During the 11 years he has lived in Mountlake Terrace, Dustin Dekoekkoek has immersed himself in a dizzying array of volunteer projects across the city – all based on his commitment to ensuring a “thriving community.”
He co-founded the Mountlake Terrace Community Foundation, which collaborates with local organizations – including the MLT Concern for Neighbors food bank, the senior center and local schools – to help those in need.
He obtained a grant to digitize the city’s historical photos and founded the MLT History Facebook page.
He served as the chair of the city’s Recreation and Parks Advisory Commission and vice-chair of the MLT Salary Commission. He was part of an advisory committee of citizens that developed recommendations for a new city hall that eventually led to voter passage after three failed ballot measures.
He spearheaded grants for the city’s Little Food Pantry, Little Free Libraries, tables for the food bank, a bench at the city’s dog park, improvements at Bicentennial Park, bike racks in Town Center, a pollinator and community garden, landscaping improvements at schools, and a new deck at the senior center.
In recognition of his work, the Mountlake Terrace Business Association selected Dekoekkoek as its 2018 Citizen of the Year.
It’s fitting, then, that the 37-year-old Dekoekkoek is one of 12 Snohomish County people who have been nominated for the The Emerging Leader award sponsored by The Herald Business Journal. Begun in 2016, the award aims to recognize the next generation of leadership for the county. The award will be presented remotely via Zoom this Thursday night, July 9, starting at 5:30 p.m. and the public is invited to attend.
City of Mountlake Terrace Community Relations Director Virginia Olsen, who nominated Dekoekkoek for the award, puts it this way: “Overall, Dustin has accomplished more in one decade than many leaders do in a lifetime.”
A native of Shoreline and a graduate of Seattle University, Dekoekkoek is a civil engineer with Everett-based Perteet, where he focuses on public transportation projects.
He and his wife Jenae moved from Seattle to Mountlake Terrace 11 years ago, seeking more room as they were expecting their first child (oldest daughter Lucca is now 11). Dekoekkoek discovered there was no community news source, so started MLTNews in 2009. He sold the publication after the birth of his second daughter Arden, but founded NextMLT.com in 2013, with the goal of informing the community about local developments and regional changes.
“A lot of what I do is, I recognize a need or maybe something that is absent and someone needs to do it — and why not start it myself,” he said.
Dekoekkoek organized the Keep MLT Strong effort to assist community members who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, and he has also been active in the Mountlake Terrace Anti-Racist Coalition, a local effort that grew out of the nationwide Black Lives Matter movement.
He pointed to the birth of daughter Arden, who has Down Syndrome, as a turning point “in learning what it’s like to be a person with a disability.” He said that recent events related to racial justice have caused him “to learn more about myself, my own privilege, learn more about what it means to be white, to learn more about what it means to be a person of color.”
“It’s just another progression in working on myself and being able to see community from a different perspective,” Dekoekkoek said. “And that work is never finished.”
While Dekoekkoek said that he was honored to receive the Emerging Leaders award nomination, he also admitted to being somewhat uncomfortable with the recognition. His motivation for helping the community, he said, is fueled by his passion for “serving others” and ensuring that Mountlake Terrace is “a community that works for everyone.”
Virginia Olson noted that “Dustin works hard to generate social capital and enhance quality of life in Mountlake Terrace,” adding that “the city is thrilled that he will be recognized for his efforts that have now spanned over a decade.”
You can register for the Emerging Leaders award ceremony at www.heraldnet.com/emergingleaders. Those registering will receive a Zoom link and password to the remote event.
The full list of this year’s nominees are:
Julio Cortes, Senior Communications Officer, City of Everett
Courtney Wooten, Community Organizer, self-employed, Suburbia Rising/Stories of Self & Self Solidarity. You can read more about Wooten in a My Edmonds News profile here.
Christine Stansfield, Volunteer and Community Engagement Coordinator, Sno-Isle Regional Libraries
Dustin DeKoekkoek, Civil Engineer, Perteet Inc., Everett
Craig Olson, Vice President of Sales at Washington Energy Services, Lynnwood. (A story about Olson — who works in Lynnwood and lives in Edmonds, will be posted Wednesday, July 8.)
