Q & A with John Roberts

CIRAS employee John Roberts
John Roberts, Industry Extension Specialist IV

Q & A with John Roberts 

Role: Industry Extension Specialist IV

Q: Tell me about your job and how it contributes to the overall goals of CIRAS to help companies prosper.

My CIRAS job has evolved over the past 27 years. Working initially as a student doing AutoCAD to my current position of providing direct engineering assistance to Iowa companies. During this time, by working with some great people, including many from the companies we help, I have gained knowledge and experience on how to assist companies. From this, my objective is simple. Assist any Iowa company I can in areas I feel capable of and provide them with usable results in a reasonable amount of time. I believe that aligns well with CIRAS’s overall goals.

Q: What skills or experiences have prepared you for this job?

The experience of growing up and working in and around farmers provided a good foundation. Obtaining an engineering degree at ISU contributed significantly to prepare me for the work I do at CIRAS.

Q: What types of companies do you work with?

Metal fabrication covers the majority of the types of companies I work with. Fortunately, there are a lot of metal fabrication companies operating in Iowa.

Q: What opportunities for advancement are available for companies by working with CIRAS?

Wow, I don’t think there is enough available E-News space to answer this question. CIRAS has grown so much during my employment here. My answer to this is when CIRAS becomes aware of an opportunity that can provide advancement for Iowa companies we do a good job of making those opportunities available to them.

Q: How do you stay updated on the latest developments or trends in manufacturing/government contracting?

I read industry periodicals, attend trade shows, and watch webinars. However, the majority of what I do relies on knowledge of the physical sciences and fundamental engineering principles that have been around for a very long time.

Q: What is the best part of your job?

Working at a great Iowa university assisting Iowa companies to help them succeed and employ Iowa people who can contribute to the vitality of their families and the Iowa communities where they live. I am an Iowa guy!

For more information, contact John Roberts at jarobert@iastate.edu or 515-294-0932.