Senior Technology Advisor, Polar Knowledge Canada/Project Officer Cold Climate Innovation
With a background as an engineer specializing in electrical and avionics systems, and with extensive project management experience in multi-million dollar defence projects, Rob Cooke is an alternative and renewable energy technology advisor with Polar Knowledge Canada and a project officer for Yukon College Cold Climate Innovation.
Having spent 23 years as an aircraft technician and engineering officer with the UK Royal Navy, as a project management professional and having gained a First Class Honours Degree and a Master of Arts in Humanities with a specialization in the Classics, Rob retired from the military in 2009 to pursue a life in Canada.
Rob joined the Yukon College team in 2013 as the Cold Climate Innovation project officer working on a broad range of clean energy, housing and food security projects. In 2015 he was seconded to the new federal government agency, Polar Knowledge Canada, to work on the development of the Alternative and Renewable Energy priority. Throughout that time he represented POLAR at conferences across Canada and the Arctic such as the Arctic Energy Summit, Alaska Rural Energy Summit and the PNWER Arctic Caucus, often delivering key note speeches on the need for clean energy and capacity building in the north. Furthermore he advised senior management on clean energy technologies and worked with communities across the north to support clean energy projects; he was also heavily involved in developing the requirements for the POLAR Infrastructure Priority based around housing and waste treatment in the north. Through this time he also worked with the Arctic Council Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG), Gwitch’in Council International (GCI), Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), the US State Department and Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) to develop the SDWG led Arctic Remote Energy Network Academy (ARENA), a capacity building course aimed at growing remote community clean energy champions predominantly from the eight Arctic Council member states.
Rob has fallen in love with and travelled throughout the north, mostly by dog team. He lives with his wife Louise in a small off-grid cabin just outside Whitehorse in Canada’s Yukon Territory. They share their life with 56 dogs and a quick thinking cat. In his spare time Rob prepares for and takes part in long distance sled dog racing and has completed the Yukon Quest 1000 mile sled dog race four times and Iditarod twice: to date he is the only person to finish both thousand mile races in the same year whilst running pure breed Siberian Huskies.