Natosha Gobin, Language Teacher, The Tulalip Tribes
Ambar Martinez, Self-employed, strategy development and equity strategy work with the state and other organizations
Neil Weiss, Attorney, ABC Law Group, Everett
Nicole Amor, Director of Individual Giving at Boys & Girls Club of Snohomish County
Alexander Lark, Philanthropy Manager, Housing Hope, Everett
Randy Bolerjack, Director of Public Affairs, Marketing and Communication Washington State University Everett
Chester Curtis, Purchasing Manager, McKinstry
— By Teresa Wippel
Shortly after moving to Mountlake Terrace, he founded MLTNews.com in 2009 when he discovered the city didn’t have a regular news source. He sold that publication to My Edmonds News Publisher Teresa Wippel in 2012, but in 2013 created NextMLT.com, with the goal of informing the community about developments and regional changes.
City of Mountlake Terrace Community Relations Director Virginia Olsen puts it this way: “Overall, Dustin has accomplished
The 37-year-old Dekoekkoek says that starting something to address problem or need has been a them in his life. recogniate need or soemthign tha tis absent nad hwat not start it myself.
“Dustin has accomplished more in one decade than many leaders do in a lifetime.” Those
When I saw an award to recognize someone who has made a positive impact on the community, I immediately thought of Dustin and I reached out to his employer (Perteet) to assist with the nomination. Dustin works hard to generate social capital and enhance quality of life in Mountlake Terrace and the city is thrilled that he will be recognized for his efforts that have now spanned over a decade.
Here is the nomination which was SO difficult explaining what he does in 250 words. I worked on this with Lori Castro at Perteet who worked with Crystal Donner there. Some of the criteria involved his professional life so we needed to prepare the nomination jointly and then had the difficult task of shaving all the things he’s done to this…
Dustin’s character is best described by his extraordinary work for the community, personally and professionally. He co-foundedthe Mountlake Terrace Community Foundation that engages community partners to collaborate on projects for the greater good (food bank, senior center, schools, parks, homeless).
Over the last decade, Dustin has spearheaded many other efforts including online information, block parties, large community events. He founded MLTNews.com in 2009 and NextMLT.com in 2013 to inform the community on developments and encourages healthy discussion on regional changes. He obtained a grant to digitize historical photos to celebrate our region’s past, founded the MLT History Facebook page, and established summer concerts in the parks. He served as the Chair of his city’s Recreation and Parks Advisory Commission, Vice-Chair of their Salary Commission, City Hall Advisory Committee, and has led positive community discussions.
Dustin is a tireless leader in his efforts to spearhead grants for Little Food Pantry, Little Free Libraries, tables for the food bank, bench at the dog park, improvements at Bicentennial Park, bike racks in Town Center, pollinator and community garden, landscaping improvements at schools, and new deck at the senior center. All of these efforts support a diverse and growing county.
Professionally, Dustin is a civil engineer at Perteet, a locally owned firm. He is passionate about community building projects and is a technical leader in earthquake resistant ductile pipe, an emerging technology aimed at preserving our drinking water. Overall, Dustin has accomplished more in one decade than many leaders do in a lifetime.
Soreline – shoreline Christian prek-12
Seattle pacific year, took year off, three months in eastern afria humanitarian workback to settle, gave m an interest in civilenginering, shoreline cc, 2 years AA, to Seattle U. 2007 civil engineering degree, perteet 6 years, 21 first daughter 25 Lucca Arden, going to school woring living in basement apartment in Ballard
A little pocket of srater homes
MLTnews civic engagement
Profession interested in realm of public agenices and how oepaerate
ENterpise on its last dying breth – no source to figure what’s going on.
Theme – recogniate need or soemthign tha tis absent nad hwat not start it myself.
My consempation is not fiacial in most fo things I do.
I want the best for my famly and mself and part of htat is being part of a thriving community.
I want to be in a plae I want to be in
Lately thining more
Open my eyes seeing community’s from different perspectives, a person with a disability, designing infrastructure in public right of way, maig it easier for people with disabilities to get aroud independently. Contibued tohow I see the world.
Learm more aboutmysehlf, progression being able to see community from a differet persptive.
Deinitel honored to be a part of htat considered for this. Mixed feelings.cognizant of motations for what I’m doing it.
Focus on community foundation
Keep MLTStrong on behalf
MLTARC outgrowth of Black Lives Matters