Promoting Education through Safe Schools in Nigeria

africa illustration

Providing students the opportunity to learn in clean, functional and secure classrooms is considered the norm in many schools around the world. But for students and instructors at Eko Junior College in Lagos, Nigeria, this has, traditionally, been far from the truth. Employees from Cummins West Africa Limited (CWAL), the Cummins distributor based in Nigeria, recently partnered with the school governing body to unleash the "Power of Cummins" and improve the lives of scholars and teachers through a major renovation project.

Africa ABO Nigeria - 2 blog Eko Junior College hall prior to renovations by Cummins employees in Nigeria

 

Eko Junior College is located in Nigeria's capital city of Lagos, in an area where the majority of Cummins’ employees reside. The partnership between CWAL and Eko Junior College began when Cummins employees volunteered for mentoring activities aimed at improving academic grades. It didn't take long for the employee volunteers to realize that the classrooms - dangerous, exposed to the elements and furnished with old desks and chairs - created an environment where encouraging academic improvement was next to impossible.  But where there is difficulty often lies opportunity, and the employees took it upon themselves to turn a negative into a positive.

Africa ABO Nigeria - 1 blog Eko Junior College hall in Nigeria after renovations

 

"It was an incredible opportunity for 103 employees to unleash the power of Cummins and engage in renovation activities armed with enthusiasm, a good sense of humor and helping spirit" said Tony Brown, General Manager - After Market Business and sponsor of the project.

Aided by a grant from the Cummins Foundation, Cummins employees set their sights on renovating a block of six classrooms and the school hall, along with furnishing the building with new furniture. To ensure that the execution of the project was successful, the project was led by a committee consisting of parents, teachers and representatives from CWAL.

The dream became a reality on Dec. 15, 2014 - a mere 37 days after kicking the project off - when the project was commissioned by the Tutor General / Permanent Secretary for Education; a team of staff from the Lagos State Ministry of Education; and Cummins West Africa Limited staff.

Michael Nagel

Michael Nagel is the Digital Brand Reputation Manager - External Communications for Cummins Inc. He has more than 10 years of digital communications and traditional public relations experience, with a focus on social media marketing and digital communications. Michael earned his B.A. from the Indiana University School of Journalism - Indianapolis and currently resides in Indianapolis. 

Call of the Sea: Educating marine students using a Cummins hybrid tall ship

Matthew Turner vessel

People that grew up around the water know the impact that the sea can make on someone’s lifestyle. Whether summers were spent fishing with family, wakeboarding on the lake, or cruising the ocean coast, the memories don’t fade, and those experiences can cultivate a lifelong passion. 

Call of the Sea (COTS) is an organization based just north of San Francisco in Sausalito, California (USA) that recognizes the irresistible allure that comes with a life spent by the sea. That’s why they have been committed to marine education for students of all ages since their founding in 1985.

As an educational non-profit, COTS focuses on three main pillars; marine science, nautical heritage, and sailing and seamanship. For marine science, students learn about oceanography, the water column, the San Francisco Bay, marine life and humans’ impact on the marine environment. Nautical heritage teaches about the role that the ocean has played in history, such as maritime commerce or battles at sea. 

But when it comes to the hands-on experience, the vessels owned by COTS certainly deserve the spotlight. The organization has two boats that provide an irreplaceable educational experience for their third pillar: sailing and seamanship. Their inaugural ship, the schooner Seaward, has been a teaching platform for more than 50,000 students since 2004.

The newest COTS vessel, the brigantine Matthew Turner, was recently added to meet growing demand and offer additional opportunity for experience on the water. Modeled after the tall ship Galilee and named after its shipbuilder and designer, this beautiful boat took about seven years to build with generous donations and countless volunteer hours committed to the project.

But this ship isn’t any ordinary model – she’s made of and powered by materials and methods that meet the highest sustainability and recycling standards on the market. Additionally, she produces her own energy for propulsion through a state-of-the-art system that uses wind power to produce electrical generation. 

The hybrid solution, a BAE HybriGen Power and Propulsion System, paired with Cummins generators capture and repurpose natural energy from sailing. This allows the vessel to operate on a carbon-neutral basis, which means the amount of carbon released by the ship’s operation is offset by savings somewhere else in the system. 

Matthew Turner portrait

The COTS website details further information about the regenerative electric propulsion concept, “Energy to run our ship will come from regenerative power under sail, which can be fueled with bio-fuel, and dockside charging from solar panels and wind generators. Day-to-day operations are designed to minimize energy and water use with a waste management system that will repurpose, recycle and reduce waste.”

