If you happen to be on a Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) Zoom meeting and “Captain Awesome” checks in, do not be alarmed; that is Steve Be Cotte, who just celebrated his seventh anniversary as DLBA’s Community Outreach Manager. While he does not always use that screen name, he certainly lives up to it while performing myriad duties in the Downtown community.
As Community Outreach Manager, Be Cotte’s primary duties include coordinating residential outreach programs, attending residential council and neighborhood association meetings, and representing Long Beach business improvement districts on the boards of the Long Beach Homeless Coalition and Long Beach Continuum of Care. He often goes beyond the call of duty, doing “anything DLBA wants me to do,” he said.
Be Cotte is a Long Beach native who graduated from Millikan High School, then went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). He joined the DLBA staff as Community Outreach Manager back in 2014, and has been hard at work ever since, helping DLBA connect with members of the Downtown community and working tirelessly with them to help create a positive future.
An affinity for teamwork is one of the things that attracted Be Cotte to his main off-work passion: crewing on a top-fuel dragster. Along with the satisfaction derived from being a part of a high-performance squad comes the excitement generated from the roar of these nitro-burning, 260-mph behemoths. “Very few people do this,” said Be Cotte. “You have to be careful. You must look out for the other guy. We’re trying to do a million things right, all at once, with serious consequences if you make a mistake. When you press the button on the external starter on this machine, you’re basically lighting up a fire-breathing dragon.”
Be Cotte oversees the right side of the motor of the “Circuit Breaker” dragster, which has an old-school design. The motor is in front of the driver, 36 inches from his face. “The motor gets completely dismantled after every run and must be ready to run again within an hour, so we’re in a hurry, dealing with red-hot engine parts in close proximity to one another,” he explained.
Be Cotte and the rest of the “Circuit Breaker” team have twice been victorious at Bakersfield’s March Meet, which is the Super Bowl of the Nostalgia/Heritage drag racing circuit. He returned home from last March’s victory to find the COVID-19 Stay-At-Home orders in effect, and got straight to work with his DLBA colleagues, helping the Downtown community deal with the new conditions.
As DLBA’s response to the COVID-19 situation evolves, Be Cotte will continue to apply his tenacity and love of teamwork. “It’s a small crew here at DLBA,” he said. “If something happens, you can’t say ‘it’s not my job.’ Everybody here has that ‘helper’ attitude.”