshore facilities. Our work is a key step in ensuring that facilities will operate safely and survive severe storms.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

Unraveling the mysteries that Mother Nature throws at us. I used to spend a fair amount of time on the ocean — the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf of Thailand, Africa, the Arctic — which was great too.

What’s your favorite part about working at Chevron?

The people. The team is what first attracted me to Chevron and they are what has kept me here for 26 years.

You do a lot in the Richmond community. Tell us about your volunteer work.

I am on the advisory board of the Engineering Partnership Academy at Richmond High School and I am also on the West Contra Costa Unified School District’s advisory board. I started and continue to run the “eBike Competition.”

Tell us a little bit about the eBike Competition.

About five years ago, we were looking for ways to effectively mentor kids at Richmond High. We decided to create a competition where the students could plan, build and test their own electronic bicycles. The program uses a project-based method to reinforce basic science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills learned in their regular class. The competition started out with 20 students and now has grown to over 50. Students keep coming back year after year.

Why is supporting STEM education in local schools and important mission for Chevron?

We need to encourage diversity in engineering and science in general and increase diversity in our professional ranks. A quality STEM education is critical because it helps prepare students for well-paid careers in growing fields.

What advice would you give to students and residents in Richmond?

Feed your curiosity, try to learn as much as you can, and work hard.

What’s a misperception about Chevron that you want to clarify?

That we don’t care about the environment. That’s definitely not the case. We spend an enormous amount of resources on safety and the environment because we care.