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Ernest Levert

Senior staff manufacturing engineer Ernest D. Levert was born on March 14, 1954 in Cleveland, Ohio to parents William and Gertrude Levert. He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and attended Max S. Hayes Vocational High School. As a sophomore, Levert interned with NASA at the John H. Glenn Research Center. He graduated from Max S. Hayes Vocational High School in 1972. After working briefly as a tool and die welder at Club Products in Cleveland, Levert served a tour of duty in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War and attended the U.S. Navy’s Broaden Opportunity for Officers and Selection Training (BOOST) Program. Levert went on to graduate from Ohio State University in 1982 with his B.S. degree in welding engineering, specializing in robotic, laser-beam, and electron-beam welding.

In 1986, Levert joined Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control Division in Dallas, Texas where he worked on projects under NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense such as the Space Shuttle, International Space Station, Multiple Launch Rocket System, and the Army Tactical Missile System. Levert’s division created and implemented the heat rejection system and the photovoltaic radiators for the International Space Station thermal batteries and crew areas for removing excess heat. He also developed a welding system of elbow tubing designed to carry coolant gases in radiators that are part of the Space Station. In 1996, Levert was appointed as the senior staff manufacturing engineer at Lockheed Martin. In this position, Levert continued to work on perplexing problems, like the case in 1996 when his development team ensured that the welding of the rocket motor and warhead of live missiles were secure and tamper-proof for international distribution. Throughout his career, Levert has developed standard policies and processes that provide structural integrity for many Lockheed Martin products. He has also contributed to the following books, BSA Welding Merit Badge Book, American Welding Society Welding Handbook, and Sparking the Future: National Center for Welding Education and Training, published by the Welding Education Center in 2009.

In 2002, Levert became the first African American to serve as president of the American Welding Society. In 2006, he was the first African American elected chairman of Commission IV (Power Beam Processes) of the International Institute of Welding. Levert also became the first African American elected president of the Federation of Material Societies in 2007. He was honored with the Outstanding and Distinguished Alumni Awards from the Ohio State University School of Engineering in 2004 and with the NOVA Award for Outstanding leadership from Lockheed Martin in 2006.

Levert and his wife, Rhonda, have two children: Chantale and Ernest Jr.

Ernest D. Levert was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 29, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.025

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/29/2013

Last Name

Levert

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

D

Schools

The Ohio State University

Max S. Hayes High School

Wilson Junior High School

John D. Rockefeller Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Ernest

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

LEV02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Maui, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

With God in your life and faith in yourself, you can set and achieve your goals no matter what you were told.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/14/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Steak (Rib Eye)

Short Description

Welding engineer and senior staff manufacturing engineer Ernest D. Levert (1954 -) was the first African American to serve as president of the American Welding Society, as president of the Federation of Material Societies, and as chairman of Commission IV (Power Beam Processes) of the International Institute of Welding.

Employment

Lockheed Martin

General Dynamic - Convair Division

Ametek, Straza Division

United States Navy

Favorite Color

Black, Red

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ernest Levert's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ernest Levert lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ernest Levert describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ernest Levert describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ernest Levert talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ernest Levert talks about his relation to the O'Jays lead singer, Eddie Levert

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ernest Levert describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ernest Levert talks about his growing up and his childhood neighborhoods

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ernest Levert talks about his childhood influences

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ernest Levert describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ernest Levert talks about his childhood job at Cleveland Stadium

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ernest Levert talks about his interest in engineering

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ernest Levert talks about his interest in welding

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ernest Levert talks about the Hough, Ohio Riots

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ernest Levert talks about his high school and his first job at NASA

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ernest Levert talks about his mentor, Julian Earls

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ernest Levert talks about his favorite movie, "October Sky"

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ernest Levert talks about sports in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ernest Levert talks about the importance of communication skills

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ernest Levert talks about Star Trek

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ernest Levert talks about his extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ernest Levert talks about his involvement in the Boy Scouts

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ernest Levert talks about his experience working at Club Products

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ernest Levert talks about his decision to join the U.S. Navy

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ernest Levert talks about his experience in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ernest Levert talks about his encounters with racism in the U.S. Navy, part 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ernest Levert talks about his encounters with racism in the U.S. Navy, part 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ernest Levert talks about his encounters with racism in the U.S. Navy, part 3

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ernest Levert talks about his decision to attend The Ohio State University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ernest Levert talks about his experience at The Ohio State University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ernest Levert talks about his internships and summer employment during college

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ernest Levert talks about his professors at The Ohio State University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ernest Levert talks about his experience at Ametek Straza

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ernest Levert talks about his departure from Ametek Straza

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ernest Levert talks about his experience at Geodynamics

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ernest Levert talks about joining Lockheed Martin

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ernest Levert talks about his work at Lockheed Martin

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ernest Levert talks about his projects at Lockheed Martin

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ernest Levert talks about his conflicts with management

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ernest Levert talks about his NASA projects

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ernest Levert talks about the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster and Ronald McNair

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ernest Levert shares his advice for aspiring welding engineers

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ernest Levert talks about Lockheed Martin

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ernest Levert his impact internationally

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ernest Levert talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Ernest Levert reflects on his life

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Ernest Levert reflects on his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Ernest Levert talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Ernest Levert talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Ernest Levert describes his photos