Talking Cummins Truck Targets Future Engineers

Cummins Engineers Tom McKinley (left) and Mahesh Yanamandram (right) built a challenge for Iridescent’s CuriosityMachine.org to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). A video promoting the challenge features them as cartoon characters.

ENGINEERS MAHESH YANAMANDRAM AND TOM McKINLEY WORK WITH HEAVY-DUTY TRUCK ENGINES AT CUMMINS. SO DESIGNING ENGINES MADE OF CARDBOARD, BOTTLE CAPS, RUBBER BANDS AND STRAWS WAS A LITTLE DIFFERENT FOR THEM.

But talking trucks are cool whether it’s an 18-wheeler heading down the highway or a kid’s STEM challenge built around the kitchen table.  It didn’t take long for the two men to agree it was the perfect idea for a Cummins-themed challenge on the popular website CurriosityMachine.org.

“Our engines are talking all the time,” said Yanamandram, a senior engineer in Cummins’ Engine Business who works with customers to make sure their engines run properly. “Through telematics our engines are constantly telling us whether they are too hot, or too cold, or need something to help them perform  better.”

McKinley

 

“The data our engines send out over the air is not all that different from the way people send text messages,” added McKinley, Systems Integration and Validation Director in the Engine Business. “When Mahesh first suggested building a talking truck, I thought it was a great idea.”

The goal of CuriosityMachine.org is to get kids excited about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Sponsored by Iridescent, a science education non-profit, the website features design challenges using household materials to show kids a career in STEM can be both fun and rewarding.

Challenges on the platform typically include a list of building materials, some basic prompts, pictures of the finished product and a video designed to help kids think about possible solutions. Students are then encouraged to follow the standard engineering design process – Inspiration, Plan, Build, Test, Redesign and Reflect.

Yanamandram

 

THE HACKATHON

The talking truck was the culmination of an effort lasting several months to come up with a Cummins-themed challenge. Involving about two dozen engineers, the Cummins Curiosity Machine Hackathon was funded in honor of retired Cummins Vice President and Chief Technical Officer John Wall, who championed numerous efforts to develop future engineers during his nearly 30 years with the company.

Project organizers and Cummins Engineers Mukul Aggarwal and Tripti Gupta said participants were put through a rigorous screening process until 10 finalists emerged. The finalists were then placed on two-person teams based on their diverse qualities in hopes of coming up with the most creative designs.

Aggarwal and Gupta said there were many great ideas among the Cummins finalists:

  • A self-stopping car that can avoid collisions made from a cardboard box, a small motor, clips and other easily accessible materials (Jeff Daiker and Karthik Jagadevan).
  • An engine made of plastic cups, a cardboard box and other household materials (Carol Moreno and Katelyn Perera).
  • A transmission made from cans, duct-tape and Styrofoam (Danielle Lewis and Matthew Turczi).
  • And a fuel delivery system made with aquarium tubing, a water bottle and other material (Aditi Rana and Prashanth Oruganti).

“We want to celebrate everyone’s hard work, which made the hackathon a huge success,” said Gupta, Technical Productivity and Reliability Leader in New and Recon Parts Engineering. “All the teams came up with innovative ways of creating simple challenges from complex Cummins engineering designs.”

Yanamandram and McKinley work in the same general area in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.A.), but before the hackathon they had never met. The laid-back McKinley might have seemed an unlikely pairing with the ebullient Yanamandram, who said his biggest fear upon learning who his partner would be was “overwhelming Tom with my enthusiasm.”  But they worked well together over the three or four sessions needed to come up with a design challenge.

The final decision on which project would get posted was made by Iridescent, which took into account several factors including what might best capture the interest of the students who use the site.

AN EXTRA BENEFIT

In addition to having their challenge added to CuriosityMachine.org, Yanamandram and McKinley also now have the distinction of being transformed into cartoon characters by the website as part of the challenge video designed to inspire potential participants.

“That was quite a surprise,” said McKinley. “Everyone who knows me and has seen it kind of does a double take. But that’s good.”

