Leveraging the Full Benefit of Diversity


A diverse and inclusive work environment helps all employees work more effectively and efficiently, both with their local teams and with colleagues around the world. This ability to work locally and globally allows Cummins to focus on leveraging the full power of the Company for its customers no matter where they are located.

One way Cummins works to create the right environment for success is through a program called Unleashing the Collective Power of Groups and Individuals, also known as the Affirmative Development Project. This project brings employees at all levels together to learn and practice skills that facilitate better understanding and engagement.

Workshops are customized for each participating group, depending on its specific needs, and help managers work more effectively with affinity groups, which are organized at Cummins around a specific demographic trait, and Local Diversity Councils, which are designed to promote diversity in general. The project’s goal: help all employees reach their full potential.

This project helps employees who are Affinity Group or Local Diversity Council members, as well as leaders, better align and strengthen their organizations. It helps managers and supervisors better connect with and lead diverse teams.

How it Works

While much of the discussion during the sessions is customized to meet the particular cultural needs of the audience, the framework remains the same around the world.

A series of one-on-one conversations with employees at all levels of the organization begins the workshop planning process. These conversations are intended to help the facilitators better understand the intricacies and concerns of the local cultures they will be working with throughout the project.

The second part is a full-day session with affinity group and Local Diversity Council members, their managers and the local leadership. This event offers a venue for employees to speak freely about issues, work collaboratively to develop plans to strengthen the impact of affinity groups and Local Diversity Councils, and explore ways to manage and work more effectively in diverse teams while also experiencing role modeling and championing from Cummins leaders.

The final part is a full-day session designed specifically to help managers and supervisors in managing their diverse teams. Through facilitated discussion and group exercises, managers develop action plans to assist them in connecting more productively with employees whose backgrounds and experiences are different than theirs.

A key challenge is to move their skills from good to great. Participants are surveyed before the workshops and 90 and 120 days after the sessions to gauge the short- and long-term effects of the training.

The project has been delivered in Columbus, Ind.; India and China in recent years. During the past 12 months, the initiative kicked off in Brazil and Australia.

In Brazil, more than 300 employees at all levels attended the sessions, which were conducted with simultaneous translation to ensure understanding. Four new employee resource groups were launched, including affinity groups for women, Generation Y, Afro-Brazilian and Special Needs.

“Our workshops in Brazil helped us as leaders to see opportunities to include perspectives that we may not have previously thought about,” said Luis Pasquotto, Vice President – South America Area Business Organization. “It’s important to capture the voices of employees at all levels. This workshop helped us rediscover the tremendous advantage our diversity gives us. Now we have more than a forum where those voices can be heard on a regular basis.”

Most recently, the project launched in Australia with the goal of re-energizing two employee resource groups: a Women’s Affinity Group and a Local Diversity Council, and launching an affinity group for apprentices.

“Everyone has a role to play in creating a great work environment,” said Gino Butera, Executive Managing Director, Asia Pacific.

“We saw how passionate employees are about creating an inclusive environment where everyone can realize their potential. This workshop allowed us to see how vested employees are in our success, and now we are working to ensure that we continually look for ways to empower these employees to share their perspectives.”

Employees give high praise for these sessions. Managers believe they are better equipped to handle difficult situations as a result of the workshops, and nearly every employee would recommend the workshops to colleagues.

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]


Katie Vows to Never Stop Learning

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Katie’s education in the business school at Indiana State University exposed her to many different aspects of business, from finance to marketing, to app development and more. She wasn’t afraid to try different things until she found her fit, and that variety of learning experiences is paying off.

Now a Project Manager for the Global Warranty Systems Transformation, Katie helps forge connections between IT and other areas of the company; something she is able to do because she understands multiple points of view. 

With Cummins since 2018, Katie was promoted to her current role in August, is pursuing her Six Sigma green belt, and is active with several employee projects. She embraces every opportunity to learn something new, whether on her own or from her colleagues.

I think a lot of people think you graduate college, you get a job and you're done, but, you know, you're constantly learning and you're never going to stop learning.”

Being from Terre Haute, Katie took note back in college that Cummins was a sponsor of Indy Pride. She recalls, “I started looking into them more and learned about their diversity and inclusion and I was like, ‘Oh wow, it's a really great company’.”

