The Outstanding Young Alumnus/Alumna Award recognizes an individual age 40 or younger who has advanced rapidly over the course of his or her career and has displayed significant achievement in the areas of leadership and professional success.
B.S. Computer Science (’12), Illinois Institute of Technology
Leggette is a lead inventor and key spokesperson at Cleversafe, Inc., a startup incubated at Illinois Tech that revolutionized computer-data storage. In 2005 one of Leggette’s classmates came to his dorm room for help building a software system. Leggette obliged and learned his friend was helping a campus startup to “warehouse all the data in the world.” Leggette began interning with Cleversafe the next semester and was hired full-time while still an undergraduate. He went on to become a member of Cleversafe’s six-person Core Software Development team. As Cleversafe grew, he was made leader of the performance initiative team to identify new opportunities to serve customers and is now director of development systems engineering and performance, a role in which he manages 20 engineers.
Leggette was nearly a journalism major at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but the summer before college, he saw an Illinois Tech brochure featuring the State Street Village residence hall and changed direction. As his career at Cleversafe took off, he put his education on hold until 2012 when he returned to complete his degree. “I appreciated it a lot more doing it later because I could actually see how [the knowledge] was applied... I am really glad I ended up getting that degree,” Leggette says.
At age 31 Leggette is one of the most accomplished inventors in Chicago, with 140 issued patents and another 20 patents pending. Working for the first company to harness mobile technologies to store data, Leggette’s most vital innovations have enabled software to store unlimited amounts of data and to easily route slices of data to specific computer servers and drives. After IBM acquired Cleversafe, Leggette was named to the elite group of IBM Master Inventors.
Leggette was nominated by past Illinois Tech Vice Provost for Research Dennis Roberson, an early mentor and investor for Cleversafe. “I have known Wesley for the last decade and have come to enormously appreciate his energy, his innovative capacity, his poise, presentation skills… and his increasing level of leadership skill,” says Roberson. “His sphere of influence and impact will only grow.”
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