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Alumni of Distinction: Leverette Hoover
by Matt Jardin |
Leverette Hoover, B.S. Technology '97, will receive a 2020 Alumni of Achievement award at the virtual Homecoming Breakfast on Oct. 9.
UAA’s Alumni Association will always be indebted to its earliest members, which include UAA technology alumnus Leverette Hoover, who was originally brought in to participate in a focus group to discuss continued engagement with the university.
“I thought, this is an opportunity for me to have a voice, to have a say in my university,” said Hoover. “Here’s an opportunity for me to be part of something great and help support the students while making improvements.”
Before the Alumni Association, Hoover found many ways to stay connected with his alma mater, particularly with the College of Engineering as a mentor for students and employer of graduates. Even further back, Hoover may have contributed to the creation of UAA’s engineering programs after an encounter with then-University of Alaska statewide president Mark Hamilton at an award dinner where they talked about their shared experiences in the armed services and Hoover’s wish to have taken electrical engineering. Only civil engineering was offered then.
“He told me he was going to take note of that,” said Hoover. “Then my wife and I moved back to Michigan because of illnesses with our parents, but we came back to Alaska after 22 months. I was invited to a luncheon and President Hamilton walked in, sat next to me and was like, ‘Have you heard? We’re going to start looking at mechanical and electrical engineering at UAA.’ Right there I committed to hiring students out of that first class, and we did. The first year we had four or five interns that we hired after they graduated and they still work for us today.”
Originally from Chesaning, Michigan, Hoover and his wife came to Alaska after being stationed here through the Air Force as an air traffic control radar maintenance technician for eight years. After his honorable discharge, Hoover continued to give back to veteran organizations, including Wounded Heroes, Wreaths Across America, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve and was appointed to the U.S. National ESGR board of directors. Due to his work with veterans, he was appointed honorary commander for the 176th Alaska Air National Guard Wing.
While stationed in Alaska, Hoover began taking classes on Shemya Air Force Base in the Aleutian Islands before relocating to the main Anchorage campus.
“I was that older, nontraditional student, which even today is important for UAA,” he said. "A lot of classes I was in, half was nontraditional and the other half was more typical, and there was a lot of mentoring going on from the older generations. For me, it was a great opportunity to start that coaching and mentoring that helped me become a good supervisor over the years.”
Hoover has served as an engineering mentor through his more than 20-year career with Siemens, most recently culminating in his promotion to national operations manager for the Midwest and Pacific zones in March 2020.
Not content to just mentor university students, Hoover has partnered with K-12 schools to get students excited about careers in STEM.
“I’m lucky I work for a company that allows me to be that true business partner in the community,” said Hoover. “Knowing that maybe just a little bit myself and my company was involved in having that impact on those students, that’s really cool to see.”
Hoover’s contributions to education are more impressive after taking into account his wider involvement with the community, which include receiving the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce’s Top Forty Under 40, Gold Pan Award winner for community service, past chairman of the Anchorage School District School Business Partner board of directors and high school football coach, just to name a few.
“It’s important to be that strong business partner in the community because the community gives so much to us as a business,” said Hoover. “Even if I didn’t have a business that supports me, I would still do that. My parents set that foundation. They were always involved in the community and taught me to give back because you never know when you have to depend on them to support you. You take care of your community and the community will take care of you.”
Written by Matt Jardin, UAA Office of University Advancement