Katie ultimately found her job through the combination of a career fair and her personal network. “The person who came to recruit for Cummins was a past student of Indiana State and one of my professors knew him. So, I got a personal introduction outside of the career fair as well. I did my research and was really interested.” Lucky for Cummins, the right role was available.

The best part of her job, Katie says, is the people. “Every day I'm working with people all around the world. I've learned so much from them.” When she describes her 17-person team  she says, “when you need help, you can ask them. They’re understanding of things outside of work, you know, personal life and work-life balance.”

Katie continues, “It's a good mixture of people, too. There are men, women and different age groups - like all types of people, and it works really well. I know, at some point, I'm going to have to leave this team because you have to grow, but it's going to be really hard because they are like a family.”

One area where she has learned a lot about working with others is conflict resolution. In her role, she sometimes deals with a system malfunction or outage. Naturally, these events can cause a lot of frustration for users, so she has had to learn how to navigate those interactions positively.

What often makes a job especially rewarding are the little things one gets to do outside of the job description. As mentioned, Katie is working on her first Six Sigma project, which puts her on the path to earning her green belt. But that’s not all.

She helped start Cummins’ Pride Ally Program and co-leads the Southern Indiana Pride Employee Resource Group chapter. Outside of work, she is the leader of the Columbus, Indiana Pride Festival and is on a mission to visit all of the U.S. National Parks.

She took a moment to describe the Ally Program. “Basically, we have a form people can read and sign up to be an ally saying, ‘Yes. I support the LGBTQ+ community, and I'd be interested in learning more’. We try to have some visual cues to make people feel safe, like laptop decals and things that communicate ‘that's a safe person’.” She says they also commit to continuing education, with newsletters and quarterly lunch-and-learns.

Where does Katie see her career at Cummins taking her? She says she's not sure if she will continue developing her skills in project management or explore another direction. “I've looked into analytics as well,” she muses. “So those are kind of two paths that I'm looking at right now but definitely want to move into some type of management position, whichever way I go.”

As for others who may want to work at Cummins, she would highly recommend it. “The way I explain it is, yes, we're a big corporate global company but to me, it still has a small-town feeling. You're treated like a person, not a number, you're able to make meaningful connections even working remotely. I've been able to make some very good, meaningful connections and they're always encouraging you to grow.”

With her learning mindset, there’s no doubt that Katie will continue to grow as a professional and a fascinating individual.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Education on the fast track

IndyCar drivers building cars with students

Community Day presented by Cummins brings Indy 500 drivers to the classroom for a fun day of learning

With the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge quickly approaching, the racing spirit could be felt throughout the state of Indiana this week, and one event that got kids in the community excited was Indy 500 Community Day presented by Cummins. 

With more than 2,000 students participating across the city, and plenty of Cummins employee volunteers on hand to support, the May 24 event taught kindergarten to 8th grade students the importance of mental well-being, physical fitness and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Indianapolis Motor Speedway sent three drivers to each participating school to take part in a fun, hour-long assembly with the students, offering their perspective about the greatest spectacle in motor racing. 

Top drivers Josef Newgarden, Scott McLaughlin and Will Power, the 2018 race winner, joined 200 students and teachers at the Urban Act Academy. Meanwhile, at Thomas Gregg Neighborhood School, drivers Marcus Ericsson, last year’s race winner; 2008 winner Scott Dixon, and Alex Palou, the 2023 pole sitter, were joined by a special appearance from the Firestone Firehawk mascot and the race’s Borg-Warner trophy.   

Borg Warner trophy

Through Cummins’ Every Employee Every Community (EEEC) initiative, company employees supported the endeavor at Urban Act and Thomas Gregg, two east-side schools that partner with Cummins. 

“Investing in education helps Cummins build healthy and vibrant communities,” said Carole Casto, Vice President, Marketing and Communications at Cummins. “Partnering with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Community Day right here in our very own front yard is the perfect opportunity to reach our youth, connect them to not only one of the most famous races in the world, but also connect them to one of the most historical companies in the world - Cummins.”

Cummins and IMS have enjoyed a long history together since the first Indy 500 race in 1911. During that Inaugural Indy 500, Cummins’ founder, Clessie Cummins, served on the pit crew for the Marmon Wasp driven by race winner Ray Harroun. 

