The district comprises nine counties: Angelina, Houston, Nacogdoches, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby and Trinity. Cooley became district engineer in the Lufkin District effective July 1999.
While earning his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M University, Cooley joined TxDOT's Tyler District as a summer employee. A 1982 graduate, he returned to TxDOT's Mineola engineering office as a project manager in 1983. Two years later, he transferred to the district's design section as a design team leader.
From 1987 to 1992, Cooley was the Mineola area engineer responsible for TxDOT activities in Van Zandt and Wood counties. In 1992, he became the area engineer in Longview, responsible for maintenance, engineering and management operations in Gregg and Rusk counties.
Named Tyler District's director of maintenance in 1993, Cooley provided engineering support to area engineers and maintenance supervisors in an eight-county area. He managed all district operations in the absence of the district engineer. In April 1999, he was selected as district engineer of the Atlanta District, responsible for all TxDOT operations in a nine-county area.
Cooley is a past member and president of the Mineola Rotary Club. He became a professional engineer in 1987.