College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

ABE Alum Spotlight: Jacob Bickett – engineering professionalism, starting at ISU

Jacob Bickett standing in front of equipment.
Jacob Bickett standing in front of equipment.

Jacob Bickett graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering in the fall of 2020. He grew up in north central Illinois, farming row crops with his family. Combining his love for agriculture and knack for mathematics and mechanics, Bickett was bound for a career in agricultural engineering.  


Undergraduate at ISU  

Bickett stayed busy during his time at Iowa State. He was primarily involved in the Cyclone Power Pullers ¼ Scale Tractor Pulling Team. During his time with this group, he held leadership positions as well as refined his engineering skills. Specifically, he worked on power train development and machining for this team. “It gave me a pretty good idea of things that you don’t necessarily get in class,” Bickett said. “The experience was a bit more wholesome than purely using academics to learn.” 

Power Pullers also boosted his experience and confidence in professional exposure. The team designs and builds a ¼ scale-pulling tractor each year from ground zero. This requires members to do a lot of networking and business with industry vendors. “I wouldn’t be nearly as understanding of their capabilities and business if I wasn’t on the team,” Bickett said.  

Bickett also gained hands-on experience through internships. One summer, he had the opportunity to work with Professor of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering, Matt Darr, helping with research and development concerning ethanol. Bickett also worked with Mobile Track Solutions in 2019, which eventually led to a full-time position.  


Engineering as a professional 

Bickett is now an Engineering Manager for Mobile Trackside Solutions. In his day-to-day, he does anything from project management to research and development and everything in between. As a manager, he has to be multi-faceted and ready for any issues that may come his way.  

Because of this, he is constantly learning and adjusting. “Working with a smaller company has helped me understand how engineering as a discipline fits into the bigger business,” Bickett said. “Taking our classroom knowledge and combining it with business experience and money, it is clearer to understand the long-term and short-term impacts of the business, client, and employee.”   

One of Bickett’s biggest pieces of advice for current and graduating students is to never lose the willingness to learn something. “If you get too focused, you will start to suffer personal expense, business expense, and in general. If you are willing to learn and listen, you will become a better and more well-rounded individual,” Bickett said.  

Now in a successful career and continuing learning, Jacob Bickett started his journey in agricultural engineering at Iowa State.