“Thomas Gregg Neighborhood School was really excited to be part of this opportunity with Cummins and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” says Anuja Petruniw, Director of Operations and Neighborhood Engagement. “Community Day was a chance for our students to learn about racing traditions in Indianapolis during the Month of May. For many of our students, they have never had the opportunity before to experience the excitement and history of the Indianapolis 500. Today, that changed because of Community Day! The ongoing partnership we have with Cummins is so special to us because of the opportunities our students get to engage with real STEM professionals while learning real-world skills that are preparing them for college and career."

The students, from 10 schools across Indianapolis, were wide-eyed as the drivers visited and talked about what it’s like to be a race car driver – relaying their experiences about the physicality, dedication and fun! 

Cummins volunteers helping students build cars

The students eagerly learned more about racing by not only hearing from the drivers directly but by also having the opportunity to participate in a variety of fun games and competitions. 

The sessions ended with the Indianapolis youth charged up for what lies ahead during Indy 500 race weekend, including a milk toast send-off for all the drivers! 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Navigating Customer Relationships during Covid-19: A Day in the Life of an Account Executive at Cummins

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In March 2020, after eight years working in various roles at Cummins, Grant joined the North America Business Leasing Team—the day the world shut down. As an account executive, Grant handles customer relationships for big-volume truck leasers like Penske, PacLease and Idealease. 

"Penske has almost 100,000 vehicles with Cummins engines and claims six to seven thousand warranties per month," Grant says. "On any given day, something can go wrong, and it's my job to be the voice of our customers and help claims get through quickly for them."  

Grant escalates customer issues from home, often with his three young boys playing in the background. Working remotely has been an adjustment for someone like Grant who thrives on face-to-face interaction, but he credits Cummins culture for his success in transitioning to fully remote work. 

"It's an extremely large company with over 70,000 employees globally operating in 193 countries," he says. "We build over 1M engines per year. We're everywhere. So easily, in a company this size, you could get lost. The culture could get away from itself. But what I've seen, from the top down—and I've experienced three CEOs since I've been here—they've built this really special culture of collaboration. Everyone is willing to roll up their sleeves and support each other. Leadership is accessible at every level." 

As a former collegiate cross-country coach for a D3 university, Grant appreciates the value of peer-to-peer collaboration and the mentoring and coaching he receives from his managers, who always seem to be looking for where he might be an asset next.

"My previous bosses [at Cummins], and especially the one I have right now, we talk about that every month. They ask me, 'What do you want to do next? What's the best thing for you? What do you enjoy? What do you not enjoy?' so that when an opportunity presents itself, I can be opportunistic," he says. 

Even if the opportunity is not the perfect fit, he understands that new roles can still benefit your career by pushing you and helping you grow. 

"Traditional managers want to keep you in a function because it's easy. You know it, and they don't have to retrain you," he says. "But as a complex organization, Cummins realizes that the broader base you build, the better suited you are to grow the business."

In much the same way Cummins is focused on a zero-emissions future with emerging energy technologies, Grant also realizes, "You're not moving anything forward if you're not improving what's coming up after you." 

Because of Grant's undergraduate degree in biology, he views corporate culture as an evolving ecosystem.

"For anything— whether it's an animal ecosystem or a complex organization of people—to be long-term sustainable, you have to have diversity," he says. "When you meld together diverse cultures, people, socioeconomic backgrounds, personalities, and thought processes, you get a variety of ideas to create positive friction. Ultimately that's what helps any business be more sustainable in the long term." 

Grant admits that, as a straight, white man who grew up in the Midwest, he didn't have much experience with diversity before Cummins. During his Cummins internship, he was in a cohort of 12 people, and, he says, "I was the only person who looked like me, which I had never experienced in my life, coming from small-town Ohio." 

Now in Columbus, IN (U.S.), he marvels at how Cummins, a multi-billion-dollar company, has managed to maintain a small-town feel. 

"Imagine a town of just 45,000 people, yet you have folks from many different countries sitting at an Applebee's. It's almost surreal. It's cool, and I'm excited for my boys because just by living in Columbus, near Cummins, they'll experience different cultures that I didn't get to while growing up."

