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Jacobs Employee Rowing His Way Toward World Championships

Jacobs’ Jasper Liu and his crew earned a spot on the U.S. National Rowing Team and will compete in Austria for a chance to bring home a medal from the World Championships.

On July 10, a crew with Jacobs’ Jasper Liu, an engineer in training supporting Rail & Transit projects from the firm’s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, office, earned a spot on the U.S. National Rowing Team. Jasper’s team, including Zach Heese, Danny Madden and Peter Schmidt first began working together in December 2018 and have trained and competed together since. 

Their hard work paid off as the crew will be competing in the World Championships in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria, beginning the week of August 26. According to Jasper, “After seeing our times in training and our results on race day, we feel like we can bring home a medal from Worlds.” This year’s world championships serve as the initial country qualifier for the 2020 Olympic Games.

A native of Phoenix, Arizona, Jasper attended the University of Pennsylvania, rowing for the Varsity Lightweight Crew and graduating in 2017 with Academic All-Ivy League recognition. After graduation, he remained in Philadelphia, working and rowing with the goal of making the 2020 Olympic Team.

A Q&A with Jasper Liu

What inspired you to pursue engineering?I’m drawn to engineering because I love discovering how the world around me works.

When or how did you first get involved in rowing?I learned to row at the University of Pennsylvania as a walk-on to the rowing team. My mom had been friends with rowers and suggested that I would like it. Six years later, here I am.

What is your most exciting career moment?Going out into the field for the first time. I had been working and learning the ropes for about a year before I had the chance to walk through a rail yard and see what our ends results look like.

What about Jacobs made you excited to work here? The culture and the people. To train as much as I can, I work a modified-full time schedule. The fact that such a flexible schedule is already set up by the company showed me that Jacobs and the people here would be supportive and understanding of my demanding training.

What does your team’s spot on the U.S. Rowing Team mean to you?To me, a spot on the team is a recognition of all our sacrifices made and hours of training devoted to this sport. On one hand, it means a lot to get to this point, but we also have a lot of work in front of us as we prepare to compete on the highest level against the world’s best.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?In college, my senior design team built an automated omelet maker (The Automelette), winning the Judges’ Choice Award in the mechanical engineering senior design day.

What is something people would be surprised to know about the sport of rowing or rowing community? Rowing is the oldest intercollegiate sport – the first race was held between Harvard and Yale in 1852 (basketball and football hadn’t even been invented as sports).

The Automolette
The Automolette

Supporting their goal

As amateur athletes, Jasper and his crew rely on support for costs associated with this opportunity (flights, hotels, race fees, boat rentals, etc.) The crew commits significant amounts of time to make this goal possible. Interested in learning how to support them as they work toward a podium spot at the World Championships for the first time in 21 years? Click here.

Best of luck to Jasper and his crew this August!

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