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UW Crest with engineering background
October 31, 2022

Jacob Brunsberg: 2022 Early Career Award recipient

Written By: Staff

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Jacob Brunsberg

Jacob Brunsberg BSMS&E ‘09
President and CEO, Sigma Additive Solutions

We are honoring Jacob as a materials engineer who is a leader in advancing metal additive manufacturing technology, standards and quality and in providing mentorship and educational opportunities to youth in underserved communities.

How did you choose UW-Madison?

I knew I wanted to study engineering in the Midwest, somewhat closer to home in Minnesota. UW was a highly ranked engineering school while also having a soccer team—one that I wanted to try to walk on to. My soccer career came to an end after a couple of broken legs, but I did go on to student-manage the women’s team. I certainly made an incredible choice in school and couldn’t have been happier to find my way to the materials engineering program.

As a student, how did you spend your free time?

I typically had two or three part-time jobs in addition to school; Dr Pepper Energy Drink launch/distribution, Union South Bowling Alley, DJ at the Kollege Klub, UW Telefund, and UW Women’s soccer student manager were all in the mix over my time at UW. I played many intramural sports, and I belonged to Kappa Sigma fraternity. I completed two internships and one co-op. I am a firm believer that my materials studies, the intern/co-op work exposure, and the unique mix of student jobs/activities helped shape and accelerate my career after school.

Which engineering classes made the greatest impact on you?

The materials science lab included study of a product in the market, technical details, and ultimately tied to market value. My first formal scientific report pushed thinking in both detail and presentation. Macro-processing of materials was one of the most well-rounded exposures to the world of manufacturing processes and materials. This began my fascination for advanced materials and welding technologies. Micro-processing of materials focused on understanding and practice in class. The learning approach resonated strongly with me and made an additional impact as it provided visibility to future tech in the semiconductor space. My senior thesis, “Friction stir joining of dissimilar metals,” which gave me advanced welding technology exposure with criticality to industry and applications. This married engineering with business in a strong way for me, and led to my first job out of school in advanced welding and coating technologies.

What advice would you give students today?

Take time and learn the fundamentals of technology, but do not neglect the relationship of technology to industry applications and what might be critical to those organizations and their broader customer base. Whether on the engineering technology or business side, you will always have to understand return on investment.

Any hobbies or interests?

Family time, watching our kids experience new things, and chasing them around activities ranks right up there! I am an associate board member at the Sanneh Foundation, where our mission is to empower youth by supporting and promoting educational attainment through in-school and after-school support, improve lives by providing programs that strengthen physical health and social and emotional development, and unite communities by advancing diversity, equity, and community well-being. I also enjoy soccer (playing, coaching and going to games), golf, music concerts, world travel, trying new food, experiencing all kinds of live music, and last but not least, fireworks.