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Alumni Profiles

Chad Yagow

Chad Yagow

Hometown: Lincoln, IL

Graduation Information

Bachelors: 2001 Agricultural Engineering (COE) and Agricultural Engineering Sciences (ACES)

Work Information

Company: John Deere
Number of Years Worked: 7

How did you obtain your job?

I participated in John Deere's summer internship program and was offered a position at the end of my internship.

What do you enjoy most about your position?

I have travelled extensively across the U.S. and internationally and been able to witness various crops and crop production methods. Interacting with customers and learning about their businesses and challenges while also working to improve product performance is very educational and rewarding.

What advice can you provide current students seeking a career in this field?

First, make sure it's the career you want. Get some experience in that field and don't be afraid to experience other careers or other fields before you commit to a single career. (I had two extensive experiences in corn breeding with two of the seed industry giants before my summer experience with John Deere and they were invaluable for numerous reasons.) Next, be aggressive in approaching employers. Obtaining a job out of college is all about marketing yourself. Finally, remember that the interview process is as much you interviewing the company as the company interviewing you. Ask about health care, bonuses, vacation, retirement, flex time, etc. Feeling comfortable with the corporate climate of your employer is an important factor that many new graduates don't consider.


  • American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) Presidential Citation (2000, 2001, 2003, 2005)
  • ASABE Quad City Section Young Member of the Year (2007, Inagural Year)
  • Quad Cities Engineering and Sciences Council (QCESC) Young Engineer of the Year (2008)
  • ASABE Gale Holloway Professional Development Award (2008, Inagural Year)

College of ACES

What was your favorite memory as a student in the College of ACES?

I had a lot of good memories from my time in the College of ACES. As a dual major in engineering, I enjoyed the ACES subjects I was studying and the camaraderie with the students in those classes. ACES was definately more of a family.

What was your favorite ACES class and why?

My favorite ACES class was Economic Systems of Rural Africa. It was my first opportunity to consider production agriculture, economics, and society beyond what I had experienced growing up in Central Illinois. It really expanded my horizons.

How do you feel the College of ACES prepared you for your future?

I feel the classes I took in the College of ACES gave me a leg up in obtaining an internship with John Deere as I had a more diverse education than other engineers I was competing against. I also feel that diversification is still paying dividends today, as I have been given unique opportunities at work due to my deep understanding of production agriculture and agricultural markets.

What advice would you give current students while a student in the College of ACES?

I have two pieces of advice. First, take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. You never know what you might learn or where it might lead you, and it probably won't present itself again. Second, get involved! Whether it's a club associated with your major, sports, religion, whatever! These clubs will build your resume while offering opportunities for personal development, networking, and of course fun!

University of Illinois

Why did you choose to come to the University of Illinois and College of ACES?

There really wasn't another choice. I've bled orange and blue since I was little. I can't count how many open houses I attended, so I was very familiar with the campus and a number of the faculty and staff. The UofI was also the only university that offered me the opportunity to study both of my interests, engineering and agriculture, concurrently. Oh, and the JBT scholarship didn't hurt, either.

What is your favorite memory on campus?

I think my favorite memory was walking across the stage at Krannert with all the other ACES graduates, knowing that I had accomplished my goal of graduating with a degree from the University of Illinois and the College of ACES.

What activities were you involved in on campus?

  • Student Branch of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
  • University Lutheran Church
  • Beta Sigma Psi Fraternity
  • University of Illinois Rodeo Club

College of ACES Alumni Association - University of Illinois
124 ACES Library, Information and Alumni Center
1101 S. Goodwin Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801
217-333-7744 (office)       217-244-4511 (fax)