College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Exploring engineering excellence: Students are immersed in innovation at Sukup Manufacturing Facility visit

Power Pullers club looking at a tractor
Student group posing for photo

Students in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE) gained firsthand experience in the engineering industry with their latest classroom trip – a visit to the Sukup Manufacturing Facility, a facility known for its innovation and cutting-edge technology.

“It’s meaningful for students to go on trips like this because they gain a firsthand glimpse of what it’s like to work in specific industrial environments, specifically at Sukup Manufacturing in this case,” said Bailey Adams, assistant professor in ABE and host of the visit.

Throughout the day-long visit, students worked with student club leaders in the department to present all about their ABE club and how they are creating solutions for the future. From the Agricultural Systems Technology and American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers clubs presenting about themselves and their mission, to the Power Pullers club presenting their club tractors, students brought forward some of their most meaningful moments in the department through club collaboration.

“We really enjoyed the opportunity to see the student clubs speak and share their successes from their projects,” Renee Hansen, the External Relations Manager at Sukup, said.

A strong industry-academia partnership

Sukup Manufacturing has been a part of ABE for many years. Sukup actively sponsors research projects, collaborates with faculty members, supports senior design capstone projects, and fosters ABE clubs, opening avenues for students to secure job opportunities, while simultaneously fueling innovation and research endeavors. The company is the world’s largest family-owned and operated manufacturer of grain storage, grain drying and handling equipment. The company is headquartered in America’s Heartland, Sheffield, Iowa and employs more than 600 people on its more than one million square feet of office, manufacturing and warehouse space.

By inviting them to their facility, Sukup provided a gateway for students to witness the daily life of an engineer. This bridge between theory and practice enabled students to see their classroom knowledge come to life in a real-world setting.

Group listening in class

“Sukup welcomes students to our facility often and we believe that it offers students the opportunity to see what a day in the life of an engineer is like,” Hansen said. “Our ties to Iowa State University were a great fit to start this on-site visit tradition.”

By working together, industry and academia enhance talent recruitment, fuel innovation, and drive impactful research endeavors.

“Sukup Manufacturing is a key industry partner for the ABE,” Adams said. “Between sponsoring research projects and collaborations with faculty, supporting senior design Capstone projects and ABE clubs, providing job opportunities for our students, and many other activities, we highly value our overall public-private connection with Sukup and all of the corporate engagement efforts as part of this relationship.”

The visit to the Sukup Manufacturing Facility proved to be an unforgettable experience for the students in ABE, providing them with a deeper understanding of the engineering profession and the vast possibilities that await them.