01.10.2018Inside Verizon

There’s a science to having the best Network.

By: Peter Casale
Image of Verizon employee Irene Hukkelhoven and network engineers.

She’s not even 30 years old and Irene Hukkelhoven is already leading a team of 11 field engineers responsible for keeping the number one Wireless Network up and running in Northern California — from San Francisco to North Bay.

How does that make her feel?

“Like a bad ass” she says.

She was born for this.

From a young age, Irene displayed a natural curiosity for her parents’ work in the Biotech field. They taught her the importance of the sciences, and how they can impact humankind.

Irene seemed destined to follow in her parents’ footsteps, and while working towards her degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, she landed a job in the field.

“In biotech you can spend your entire career working tirelessly on testing and developing new medicines. It can take a decade, maybe even two, before you get FDA approval,” recalls Irene,  "I wanted something a little faster paced.”

You never stop learning.

It was right around that time, a family friend told her about the Verizon Leadership Development Program (VLDP). Irene soon began a unique three-year rotation learning several different job functions throughout Verizon.

“I spent time learning the Wireline business in New Jersey, how the Wireless Network was optimized in Southern California, and ultimately I was introduced to Wireless Data Engineering in the New York Metro Market,” recalls Irene.

The experience opened her eyes to a new industry, and the endless opportunities at Verizon.

Kicking off a career at Verizon.

While finishing up the leadership program, Irene positioned herself for an opportunity as an Operations Supervisor. She would spend the next year helping prepare downtown San Francisco for Super Bowl 50.

Today, she’s a Wireless Network Assurance Manager, leading a team responsible for keeping the Verizon Network up and running from San Francisco to Fort Bragg, California.

“My team is the real superstars,” says Irene, “we know our network like the back of our hands, we owe it to our customers, and we owe it to humanity in general to keep our network up running no matter what. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by people who do not take that responsibility lightly. That’s what makes our Network so great — we have the best people working on it.”

Delivering the promise.

Irene has found a real purpose in her work. “It is so cool to contribute to the technology solutions that address the challenges people face every day, in every industry — healthcare, education, research — you name it.”

When asked about the future, Irene says, “The work we do is special and unique. We’re connecting people across the entire globe. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know Verizon is going to build it, and it’s going to be great.”

For related media inquiries, please contact story.inquiry@verizon.com.


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About the author(s): 

Peter Casale is a member of the Verizon Corporate Communications team. He's the resident writer, producer and creative who likes to tell stories — just ask his parents, he's been doing it his whole life.