Photo by John Ulan

Did You Know

Geared Up for Green-and-Gold

Meet your new alumni president

By Kate Black, '16 BA

May 20, 2021 •

Tyler Hanson, ’00 BSc(MechEng), begins his two-year term as Alumni Association president on June 1. We caught up with him to discuss his recent career change and the high sartorial bar set by past presidents.

You’re an engineer by training. During the pandemic, you switched careers to become the president of LoKnow, an advertising technology company. What inspired the change?

Some people golf or fish or hunt in their spare time. My hobby is mentoring business owners with the skills I developed during my career. A few years ago, I got connected to Vikram Seth, ’11 BA, because we were both members of the same fraternity. I mentored him as he was founding LoKnow and became one of his initial investors. This year, he hired me as the president. 

That’s really cool — all these years later, the university community is still part of your life. 

There are dozens of examples of how the U of A community has impacted me more than my academic experience has. When something comes up in my career or my life, I gravitate towards the U of A. I’ve used research from the faculties of engineering and Native studies to inform my work in construction engineering. Even as a parent, I love taking my kids to Pandas basketball games. 

What advice would you offer to people considering a career change? 

Look for things in your current career that you find rewarding and that you think you could be successful at in a different environment. For me, that thing was project management. I really like helping entrepreneurs and businesses. I realized that I’ve had a 20-year career and that, if I took some risks, I could squeeze a whole new career into the next 20 years. Now, I’m feeling the same excitement and vulnerability as when I came out of my undergrad. I’m learning and asking questions and bringing some new ideas.

You’ve recently taken on the role of Alumni Association president after volunteering on Alumni Council for a few years. Why did you decide to get involved with the Alumni Association? 

I was tired of networking within my industry. I was showing up at the same events and seeing the same faces year after year, month after month. I wanted to meet new people and lift my vision outside my immediate sphere. Council also feels like a direct way to give back to the university and make sure that the opportunities that were available to me are available to other students. 

Past alumni presidents are known for repping their U of A pride. Mary Pat Barry, ’04 MA, wore the university’s colours every day of her presidency and Heather Raymond, ’82 BEd, ’86 Dip(Ed), ’95 MEd, ’02 PhD, knit herself an epic green-and-gold sweater. No pressure, but how are you going to match their game? 

I don’t know if I’m disciplined enough to make that kind of fashion commitment like Mary Pat. And I’m impossibly jealous of Heather’s sweater. But I’m a big Vespa fan, so I bought a green-and-gold scooter last summer. I also ordered myself some custom green-and-gold Nike Air Force 1 sneakers that I’m really excited about. I think between the scooter and the sneakers, I can carry on the tradition.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

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