Not only does COTS teach students about the marine lifestyle and environment, the organization also lives the importance of sustainable solutions through their vessels’ operation. The Matthew Turner is an engineering phenomenon for any mariner, but being built and owned by an organization that will use its technology to shape, educate and inspire the next generation of sailors means its impact will last for generations to come.  

Call of the Sea is using their platform to create experiences for students that will one day be the memory they reference as their reason why they chose a life by the water. Because the only lifestyle fit for a mariner is one at sea. 

Katie Yoder - Cummins Inc.

Katie Yoder

Katie Yoder is a Marketing Communications Specialist. New to Cummins in 2018, Katie joined the marketing operations team where she supports trade show initiatives in North America. As a University of Wisconsin alumna, Katie enjoys watching Badger sports in her free time.

Employees team up to advance low-carbon energy in Minnesota cities

Team members gather around the new electric vehicle charging station developed in the city of Shoreview, Minnesota. Cummins employees contributed to the effort and are now working to create a charging station in the city of White Bear Lake (photo courtesy of the Great Plains Institute).
Team members gather around the new electric vehicle charging station developed in the city of Shoreview, Minnesota. Cummins employees contributed to the effort and are now working to create a charging station in the city of White Bear Lake (photo courtesy of the Great Plains Institute),

Corporate Responsibility Leader Emily Kocik thought a project to develop electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in communities near Cummins’ offices outside Minneapolis, Minnesota (U.S.), would be a good one, but she wanted to be sure.

So, she turned to Mary Bjork, who was sitting nearby (pre-pandemic), and, more importantly, drives an electric vehicle to work. Knowing a charging station can be critical, especially at the height of a cold Minnesota winter, Bjork emphatically agreed and soon Kocik was plugged into a new group of employees she hadn’t known existed.

“It turns out there’s an unofficial community of EV owners at Cummins,” said Kocik, who manages the company’s community engagement initiatives for Cummins’ offices in the greater Twin Cities area. “We just expanded out from there.”

Partnering with the cities of Shoreview and White Bear Lake, as well as the Great Plains Institute, an innovative group in Minnesota dedicated to working with communities to reduce their carbon impact, the Cummins team helped develop one new charging station earlier this year and is working on a second. 

“I really like this project because it involves a partnership between cities and a company that can provide technical and marketing expertise, and that can make such an important difference,” said Diana McKeown, the institute’s Clean Energy Resource Team Leader. “Cities are really strapped for resources these days.”

A PERFECT FIT

The partnership was ideal for Cummins, too, because the area is headquarters of the company’s Power Generation business, a world leader in the design and production of power generation equipment for a host of applications. Employees understand both the technical aspects of the business and customers’ growing interest in reducing their carbon impact. 

In 2019, Cummins adopted PLANET 2050, a new strategy to reduce its environmental impact, targeting 2050 for carbon neutrality at the company. Among the strategy’s goals: making community environments better “because we are there.”

“It really makes sense given the evolution of our company,” said Bjork, Global Commercial Mobile Marketing Manager at Cummins. “A lot of people still think of Cummins as a diesel engine company, but we’re really evolving into a global energy technology company.”

Working with financial support from the Cummins Foundation, the team brought both resources and a natural passion to the project. They learned how to use their job skills to partner from idea creation through government approval and ultimately to reality.

Shoreview, where the first charging station is located, and White Bear Lake are two of 141 cities and tribal nations participating in the Minnesota GreenStep Cities initiative, a voluntary challenge program that helps communities share insights and best practices to reach their sustainability goals. The program is celebrating its 10th anniversary. 

Projects like the charging stations can help cities meet their sustainability challenges, and also promote economic development by encouraging drivers to patronize nearby businesses while their vehicles are charging. 

THE BIG PICTURE

Cummins’ connection with the Great Plains Institute stems from the work of Satish Jayaram, Innovation Leader for Power Systems. Previously, his job at the company included developing partnerships involved in promoting low and zero carbon forms of energy. He was so impressed with the Great Plains Institute’s ability to work across political, municipal and geographic lines, he is today a board member.

“This project enables our employees to engage with their local communities in a way that’s very tangible and related to their job skills,” said Jayaram, who first suggested Kocik consider some kind of partnership involving the institute. “Plus, it allows them to gain skills in working with government to get things done. It’s just a start. I’d like to see us do more.”

