Broken Arrow’s Mike Cooper Continues a Family Tradition that Began in the 1700s

Contributing Editor

Editor’s Note: Greater Tulsa Personalities is a monthly feature in GTR Newspapers that focuses on interesting people making important contributions in the Greater Tulsa region.
Anybody seeking to write a comprehensive biography of Broken Arrow resident Michael G. “Mike” Cooper better make sure they have plenty of time and a good supply of paper. He is an exceptionally busy man devoted to extending a family tradition of business leadership and community service that dates back to the 1700’s.
In researching his family tree, Cooper found one of his relatives fought in the Revolutionary War and was later credited with founding the city of Holden, Maine. Others served as decorated soldiers, aldermen, state senators and educators. The first members of the clan to move to Oklahoma settled in Wagoner where they became the city’s first blacksmiths, established a hatchery and were community leaders. A great uncle was mayor of Bixby.
 “I guess public service is just something in our genes,” he said.
Currently Board Chairman of the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce and a director of the Broken Arrow Economic Development Corp., Cooper’s resume includes a dazzling array of contributions at local, state and national levels.
After serving as chairman of the Enid, Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce, he burst upon the public scene in 1995 when he was elected mayor of that city. One of the biggest challenges he faced during his four-year term came when Vance Air Force Base, the community’s largest employer, landed on a federal list of military facilities to be closed.
To help keep that from happening, Cooper was instrumental in creating the Vance Development Authority and served as its chairman for five years. Not only did his actions save the base, they helped create a national model that continues to guide local, state and federal lawmakers in finding ways to help military facilities fulfill their missions.
Furthering his military and community contributions, from 2001 to 2003 he served as chairman of the U.S. Air Force Association’s Texas/Oklahoma Region.
“One of the really great things about running for mayor was the fact my children had the opportunity to get involved in our campaigns. They saw first-hand how government works and the importance of giving something back to the community,” he said.
In addition to leadership of the B.A. Chamber and EDC, Cooper’s resume includes chairmanship of the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission, presidency of the National Association of Defense Communities and director positions with the Tulsa Region Chamber of Commerce, Oklahoma Academy, Tulsa Community College Foundation, Northwest Oklahoma State University Foundation and Tulsa Better Business Bureau.
Additionally, he served as U.S. Air Force Honorary Commander from 2003-18, was a member of Leadership Oklahoma Class of 2004 and was honored as a Distinguished Graduate by Tulsa Community College. During his time in Enid, he was named one of the state’s five outstanding mayors by the Oklahoma Municipal League. In 2005 he was recognized for “unique and lasting contributions to the community” by being part of the Enid Walk of Fame.
Growing up in Skiatook, Cooper said he gave almost no thought to what the future held in store for him. “Give me a ball and mitt or a football and I was a happy guy,” he recalled. All that changed during a career days assembly at his high school.
“One of the presenters was a repairman for Southwestern Bell,” he said. “The guy had a tool belt around his waist and talked about his job and the career opportunities offered by the telephone company. I thought to myself ‘I can do that’ so I went to work for Ma Bell as a lineman.”
Following a government ordered breakup of Bell, Cooper found himself on the payroll at AT&T. “My field experience really helped when I entered the management ranks because I knew how to do many of the jobs I was overseeing,” he said.
After a 45-year career with AT&T, Cooper “retired.” That word is in quotes, since he continues to serve the company by spearheading its community and government relations activities. Only now he does it through Cooper Public Strategies, a Broken Arrow-based consulting firm he founded in 2006.
To say that Cooper is bullish on Green Country and its prospects for the future would rank as an understatement.
Pointing to the redevelopment of downtown Tulsa, the explosive growth of Broken Arrow’s Rose District, the strength of the city’s manufacturing companies and advances being made in the education establishment, Cooper believes Eastern Oklahoma is one of the most dynamic locations in the region.
“We have a strong corps of energetic young leaders eager to make their mark,” he said. “I truly believe we are on the leading edge of great things happening. I’m just proud to say I have been part of it all.”

About Post Author