Fluid Power Journal

Profile: Dr. Brian Steward

brian-steward

Profile Data: Dr. Brian Steward, PhD, PE, CFPHS, has taught fluid power courses since 1999 when he joined the faculty of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University. He developed a fluid power lab that is used for engineering and technology courses. His educational background includes degrees in Electrical Engineering and Agricultural Engineering from South Dakota State University and University of Illinois. Before studying at Illinois, he worked for five years at Raven Industries designing flow-control systems for agriculture. He is the first instructor to take advantage of the FPEF grant for a free certification test, and he successfully obtained his IFPS Hydraulic Specialist (HS) certification. For more information, Dr. Steward can be reached at bsteward@iastate.edu.

Why did you decide to take the IFPS Hydraulic Specialist Certification test?

I knew about the IFPS certification program for several years and wanted to become certified. One main reason that I wanted to be certified was that my example, as the instructor of the fluid power courses at Iowa State, would be an encouragement for my students to become certified, as well. Certification or other credentialing is important, because it demonstrates that as a professional, you have entered into a “community of practice,” and the community has formally recognized you as a competent member. Certification is part of becoming a professional.

What did the process teach you?

Whenever I have gone through any credentialing process, including IFPS certification, I have learned more clearly how the community approaches and views the technical content and the professional practice of that community.

How and why did you decide to apply for the FPEF grant?

I had been planning to move forward with IFPS certification for several years, but was not able move it to the top of my priority list.  However, when I learned about the grant, I decided to take the opportunity because it provided incentive to move ahead with the process. I had also wanted to start promoting certification to the students in my fluid power courses, but thought it would be best to first go through the process so that I could better promote with the knowledge gained.

What specifically does Iowa State University offer students interested in becoming certified? Why do you feel these initiatives are so important for students and for the future of the fluid power industry?

We offer two courses at Iowa State specifically focused on fluid power. One course, Fluid Power Engineering, is offered to engineering students, and the other class, Fluid Power System Technology is taught at a technology level for our technology programs.

Both classes provide an introduction to fluid power. Students who complete these courses should be ready to proceed with the IFPS Hydraulic Specialist certification. The courses have a hands-on laboratory component in the Danfoss fluid power lab in our department. Certification testing is also now available through the Iowa State University testing center, so students can easily become certified without ever needing to leave campus.

How do you feel this certification will help you in your career as an educator?

IFPS certification will help me make a larger impact on the fluid power industry through my educational, research, and outreach programs.

Why do you feel the FPEF is important?

FPEF plays an important role in raising the visibility of fluid power industry careers to students by providing them with pathways and incentives to pursue career paths in fluid power.

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system—the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.* For more information, visit www.abe.iastate.edu.

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* Text obtained through the college website.

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