That’s the plan, according to Kocik. After all, electric vehicles won’t charge themselves. At least not yet.

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]

 

Lessons from COVID-19 helping Cummins prepare for an uncertain future

Cummins and its employees are adjusting to the many changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cummins and its employees are adjusting to the many changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Conducting business in a pandemic has been replete with lessons for Cummins, ranging from the way the company conducts training to how it organizes plants and other facilities, Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger told an Indianapolis-based civic group last week.

Linebarger, however, said the importance of masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) has been perhaps the most valuable lesson, giving him optimism about the company’s ability to operate in the future while protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of all its stakeholders – employees, suppliers, customers, communities and shareholders, as well

Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger
Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger says the company's decision making was driven by the health and wellbeing of all of Cummins' stakeholders.

“The first thing we know is that masks and distancing work,” Linebarger said at the Economic Club of Indiana during a virtual event last Thursday (Sept. 17). “Knowing masks and distancing work has been a huge help to figuring out how to organize our work and think differently about things.”

THE COMPANY'S HEAD START

With a large presence in the Hubei province in China, Cummins had a front row seat at the epicenter of the pandemic. The company was well versed in the virus by the time it reached Europe and North America. While many U.S.-based businesses might have initially thought the pandemic’s impact would be limited and short-lived, Cummins leadership was deep into planning for the potential of a prolonged crisis, with the health and safety of the company’s employees, suppliers, customers and communities driving decision making.

Building on cost savings implemented in the last half of 2019  in anticipation of an economic downturn unrelated to COVID-19, Cummins leaders began looking for process improvements and efficiencies while strengthening the company’s financial position to ride out the impending crisis.

Cummins is critical to delivering a host of essential goods and services, powering the trucks that deliver food and medicine and the generators providing emergency power to hospitals, data centers and water treatment plants. In short order, the company figured out a way to supply PPE to employees while re-designing its plants to allow for social distancing. Those employees who could work from home were given access to the tools they needed to do their jobs. 

NEW WAYS OF WORKING

As the crisis continued, Cummins found other new ways of doing business. For instance, prior to COVID-19, service technicians were called in from various dealers and distributors all over the country to receive training on repairing Cummins engines. There is a large cost related to the travel and lodging of these technicians and the class sizes were limited. By going to virtual training, the travel and lodging costs reduced to zero and the class sizes have been increased. 

“We will never go back to the old way, where we will do service training in one headquarters,” Linebarger said. “There are dozens and dozens of opportunities like that; where we are looking at our company from the ground up to say how do we learn what we have learned during this pandemic, add it to what we know, to come up with a third way that’s better than either of those old ways.” 

When will operations return to normal? Linebarger said he expects Cummins will be dealing with the pandemic in some form or another for some time ahead.

“When you are thinking through about how to do this, it will not be short term” he said.

A special report on the company's response to COVID-19 can be found in the 2019 Sustainability Progress Report. Linebarger’s speech is available on the Economic Club of Indiana’s YouTube station. Future speakers include NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, broadcaster Mike Tirico and Eli Lilly and Company Chairman and CEO David Ricks.
 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Revisiting 5 things Cummins is doing to address climate concerns

Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger unveils Planet 2050 during a meeting with employees in the late fall of 2019.
Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger unveils Planet 2050 during a meeting with employees in the late fall of 2019.

As climate experts and activists meet this week for Climate Week 2020, here’s an update of a 2018 story on what Cummins is doing to address climate concerns. 

A lot has happened in the two years since that story was posted as the company pursues its mission of making people’s lives better by powering a more prosperous world: 

1.    PLANET 2050

In late 2019, Cummins unveiled PLANET 2050, an environmental strategy to address climate change and other environmental issues. The plan includes challenging, science-based goals timed to 2030 and aspirations through 2050, including carbon neutrality in the company’s products by the middle of the century. That target is consistent with the policy put forward last week by The Business Roundtable, an association of chief executives from leading corporations in the U.S.

“It’s clear that government, businesses, nongovernmental organizations and communities must unite behind swift, decisive action to address the environmental threats we face,” said Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger in introducing PLANET 2050.

The new 2030 goals will succeed the company’s 2020 environmental goals. The company finished 2019 having accomplished three of seven 2020 goals at least a year early, while narrowly missing a fourth.

