Adam Rupp

Adam Rupp | Manufacturing Engineer | Alexandria Industries 

ALEXANDRIA, MINN. ― From dirt bikes to boating, fishing and snowmobiling, Adam Rupp’s hobbies as a kid growing up in New London, Minnesota were quintessentially Minnesotan.

He shared his love of dirt biking with his brother, and he tells us growing up, it seemed like every week they were taking apart their bikes to work on something. Little did Adam know, that love of tinkering, deconstructing, and putting it back together were the beginnings of a promising engineering career.

After high school, Adam attended Alexandria Technical and Community College where he took courses in a program called mechatronics. From there his passion was sparked and he continued his studies at St. Cloud State University (SCSU), graduating from the mechanical engineering program, and later earning a master’s in business administration.

“I first got introduced to Alexandria Industries when I was a sophomore at SCSU. It had a summer internship opening, so I applied and got the job. I became extremely interested in manufacturing from the first day I walked through the door,” Adam tells us.

Adam has worked for Alexandria Industries for more than 10 years. The nature of both his responsibilities and the company’s work, have changed a lot over that time.

 

“For me, moving to Alexandria was an easy decision. The city has a broad manufacturing base, so from the professional skill-set side, it had what I wanted to support my career. My family is also from Minnesota. The amount of manufacturing jobs in Minnesota is pretty substantial, so I was glad to see that Minnesota supported not only my career interest but my personal life as well,” Adam explains.

As a manufacturing engineer for AIexandria Industries, Adam develops and implements manufacturing systems and processes used to create components out of aluminum extrusions. Picture a playdough toy that presses soft and malleable dough through an opening to squeeze out specific shapes ― that’s what Alexandria Industries does with aluminum for a myriad of different products. It has been successfully extruding and fabricating aluminum for more than 50 years.

Adam explains that the company is diversified, intentionally working with different markets. One of those markets has been drawing an increasing amount of Alexandria Industries’ attention lately ―the solar industry.

 

Solar Racking and Mounting

While most folks might be thinking about the solar panels themselves — Adam spends his time thinking about the racking and creating a support system to hold the panels in place.  

“A fun fact about solar racking; each component for one solar rack is made with its own manufacturing process. We looked at every different piece individually. How are we going to make this component? What's the smartest way to manufacture it? Some pieces are made on machines we purchased, and some of them are made using proprietary equipment we designed and made in-house,” Adam explains.

Adam says the solar market has quickly become an important part of Alexandria Industries business model —making up around 10 percent of its work. A decade ago when he started with the company, he says solar wasn’t even on their radar.

Alexandria’s experience with solar follows a statewide trend. The number of jobs in solar has steadily increased over the years ― and between 2016 and 2017 the industry experienced an explosive 48 percent job growth according to the Solar Foundation’s 2017 Jobs Census Report.

“I was thrilled to be a part of the solar business as we brought it on. It's been great to see the number of jobs being added to your local economy when you bring on new markets like this into the company,” he says. Adam adds that he gets a lot of pride out of working with the solar industry and seeing what it brings to his company.

In 2017, Minnesota saw 4,256 people employed by the solar industry – up from 2,872 in 2016. This rapid growth in renewables represents a job growth 11 times faster than the statewide average (2017 Clean Jobs Midwest Report). In fact, Adam is one of more than 57,000 Minnesotans working in the clean energy sector.

Adam says watching the transformation the clean energy sector has made on Alexandria Industries has been eye opening. He is looking forward to its continued growth and industry changes that will ideally make for a better, brighter future for his family.

“I'm looking forward to seeing solar and the entire clean energy sector continue to grow into the future. I believe there will be new ideas brought to the table in ten years that we can’t even imagine right now. I may not see the full benefit of these changes, but my children and future generations will. It is exciting knowing that I helped get that started here at Alexandria Industries.”