UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

Career Opportunities

Career opportunities in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are on the rise. More people are consuming more food and agricultural products, resulting in a greater need for trained professionals to design environmentally sound production systems. This means more jobs in service, sales, development and application of mechanical systems in agriculture and in protection and management of water, soil and air resources. Starting salaries for AET graduates are among the highest at UWRF, between $40,000-$55,000.

Our graduates are employed across a wide spectrum of the engineering profession - as test engineers and technical support for large equipment manufacturers; as plant managers, process engineers and project managers within the food and feed, and construction industries; and as consultants on waste management and erosion control issues.

Agricultural Engineering Technology Alumni Spotlight

Nick

Nick_DahmNick Dahm

Technical Sales Support Specialist
Grammer Inc.
Hudson, WI

B.S. Agricultural Engineering Technology (2012)
Minor in Agricultural Economics

Hometown: Hudson, WI

The Agricultural Engineering Technology program opened the door to many opportunities for me. Being a part of this program afforded me the opportunity to acquire two great internships and obtain a career that relates directly to this program. 

During summer 2011, I worked for Barrel O’ Fun Snacks as an Engineering Intern. My job responsibilities at Barrel O’ Fun Snack Foods were working directly with the engineering, project, and safety managers. My projects included material safety data sheets, testing kettle fryer output, and managing various projects from start to finish. My second internship, during summer 2012, I worked at Frontier Ag and Turf as their Sales Intern. In this position I worked with the sales team where my main objectives were running demonstrations of the self propelled forage harvester, skid steer and triple mower. I also completed marketing studies comparing their products to competitors. These two internships, while different from one another, were able to prepare me for the workforce and make me a more dynamic prospect for companies.

After graduating in fall 2012, I was hired for a position with Grammer Inc. as the Technical Sales Support Specialist. Grammer Inc. deals in suspension seating for agricultural, construction, commercial mowing, and material handling. Globally they also work with armrests, headrests, and center consoles in the automotive market, and truck, train, and boat seating. My day-to-day responsibilities include answering customer questions about our products, and assisting the sales and engineering teams with various projects.

When entering the Agricultural Engineering Technology program at UWRF I didn't imagine having two internships and working for a company that deals on the global market. The tools that I gained from UWRF helped me achieve the expertise and knowledge to land my dream job in my hometown.

Kelsey

Kelsey_ADMGrain_AlumniKelsey Peterson

Assistant Manager
ADM Alliance Nutrition Plant
New Hampton, IA

B.S. Agricultural Engineering Technology (2012)
Minor in Spanish

Hometown: Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Being a part of Ag Engineering Technology has opened my eyes to the many opportunities agriculture has to offer. The summer between my junior and senior year I completed an internship with Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) as a Grain Terminal Operations Management Intern. I was placed at a shuttle loader rail facility in Mendota, Illinois for the summer. After the internship was completed I was offered a full-time position in the same field in the year and a half Management Trainee  Program. I loved my internship and this job offer has given me the opportunity to learn more about the company and management role.

In the training program, my day-to-day responsibilities included managing the operations personnel, updating and fixing equipment, safety training, commodity inventory, efficiently blending grain on rail to meet the buyers needs, and overseeing contractor work. After 10 months in what was supposed to be a year and a half trainee program, they offered me a position as Assistant Manager of an ADM Alliance Nutrition Plan in New Hampton, Iowa. It is going to be a slight change of path but I'm really excited about it. it will be more on the feed end of the spectrum instead of the grain end where I'm working now. They deal with feed for anything from dairy, beef, horses, pigs, sheep, and goats to rabbits and chickens. Growing up with most of these animals on our farm I'm excited for this opportunity to broaden my knowledge base on how the feed is manufactured. My day-to-day responsibilities with be the same for the most part with just a different twist to them. I think it's a good step in the direction I want to head with the company.

When I began the Agricultural Engineering Technology program I never dreamed this would be my career. UW- River Falls and this program have prepared me well for my career in the rapidly changing world of agriculture!


Christine

Christine Kuhr

ChristineKuhrQuality Assurance Management Trainee
Del Monte Foods
Cambria, WI

Hometown: Antigo, WI

B.S. Agricultural Engineering Technology (May 2010), Chemistry Minor

In May of 2010 I was hired on as a quality assurance management trainee and less than a year later I was promoted to Quality Assurance Supervisor. I am currently the department lead at the plant. This plant is a seasonal operation working with peas, beans & corn from June-October. During the pack season, I am responsible for all things dealing with quality and food safety in the plant. I perform audits to ensure good manufacturing practices are maintained throughout the season. The finished product goes through quality grading to ensure that what we are selling is in fact, Del Monte Quality. There are training programs that must be completed through the FDA & international auditing bodies to become certified to do certain parts of my job. 

I am responsible for all the major plant programs: HACCP, Food Security, Record Review, Recalls, Consumer Affairs, Hold Administration and regulatory inspections. I focus mainly on releasing records, held product and passing regulatory and third party audits. About 50% of my time is spent at my desk and 50% of my time is spent in the plant.

In the off season, I work on documentation for programs as well as participating in training sessions for the continuously changing food processing world. This part of the year is used to evaluate the product that was produced and what needs to be changed or improved to ensure there is continuous improvement throughout the plant. LEAN meetings are held to ensure processes are as efficient as they can be with the resources available. During the off season, approximately 90% of my time is spent at my desk and 10% is spent in the plant. My time spent in labs and getting hands-on experience in the Agricultural Engineering Technology program have been an asset to me in this position. The broad-based approach to learning all the areas of the engineering department has helped me be a resource in many critical areas of the plant.

