Engineering Technology

Career Success

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.

Alumni Spotlight

Read about the careers and success stories of alumni in agricultural engineering technology below.

Lisa Ecker 2017 ag eng tech
Lisa Ecker

Graduation Year: 2017
Major/Minor: Agricultural Engineering Technology
Position Title: Applications Engineer
Employer: GEA Systems

I am currently an Applications Engineer for the Beverage Group of North America. In this role, I design and quote alcoholic and non-alcoholic processes. I previously worked as a Project Engineer in which I traveled to start up and commission beverage systems.

My time at UW-River Falls prepared me for my future career path by teaching me problem-solving skills and giving me experience with the food and beverage process through food process engineering classes with Youngmi Kim, assistant professor of agricultural engineering technology. I also was connected with my future employer, GEA Systems, through UWRF alumni who came to speak at our classes and a field trip to the Hudson, WI facility for lab demonstrations.

I think the biggest impact during my college experience was my study abroad trip to India with the agricultural engineering technology department. This trip was benefitial for my engineering coursework, but it was especially great to experience other cultures. My employer GEA is a global company so it is essential to be familiar with other cultures and different ways of working.

The UWRF agricultural engineering technology program is a great program that allowed me to customize my education to focus on areas I was specifically interested in, such as food processing and process engineering. The professors at UWRF also helped me realize the importance of education and learning. In the spirit of that, I began working on my master’s degree part-time in the fall of 2018.

Connor Kozlovsky 2017
Connor Kozlovsky

Graduation Year: 2017
Major/Minor: Agricultural Engineering Technology
Position Title: Product Development Specialist (Combine Division)
Employer: John Deere

I’m currently working as a product development specialist for John Deere. In this role I build, test, and troubleshoot prototype John Deere combines across the country and the world. Our goal at John Deere is to provide our customers with products of exceptional quality. "I will never put my name on a product that does not have the best that is in me." – John Deere

The degree I received at UW-River Falls, with its course material and interactive labs, ties directly into what I am now doing in industry. From agronomy all the way to animal science, the CAFES courses I took were all relevant to what I do at John Deere. Harvesting is just one part of the "farming ecosystem" which has large impacts on any farm’s goals. By networking with my peers in CAFES, I was able to acquire an internship with OXBO International out of Clear Lake, WI, which gave me industry experience while I was still enrolled at UWRF. The internship helped me figure out my long-term career goals as well as provided me with experience meeting industry professionals and learning how real world problems were solved.

The faculty in CAFES and especially in the agricultural engineering technology program impacted me most during my college experience. With their guidance and encouragement, I was able to achieve much more than I ever dreamed possible. The late nights of studying and lab work down in the Ag Eng Annex to achieve my academic goals are directly related to the effort and planning required for my current career at John Deere.

What stands out most to my supervisors and colleagues as compared to other graduates is my report writing skills gained from almost every course in the agricultural engineering technology program. Daily reports can often become monotonous, however with proper technical writing skills and detail-oriented information, they can very quickly become visible to upper management. That is just one of many examples of how all the courses I took in the agricultural engineering technology program at UW-River Falls have directly benefited my current career.

Kelsey Peterson

Graduation Year: 2012
Major/Minor: Agricultural Engineering Technology, Spanish minor
Position Title: Assistant Manager
Employer: ADM Alliance Nutrition Plant

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!

Dustin Emslander

Graduation Year: 2012
Major/Minor: Agricultural Engineering Technology
Position Title: Designer
Employer: Oxbo Corporation

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.

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.

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