“I loved watching cartoons when I was young,” said Yanamandram, laughing.  “Watching myself as a cartoon in reality was an amazing feeling. It was one of my childhood dreams coming true!”

WATCH THE VIDEO AND TAKE THE CHALLENGE

If you want to take the Cummins challenge visit the Curiosity Machine website. You can also see the challenge in action by watching the video below.

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]

 

Employee drives Meal Train to feed health care workers on the front lines

The Meal Train's food and desserts have been a big hit among frontline healthcare workers in Columbus, Indiana.
The Meal Train's food and desserts have been a big hit among frontline healthcare workers in Columbus, Indiana.

Healthcare workers have been on the frontlines since COVID-19 first arrived. Cummins Tax Accountant and former Columbus Regional Health (CRH) employee Courtney Imlay knows better than most what they have been enduring during this pandemic and felt compelled to help. 

Imlay had been thinking and praying for guidance to make an impact in her home community of Columbus, Indiana, and help her former colleagues at Columbus Regional Hospital. Her prayers were answered when she heard about a Meal Train taking place in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

"I heard on the news an individual in Indianapolis had created a Meal Train to provide meals for essential employees at the hospitals in Indianapolis,” Imlay said. “I thought that’s it! I could create one to provide meals for essential employees at Columbus Regional Hospital in the critical needs departments."

Meal Train is a crowd sourcing platform based in Burlington, Vermont, that was created in 2010 after a couple organized meals to support a neighborhood family that had a baby. The site allows community members to sign up to pay for meals from community restaurants that are then delivered to recipients and is now used by people around-the-world.  

PUTTING THE TRAIN INTO MOTION

As a former CRH employee, Imlay knew who she needed to contact to make the Meal Train happen and reached out to the CRH Director of Volunteer Services to get everything going.

“After connecting with Rebekah (Walsh) to make sure everything was good at CRH, I posted about the Meal Train on my personal Facebook page, reached out to churches in the community and asked them to post on their social media, and asked CRH to share on their social media.” 

The response by the community was immediate; several individuals, families and small groups signed up to fill the available meal slots. Additionally, several people donated money toward the effort. The response allowed the Meal Train to go beyond frontline workers at CRH and extend to two clinics in the area, PromtMed COVID Clinic and the Family and Internal Medicine COVID Clinic. 

Imlay's Meal Train provided lunch and dinner for 30 individuals at CRH, lunch for 18 employees at PromptMed COVID Clinic, and lunch for 18 employees at the Family and Internal Medicine COVID Clinic. 

“We were able to provide meals for an entire two weeks leading up to the hospital opening back up on May 4,” Imlay said. “On May 4, when the hospital opened back up allowing procedures to happen, we had 500 ice cream sundaes delivered to CRH and 18 delivered to each COVID clinic by Dairy Queen, as a welcome back and to thank the workers for everything they have done during this pandemic.” 

SIMPLE ACTS OF KINDNESS

Imlay doesn’t have any additional Meal Train meals planned, however, she has continued to help during the pandemic by cutting out fabric to make masks and grocery shopping for family members at high risk for the virus. She also has some advice for others looking to help but who don’t know how.

“Simple acts of kindness can go a long way,” Imlay said. “There are so many ways you can give back even from your home, whether that be cutting out fabric for homemade masks, sewing homemade masks, buying groceries for the elderly, making cards to send to nursing homes or shut-ins, etc. Simply sharing a smile with someone will go a long way.” 
 

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.

Creating a more diverse and inclusive society

SCOTUS

The following was authored by Marya Rose, Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Cummins Inc. 

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two rulings that mark positive steps in shared efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive society.

On Monday (June 15, 2020), the Court ruled that the key federal law prohibiting discrimination in the workplace also protects gay, lesbian or transgender employees from being disciplined or fired based on their sexual orientation. We are heartened that the Court ruled to make it clear that this kind of discrimination is illegal, and we will continue to advocate vigorously for the rights of our LGBTQ+ employees and their families.

Today, the Supreme Court upheld the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that the Trump Administration sought to rescind in 2017.