When it comes to his boys, like most dads, Grant says his biggest remaining goal in life is to see his kids be successful and happy. He mentions a quote from Ogilvy that says something to the effect of trying to replace yourself with someone greater. 

"As a leader, I believe that. As a parent, I believe that," he says. "I want my boys to become leaders and coaches and see them succeed and help their own kids succeed. If I see that, I will feel like it was a well-lived life. And if I can help others, improve the world or save wildlife through my work at Cummins—let's go for it."

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Jamestown Engine Plant Ultrasound Program helps Lakewood Fire Station save energy costs to better serve community

Fire truck 372

Cummins Inc. employees are dedicated to building reliable engines for customers all over the world every day. It’s that kind of dedication that often extends beyond manufacturing plants and into volunteer work with surrounding communities and local organizations. For Jamestown Engine Plant (JEP) employees, Lakewood Fire Department in Lakewood, New York (U.S.) was one such organization. 

Air leaks in station air system and on apparatus at Lakewood Fire Station

When most people think of their local fire department, they think of big red trucks and fire hoses. Few think of air, but luckily for Lakewood Fire Department, Mr. Hallett did.

Hallett, a recently retired Cummins mechanic, reconnected with the Lakewood Fire Department and has been a volunteer firefighter since 1978. With just over 38 members and no on-site mechanics, this small but mighty squad is dedicated to creating safe working conditions for its volunteers and providing the best possible service to the community.

So, it was fate that Hallett, with his Cummins background and connections, was just the right man in the right place at the right time to discover how often the station air compressor was running to maintain system pressure.  

“Our four fire trucks are connected to the station air system for faster response times when calls come in,” stated Hallett. “We noted that our fire-horsepower compressor was starting up every 30 minutes which equals 48-times a day. It comes out to 17,520 starts per year. It was always hot to the touch.”

What is the Jamestown Ultrasound Program? 

From his experience as a Cummins mechanic, Hallett knew air leakage could cause the extended run time, so he sprayed soapy water on the fittings to find leaks and repaired the ones he could reach. He knew there were more, however, so he contacted Patty Warner, his friend and long-time Cummins colleague, to help. 

Warner has been with Cummins for 30 years and works in the Predictive Maintenance Group (PdM). Warner is joined by PdM colleagues Joash Chamberlain and Joseph Johnson, who have a combined 40 years of service under their belts. 

“We do vibration analysis on the equipment and infrared scans of the electrical cabinets, building envelope and the roof to identify wet insulation, oil analysis, oil usage and exhaust ventilation inspections. We have a borescope to inspect internal components of equipment if we need to,” Warner explained. “We also have the ultrasound program.” 
Hallett knew the ultrasound, which he calls “the sniffer,” would find the remaining leaks in the truck. He, Warner and Chamberlain checked all the fittings in several hundred feet of pipe. 

“That’s what they do at the plant. Even with the machine lines running, they can walk around with the sniffer and check for air leaks,” said Hallett. “There’s no way a person could hear those leaks. It’s like a dog’s ears. It’s ultrasonic.” 

How the JEP Ultrasound Program saved costs and improved efficiency

The station compressor starts 48 times a day – that’s a five-horsepower electric motor that refills the air tank in the building, and that air tank is plumbed to the fire trucks. The station also had two minor leaks in air hose reels with manual values thatwere turned on only when needed. Hallett says people think air is free, but it’s incredibly costly to compress air only to have it leak someplace it can’t be detected. 

Energy consumption, wear and tear on equipment and expense all decreased significantly after finding and fixing the leaks.

“We stopped the air compressor from cycling so often and lowered the number of runs,” said Hallett. “That eliminated close to 15,000 cycles per year! Now the compressor runs about five times daily instead of 48 times per day. With the compressor located near our main gathering area in the station, we don’t have to put up with the noise.” 

Warner felt honored to provide the Cummins ultrasound equipment that supported this endeavor. With more reliable equipment and peace of mind knowing their trucks no longer leak air, Lakewood Fire Department can better serve their community.

If interested in learning about Jamestown Engine Plant employees’ volunteer initiatives, don’t forget to explore how JEP raised over $12,000 to donate toys to patients at the local hospital.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

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