2.    LOW- AND NO-CARBON PLATFORMS

Cummins' concept hydrogen fuel cell powered truck
In 2019, Cummins unveiled a demonstration hydrogen fuel cell platform to learn about its potential for long-haul trucking.

In 2019, the Cummins business segment formerly known as Electrified Power changed its name to New Power to reflect a broader mission after the company acquired Hydrogenics, a fuel cell and hydrogen production technologies company. New Power has been moving quickly ever since, announcing a number of initiatives, including a joint venture with NPROXX, a leader in hydrogen storage and transportation, and investments in Loop Energy, a leading provider of fuel cell electric range extenders for medium and heavy-duty transport applications.

Cummins is today involved in a variety of fuel cell and hydrogen production projects, providing, for example, the electrolyzer for the largest hydrogen production initiative of its kind in the U.S. CEO Tom Linebarger has joined the board of the Hydrogen Council, a global initiative of leading energy, transport and industry companies supporting the promising fuel source.

Meanwhile, the company produced an electrified powertrain for the urban bus and truck market in 2019. The Big Blue Bus in Santa Monica, California (U.S.), unveiled its first-ever electric bus in 2019, a GILLIG battery-electric model using the new Cummins’ platform. Cummins also built and delivered to the Blue Bird Corporation more than 100 fully electric drivetrains to power electrified school buses. 

3.    IMPROVING DIESEL AND NATURAL GAS PRODUCTS

Cummins continued leading the way in diesel technology in 2019, launching its 2020 X15 Efficiency Series engine for heavy duty trucks about a year prior to regulatory requirements. The new X15 offers improved fuel economy and further reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Cummins’ X15 series diesel engine has been market leader for heavy duty engines.
Cummins’ X15 series diesel engine has been a market leader for heavy duty engines. 

Advances in emission control technology, paired with ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, have significantly decreased diesel emissions and environmental impact, positioning modern diesel technology as an important bridge to the low- and no-carbon fuels of the future.

In 2019, the L9N natural gas engine, considered one of the world’s cleanest internal combustion engines, also expanded its reach to South America, helping to power the transit system in Santiago, Chile. Especially when paired with renewable natural gas, the L9N can achieve extremely low emissions and environmental impact.

4.    PROMOTING RENEWABLE ENERGY

Back in 2018, Cummins had just announced a deal to support the expansion of an Indiana wind farm. Two years later, the expansion is complete, and the portion Cummins backed through a virtual power purchase agreement is sending enough renewable energy to the grid to nearly offset all of the electricity the company uses at its Indiana facilities from traditional sources.

The Cummins-supported expansion at the Meadow Lake Wind Farm in northwest Indiana consists of some of the tallest wind turbines in service in the world today.
The Cummins-supported expansion at the Meadow Lake Wind Farm in northwest Indiana consists of some of the tallest wind turbines in service in the world today.

In addition, the company ended 2019 with 25 onsite solar photovoltaic installations in operation with a total generation capacity of 16.9 MW (see page 25 of the 2019 Sustainability Progress Report). The company has a number of projects planned for 2020, although the COVID-19 pandemic could alter those plans

Cummins’ approach is basically to add renewable power to sites where it makes physical and economic sense. It doesn’t make sense, for example, to add wind or solar power where it isn’t regularly windy or sunny. 
 
5.    ADVOCATING FOR A HEALTHIER TOMORROW

Cummins supports tough, clear and enforceable regulations that promote innovation. The company advocates for these regulations around the world, believing Cummins’ unrivaled technical staff will design products meeting those regulations better and faster than the competition.

Dr. Wayne Eckerle, Vice President of Global Research and Technology at Cummins, testifies before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change in Washington, D.C.in 2019.
Dr. Wayne Eckerle, Vice President of Global Research and Technology at Cummins, testifies before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change in Washington, D.C.in 2019.

In China and India, the company engaged with policymakers in 2019 and 2020 to ensure oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) standards for conventional technologies are fully implemented and enforced, establishing the rules of the road for new technologies.

In the U.S., the company lobbied for and supports Phase 2 of the U.S. GHG/ fuel efficiency regulations passed in 2016, and is working with the U.S. EPA and the California (U.S.) Air Resources Board as they develop new regulations to reduce NOx emissions for on-highway engines.

The bottom line since 2018? Cummins is committed to powering a more prosperous world and that means doing its part to contribute to a cleaner environment for everyone as the company looks ahead to its next 100 years.      

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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]

 

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