The College of Engineering at North Carolina State University bestowed the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus (DEA) award on John C. Brantley III, Steffanie B. Easter and Jacob T. “Jake” Hooks.
Dr. Louis Martin-Vega, dean of the College, recognized Brantley, Easter and Hooks at a banquet on Nov. 6.
Brantley earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1964 from North Carolina State University. After working with the Federal Aviation Agency and a private engineering firm, he founded an airport planning and design consultancy. He joined the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority in 1977 as an airport contractor and in 1982 became the airport director, a position he held for 29 years. From 1982-2016, he taught/co-taught a biannual course in airport planning and design in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering (CCEE) at NC State as an adjunct assistant professor of civil engineering (later adjunct professor of the practice). In 2006, he helped create an advisory board for the department and served on the board for five years.
Along with his wife, Marilyn, they established the John C. Brantley, IV Alumni Memorial (undergraduate) Scholarship in Civil/Construction Engineering in memory of their eldest son, who passed away three months after graduating from NC State. In 2012, they established the Bruce E. Matthews Memorial (graduate) Scholarship in Civil/Transportation Engineering in memory of Matthews, with whom Brantley co-taught the CCEE course. He received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award from the State of North Carolina in 2011 and was inducted into the N.C. Transportation Hall of Fame in 2012.
Easter earned her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1985 from North Carolina State University. Additionally, she received a master’s degree in engineering from the Catholic University of America. As director of navy staff, she serves as the senior chief naval operations (OPNAV) civilian and coordinates enterprise-level efforts across the entire OPNAV staff. In this role, she ensures alignment of more than 400 flag officers and senior executives, providing indispensable advice and support to the Chief of Naval Operations and the Secretary of the Navy. Previously, she served as acting assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology (ASA(ALT)), where she was responsible for leading and supervising Army acquisition, procurement, research and development and logistics endeavors within the Army acquisition enterprise.
She was awarded the Army Exceptional Civilian Service Award in 2017, the Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award in 2016, the Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 2016, the Secretary of the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award in 2013, the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award in 2009 and the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 2007.
Hooks earned his bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering in 1978 from North Carolina State University. After a 35-year career at Eaton Corporation, he retired as president of Automotive North America and is a former member of the Nittan Valve Co. Ltd. Board of Directors. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan’s Executive Program and completed the Global Leadership 2020 program at Dartmouth College’s Amos Tuck School of Business. Hooks serves as development chair for the NC State Engineering Foundation, has served on the Park Scholars Selection Committee and is on the NC State Foundation Board.
In 2013, he and his wife, Jennifer, established the Jacob T. Hooks, Sr. Scholarship in Materials Science and Engineering in honor of his father, who also studied at NC State. They established a planned gift in 2016 that will create a distinguished professorship in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and are Cornerstone donors for Fitts-Woolard Hall. Hooks is a lifetime member of the Alumni Association, a member of the R.S. Pullen Society and a member of the W.C. Riddick Society.
Under the leadership of the late Dean Ralph Fadum, the DEA Award was established by the faculty of the College of Engineering at NC State in 1966 to honor engineering graduates who have been recognized for outstanding achievements in one or more of the following categories:
- Planning and direction of engineering work
- Fostering professional development of young engineers
- Contributing to knowledge in the field of engineering
- Bringing, in other ways, distinction to the University through engineering achievement.