The ruling protects more than 800,000 people, who were brought to the U.S. as children, often referred to as Dreamers, and have largely resided here for decades. Dreamers, including many of our Cummins colleagues, have built careers, raised families and contributed to U.S companies, universities and communities. They are as American as any of us and deserve to continue to live and thrive in the U.S. and this important ruling protects them from being deported.

The rulings are encouraging, but there is still much to do on both fronts.

Our immigration system in the U.S. is broken, and we need more systemic change to make it fairer. We need to be able to hire and place the most talented workers in the world where we need them if we are to continue to compete globally. And we need to continue to advocate for equal protection for all LGBTQ+ persons.

Dreamers and the LGBTQ+ community are our colleagues, our friends and our neighbors. This week, our nation’s highest court took two important steps to acknowledge that everyone deserves respect and equality.

Our country continues to face many other challenges when it comes to diversity and inclusion. At Cummins, we are committed to being an agent of positive change, whether it is in the workplace, in the community or across all levels of our government, and I encourage all of you to do the same.

Marya Rose
Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer
Cummins Inc. 

Marya Rose - Cummins Inc.

Marya Rose

Marya Rose is the Chief Administrative Officer of Cummins Inc., reporting to the CEO. She is responsible for eight global functions including communications, marketing, government relations, compliance, facilities, security, corporate responsibility and Cummins’ global shared services organization; managing a budget of approximately $685M and more than 2000 employees. Rose sits on the senior leadership team at the Company.

Rose was named CAO in 2011, after serving as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for ten years.

Sharon Barner: "I am black. I am a mother."

Sharon Barner - Cummins Inc.

The following originally appeared in the June 19, 2020 edition of The Indianapolis Recorder. It was authored by Sharon Barner, Vice President and General Counsel, Cummins Inc. 

Sharon Barner - Indianapolis Recorder
"Speak up. Speak out. Take action. Vote." Click on the image to view the ad.

We see our sons and daughters in George Floyd, Dreasjon Reed, Breonna Taylor and so many others. On the other side of our sorrow, anger and despair, we dig deep to unleash our unrelenting commitment to fight injustice, tell our stories and build allies. 

I know it's not fair. I know we are tired. But we cannot give up. Our lives and our children's lives depend on us. In the spirit of our ancestors, we must be undaunted and undeterred in our efforts to undo systemic racism. 

Speak up. Speak out. Take action. Vote! 

#BlackWomenInCharge | #WeWillNotBreak

Sharon Barner
Vice President and General Counsel
Cummins Inc. 

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Sharorn Barner - Cummins Inc.

Sharon Barner

Sharon Barner is Vice President and General Counsel for Cummins Inc., where she is responsible for worldwide legal matters and oversees a team of lawyers, paralegals and other professionals. With more than 30 years of experience in the legal profession,

Sharon primarily specializes in intellectual property law. Prior to joining Cummins, she served as Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). During the two years she spent in that role, Sharon led 15 foreign missions to meet with government representatives, as well as leaders in academia and industry to raise awareness about the impact of intellectual property on business and innovation.

Kamloops branch supports meals for truckers

on highway truck

The Cummins Sales and Service Kamloops branch recently sponsored truck driver meals from a local food truck, Cookshack Cravings, as part of the Meals for Truckers initiative at Chevron Cardlock in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada.Food truck to feed truckers

Meals for Truckers exists to ensure meals and facilities are available for truckers across Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. Deemed essential service providers, truck drivers are working hard to deliver everything needed – food, medicine, medical supplies. At the same time, many restaurants have been closed, leaving drivers with limited access to food and restrooms. This program was established by a group of British Columbia business owners and the trucking industry. For the meals, the program also mobilizes the food truck industry, supporting an industry severely impacted by reduced revenues.

employees helping feed truckers"Kamloops employees jumped at the opportunity to show support for truckers who have been working hard to maintain critical supplies in our communities during the pandemic,” said Ehtisham Anwer, General Manager of the Kamloops branch. “The truckers were very thankful of our generosity and were excited to know about Cummins’ new state-of-the-art service centre in Kamloops."

Cookshack Cravings also thanked Cummins Kamloops for its sponsorship. 

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.

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