In December 2011, Brian Larson began a new role as career services director for the College of Engineering. He replaces Larry Hanneman, who retired last month after 16 years of service.
Larson, who was formerly an associate scientist for Iowa State’s Center of Nondestructive Evaluation (CNDE), brings industry experience as well as academic experience to the position. Larson was previously an engineer and manager at the McDonnell Douglas Corporation, now Boeing.
As career services director, Larson will be leading the college’s effort to assist students and alumni with finding challenging and rewarding positions where they can be successful, and alternately, helping employers connect with talented engineers who will provide benefit to their companies.
Many of these connections are made during the college’s Engineering Career Fairs, which take place in the fall and spring. The fairs are among the top five largest in the United States with more than 270 organizations attending and looking to hire engineers.
“The college’s career fairs are important for students and employers alike, and they demonstrate the growing need for strong engineers in industry,” said Ron Cox, associate dean for extension. “In his new role, Brian will continue to build and expand the relationships we share with organizations, creating more career opportunities for students and alumni.”
Engineering Career Services also manages industrial internships and co-ops for students, and collects information used to evaluate and improve the college’s educational programs. Larson and his team are also engaged in the college’s corporate relations activities.
Larson says time he spent working in industry will prove useful. “I have experienced the hiring processes from an employer’s perspective. And, my thirty some years of experience working as an engineer and a researcher gives me a good understanding of what is expected of our engineering graduates as they prepare to enter the workforce.”
Jonathan Wickert, dean of engineering, notes that Larson’s broad background, including his work at CNDE where he managed research, center programs, industrial outreach, and educational activities, makes him a great addition to the careers services unit. “Brian’s drive to make an impact is impressive. We are glad to have him at the college, where he will add value to an area that is so important for our students and corporate partners,” Wickert said.
Larson knows there will be challenges in his line of work because he’ll be dealing with a diverse group of customers, but he says the rewards make the effort worthwhile. “You can make a real difference in the work and lives of individuals if you are doing a good job,” he said.