A Candy-Coated Career
Jake Bellucci ’12 finds his footing in the food industry
by Matt Hughes

Some chemical engineers develop life-saving drugs and more efficient energy systems. Others make our lives a little sweeter.

Jake Bellucci ’12 is the latter. Since graduating, the chemical engineering major has been a project engineer for Mars Inc., setting up new candy factories around the world and working on the team that first produced M&M’s Caramel.

“Oil, gas and pharmaceuticals are popular industries for chemical engineers, but that wasn’t really for me — food seemed more tangible,” he says.

As a student, his engineering courses (particularly a class in food engineering) helped Bellucci explore his interests and tailor his skills to help him succeed in the food industry. Since joining Mars, he’s helped open a new production facility in Topeka, Kan., and has worked on projects at other production facilities across the U.S. He says his work today has more to do with power and industrial controls than with chemistry and that ability to think on his feet, which he honed at Bucknell, has been a critical aspect of his success.

Jake Bellucci '12
Photo: Will Backus
Jake Bellucci ’12 helps M&M’s branch out into new flavors.

“You learn how to figure things out,” he says. “Your professors are there to answer questions, but they don’t preach to you. That kind of self-guided learning taught me to recognize a problem, then learn what I need to learn to solve it.”

He says he applies that approach every day at work. “Every project is different,” he says. “One day I might be setting up a line to make Snickers bars. On another, I might be doing utilities or working with steam and compressed air, and I have to figure it all out.”