Learn about GoCollegeNow

Agriculture Career of the Month:
Electrical Engineer

ADMEvery day, the 30,000 people of Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) turn crops into renewable products that meet the demands of a growing world. And every month, ADM is proud to provide a glimpse into the wide variety of careers that a college education can prepare you for in the agricultural field.

This month, we take a look at the career path for an Electrical Engineer.

What's the Job Description?
Like most engineering careers at ADM, the typical career path for an Electrical Engineer begins as a Production Engineer at a processing plant. Recent engineering graduates gain first-hand exposure to leadership and troubleshooting -- and dealing with the unique challenges of a facility that operates around the clock, 365 days per year. After a few months of on-the-job training and observation of members of the management team, new engineers are typically assigned responsibility for a work group on rotating shifts. Production Engineers assure that jobs are covered, employees are adequately trained, work is done in keeping with the ADM Safety culture, and customer needs are met through production of a high volume of quality products. This experience is invaluable in providing firsthand knowledge of the plant, processes, products and employees in the real world of manufacturing at ADM.

In addition, Production Engineers apply their expertise in an engineering field to monitor production processes and equipment, solve production problems, and provide input to process improvements. One longtime ADM employee who started out in Electrical Engineering provides a few details: "ADM can provide exposure to a very broad scope of electrical engineering, ranging from computer and process control design and programming, to design and construction of high voltage substations ... [a]s your achievements increase, you are encouraged to expand your areas of expertise, often becoming a valuable resource to other facilities in ADM."

We also spoke to a current electrical engineer, who has worked at ADM for around four years. He says, "Electrical Engineers start at a plant and are responsible for the electrical maintenance and upgrade projects. The is the best time to get your hands dirty and learn how everything works and typical uses for equipment." And he adds: "One of the great things about being an engineer for ADM is that you get the full project management experience – initial design, cost analysis, installation, commissioning, troubleshooting, etc. When you have a project, you do everything for that project – you aren’t involved in just one part."

How Much Can I Make?
We pay competitively based upon the industry, the responsibilities of the job as well as candidates’ experience.

What's the Career Path Like?
Production Engineer experience provides an outstanding foundation on which to build a career in Electrical Engineering. After a year or so as a Production Engineer, employees advance to opportunities as Process Engineers, Project Engineers and in operations management, finding increasing responsibility (and rewards).

The longtime employee and current Engineering Supervisor we interviewed told us: "I started out managing construction and maintenance at a corn and soy oil extraction facility, gaining valuable knowledge of what is needed for reliable electrical systems. Since those first years at ADM, I have been involved in the maintenance, design and installation of small and large process facilities and power plants located throughout the world, using my knowledge and experience when and where the needs arise."

The current engineer we spoke with gave us some more details of his path as well. "When first hired, I started as the Electrical Engineer at the Decatur Cogeneration Plant, where I was in charge of the power distribution to 5 processing plants, the research center and ADM Corporate headquarters. I had big shoes to fill starting from my first day, but there were always people to guide me in the right direction," he says.

"I spent six months on the hourly shift schedule to meet all of the people that work in the plant -- and, most importantly, to learn about how changes in one part of the plant affect the electrical generation. After being at the plant for almost three years, I wanted to get experience consulting in many locations across the country. A position opened in the central electrical engineering team for ADM, so I applied and started a few months later. I now have experience with systems at small facilities as well as multi-million dollar projects for large processing plants and I compile electrical studies to make ADM an even safer place for people to work!"

What Are the Job Requirements?
Successful candidates will be graduating with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, preferably with a GPA of 2.8 or greater.

Find out more about working at ADM.

The Dream Award

Dream Award Scholarship America’s Dream Award is a renewable scholarship fund targeted toward completion. These annually-increasing awards will be given to students selected from across the nation who are entering their second year of education beyond high school.

The Scholar

Our print newsletter is issued three times each year, and is also available via email. Each issue looks at how we design and deliver impactful programs -- and how we engage with students, scholarship providers and policymakers.


Take a look at recent and archived issues below, and subscribe here so you don't miss a thing.

Success By Degrees

Scholarship America's blog, Success By Degrees, covers items of interest to parents, volunteers, educators and anyone interested in the big issues surrounding education, financial aid and postsecondary success. You'll find policy announcements, news releases and more, every week!

Become a Volunteer