Dustin

Dustin_Oxbo_AlumniDustin Emslander

Designer
Oxbo Corporation
Clear Lake, WI

B.S. Agricultural Engineering Technology (2012)

Hometown: Lindstrom, MN

After graduating from the UW-River Falls in May 2012, I was offered an internship at Oxbo Corporation as a service technician. Oxbo Corporation, located in Clear Lake, WI, is a worldwide leader in custom harvesting equipment. We design and manufacture specialty niche market machinery. Some of our products include sweet corn and pea harvesters, grape and other fruit harvesters, and forage handling equipment. After several months of my internship I was given the opportunity to work with the Research and Development Department. This temporary placement turned into 3 months of following new corn heads throughout the Midwestern states. My main focus was supporting the prototype heads that were being used by several different farming operations at any given time. I was in charge of writing incident reports and suggesting necessary changes to the heads. After the fall harvest season was over I was offered a full-time position as a designer in Oxbo’s Engineering Department. My main responsibilities include supporting the assembly department in any issues with our equipment, designing parts for new and already produced machines, and supporting the engineering department in maintaining our numerous product lines.
Dustin_Oxbo_Alumni_machinery
The skills that I learned while at UW-River Falls helped me tremendously throughout my internship and now my full-time career. I believe that I moved up through the company relatively quickly not only because of my determination, but also due to the skills and techniques I was taught at UW-River Falls. This major prepares all of its students for success in the agricultural field. If you like agriculture and working with your hands, this is definitely the major for you.

Ty

Ty MeerkinsTy Meerkins

Field Service Engineer
Procomac Division of GEA Process Engineering
Hudson, WI

Hometown: Hager City, WI
B.S. Agricultural Engineering Technolgy (December 2010)

Shortly after graduation I began work at the Procomac Division of GEA Process Engineering. GEA is an international leader in the food, fuel, and pharmaceutical industries. Although GEA is located in Hudson, WI, Procomac is based in Parma (Italy) and is a leader in cold, hot, and aseptic bottle sterilizing, rinsing and filling machinery.  Many bottled drinks sold in the U.S. are produced by Procomac food processing machinery. 

As a Field Service Engineer for GEA Procomac, I travel around the world to install, troubleshoot and implement new or existing drink bottling machines at customer plants. My daily activities are very diverse; depending on what stage of the project we are on. I interpret drawings, determine the placement and rigging of the machines, collaborate with sub-contractors to determine the requirements and placement of the infrastructure for the systems (piping, electricity or structural), and work on PLC programming and automation of the system. This job suits me well as I may be acting as a project manager one day, calculating electrical capacities the next, and sampling a bottle of freshly packaged fruit juice the next. I have even been known to do a little TIG welding on a new part!  

The UWRF Agricultural Engineering Technology (AET) program opened a new career path I never thought would be in my future, and I couldn't be happier. The AET program was the perfect place for me as it allowed great flexibility to my schedule and interests. My favorite part about the program was the ability to tailor the material to my own interests. 

The AET program is not dominated by classroom lectures and bookwork. Much of your time will be spent in the laboratory, on the lab farm, operating machinery, or taking field trips to locations such as Eaton Fluid Power Systems. Looking back, I can say that many skills learned in my AET classes are now used everyday in my career at GEA Procomac. To anyone who wants to earn a great salary, travel the world, solve problems, use engineering concepts or just get your hands dirty, field service engineering is for you.

Melissa

Melissa SattlerMelissa Sattler

Project /Process Engineer
Cargill Kitchen Solutions: Monticello, MN

Hometown: Mishicot, WI
B.S. Agricultural Engineering Technology (May 2011)

In December 2010, I was offered a position at Cargill Kitchen Solutions. After graduation, in May, I started working as an engineering associate in Monticello, Minnesota. This position allowed me to travel between each of the six plants in Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, and Toronto CA. After six months of plant experience, I became a Project/Process Engineer. Now, I spend my time working on various projects including process machinery and cost savings opportunities.

I use the technical skills that I learned at UW River Falls every day. The hands-on and team experience I’ve gained in weekly labs and smaller classes allows me to work with a variety of contractors and co-workers. Without UWRF, I’m not sure where I’d be today.

Dan

Dan PuschDaniel Pusch

Engineering Associate
Cargill Kitchen Solutions
Monticello, MN

Hometown: 
Hartford, SD

B.S. Agricultural Engineering Technology (December 2010)

As an engineering associate for Cargill Kitchen Solutions, I act as a project/process engineer for our six plants throughout the USA and Canada. When new production lines need to be installed or updated or additions need to be put onto plants, I develop a plan and then schedule contractors to come in and execute it. Cargill Kitchen Solutions is a division of Cargill, Inc. It is the second largest further-processed egg product supplier in the U.S. and is the sole supplier of egg products to McDonalds throughout the U.S.

My time spent at UWRF was very beneficial to my career. The hands on labs made learning very conducive.Going into the food and process engineering class I thought to myself, why do I need to know this.Now looking back, it, along with food science, are probably the most important and meaningful classes I took at UWRF.

Educational and employment opportunities are plentiful for students interested in:

  • Production Agriculture

  • Agricultural Machinery

  • Precision Agriculture

  • Construction and Project Management

  • Food Processing

  • Alternative Energy and Fuels

  • Irrigation and Drainage

  • Environmental Engineering Technology

Agricultural Engineering
131 Agricultural Engineering Annex
Location: 615 S. 3rd Street
Mail: 410 S. 3rd Street
River Falls, WI 54022
715-425-3985
fay.e.westberg@uwrf.edu