The College 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 the three distinguished graduates at a banquet on Nov. 6. Brantley could not attend the ceremony.
Brantley earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1964. 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 to 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). He also helped create an advisory board for the department and served on the board for five years.
He and his wife, Marilyn, established the John C. Brantley, IV Alumni Memorial 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 Scholarship in Civil / Transportation Engineering in memory of Matthews, with whom Brantley co-taught the CCEE course.
Easter earned her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1985 and received a master’s degree in engineering from the Catholic University of America. As director 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.
She has received the Army Exceptional Civilian Service Award, the Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award, the Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the Secretary of the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award and the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award.
Hooks earned his bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering in 1978. 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.
He and his wife, Jennifer, established the Jacob T. Hooks, Sr. Scholarship in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) in honor of his father, who also studied at NC State. They have also established a planned gift that will create a distinguished professorship in MSE 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.