Engineer Ernest D. Levert was born on March 15, 1954 in Cleveland, Ohio. Levert grew up in Cleveland where he attended Max S. Hayes High School and interned with NASA at the John H. Glenn Research Center as a sophomore. He graduated from Max S. Hayes High School in 1972. Then, 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 C-1 Welding School. Levert went on to graduate from Ohio State University in 1982 with his B.S. degree in welding engineering, specializing in 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 that included International Space Station and the Army Tactical Missile System. Levert’s division created and implemented photovoltaic radiators for the International Space Station’s crew areas and the removal of excess heat. He also developed a system of elbow tubing designed to carry coolant gases in radiators that are part of the Space Station. In 1996, Levert was appointed senior staff manufacturing engineer at Lockheed Martin; and, by 2000, Levert’s team had successfully welded 284 missiles. Throughout his career, Levert has developed standard policies and processes that provide structural integrity for many Lockheed Martin products. He also contributed a chapter to the book, 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. He was honored with the Outstanding Alumni Award from Ohio State University’s School of Engineering in 2004 and with the NOVA Award for Outstanding leadership from Lockheed Martin in 2006.
Ernest D. Levert was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 29, 2013.