For Cummins engineers, these road trips mean going to extremes

A validation team makes its way up a mountain road at Loveland Pass (6.7 percent grade at 11,990 feet), during testing of Cummins’ X12 engine in Colorado (U.S.A.) earlier this year.
A validation team makes its way up a mountain road at Loveland Pass (6.7 percent grade at 11,990 feet), during testing of Cummins’ X12 engine in Colorado (U.S.A.) earlier this year.

Cummins engineer Trent Berardi was in trouble. Usually frigid Fargo, North Dakota (U.S.A.), was too warm.

With his team ready for two-and-a-half weeks of testing Cummins’ X12 engine under extreme winter conditions, Berardi had to quickly find cold temperatures close enough to his base in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.A.), to stay on time and budget. Then he got the good news: Idaho Falls, Idaho (U.S.A.), was having a cold snap.

“Thankfully, we found the temperatures we were looking for relatively nearby,” Berardi recalled.

Such is the life of a validation engineer, the last line of defense before a Cummins product reaches the customer.

These engineers oversee final testing to make sure a new engine platform or another Cummins product works when installed in a truck or other equipment.

The testing frequently includes a two-to-three week road trip to see what happens when the engine is stressed by extreme temperatures or elevation. Engineers say some things can only be discovered on the road.

“You’re looking for gaps between systems,” said Berardi, a Senior Validation Engineer in the Cummins Engine Business. “It’s like playing chess on a three-dimensional board.”

Cummins Engineer Trent Berardi (center, with laptop), talks to X12 team members during a stop in central Utah (U.S.A.) earlier this year.
Cummins engineer Trent Berardi (center, with laptop), talks to X12 team members during a stop in central Utah (U.S.A.) earlier this year.

LONG DAYS, SHORT NIGHTS, EXTREME TEMPERATURES

Validation testing takes place not only at Cummins facilities in the U.S., but in China, India, the U.K. and elsewhere. U.S.-based teams have traveled as far as Fairbanks, Alaska, and Death Valley, California, to find the ideal combination of temperature and grade.

In the U.S., trips can include 8 to 10 vehicles, counting support vehicles, and as many as two-dozen engineers, some flying in to observe just part of the testing.

Winter trips mean temperatures as low as 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (- 40° Celsius). Summer trips can include daytime highs up to 120°F (49° Celsius). Elevation testing usually takes place at 10,000 to 12,000 feet (3,048 to 3,658 meters) above sea level.

A 17-hour day is pretty common and the most important hotel amenity is truck parking. Hotel parking lots are frequently used for emergency repairs.

Despite the challenging conditions, validation engineers say they love the trips.

“I think it’s the chance to really see how our products work,” said Jeffrey Friend, a Controls Performance Engineer based in Columbus who estimates he’s been on about 30 validation trips over 17 years with Cummins. “You’re out there with engineers who are experts in their field and there’s no phone calls, no meetings, you just focus on the product.”

The testing usually involves traversing steep grades, or going from zero to 60 miles-per-hour (97 kilometers-per-hour) as rapidly as possible – commonly referred to as “drag racing” by validation engineers.

The fun really begins, they say, when they “break something” – a catchall term that could involve just about anything limiting performance. Then the team has to figure out how to make improvements.

“That’s when you get a chance to find something you can improve on before our product gets in the hands of the customer,” said Beth Wendel, a Validation Group Leader in the Engine Business. “That can be very exhilarating.”

A validation team stops along the Alcan Highway near Haines Junction in the Canadian Yukon, where the record low temperature is 54 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.
A validation team stops along the Alcan Highway near Haines Junction in the Canadian Yukon, where the record low temperature is 54 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.

 

TALES FROM THE ROAD

After a 6-month college internship on an oil tanker crossing pirate-infested waters off the coast of West Africa, Chitresh Sharma rarely gets car sick even going up and down mountain roads looking at data on his laptop.

But the Senior Engineer in Product Validation at Cummins vividly remembers his time in a truck making run after run to test a Cummins engine in the desert outside Las Vegas, Nevada (U.S.A.). He asked the technician driving the truck they shared to turn off the air conditioning and roll up the windows to reduce drag as much as possible.

Sharma will soon be taking a new position in Cummins’ supply chain organization, but he says “I know I’ll miss this job, and I think I’ll end up missing these trips most of all.”

Friend recalls how one team he was with solved the lack of suitable restaurants in Death Valley by storing deli trays in a refrigerated truck they were testing, and during a break in the desert backing it up to another truck, creating a cool area to eat.

“Problem solving is really central to all aspects of these trips,” he said.

Perhaps no one has more stories about validation testing than Greg Sitzman, a Mechanical Engineering Associate based at the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus. He estimates he’s been on 50 validation trips over 10 years with the company.

Sitzman has been to Alaska five times, Death Valley, International Falls, Minnesota, and many other locations. He’s driven the Alcan Highway dividing Canada and Alaska, and put chains on a test truck to keep it from sliding through the Rocky Mountains. Once he even made a repair near Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories parked on a frozen lake. That enabled him to easily slide under the truck.

But he says what he likes best about the trips is the camaraderie.

“To me, while I enjoy the challenges, what makes these trips special are the people,” Sitzman said. “They make it fun. They are just good people to be with.”

 

 

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. blair.claflin@cummins.com

Meet Lulu Lopez - Director of New and ReCon Parts Global Manufacturing Operation, San Luis Potosi

Lulu Lopez, Director of New and ReCon Parts Global Manufacturing Operations, has 23 years experience in Manufacturing. We recently sat down with Lulu to ask about her career at Cummins. Here's what she had to say. 

Role: Director of New and ReCon Parts Global Manufacturing Operations
Location: San Luis Potosí, Mexico
Years of Service: 12 years at Cummins, 23 years in Manufacturing
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, San Luis Potosí, México; Master’s Degree in Administration, Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí, San Luis Potosí, México
Cummins Career Journey: Quality and Manufacturing Manager, Plant Manager, Director of Global Manufacturing Engineering & Strategy, Director of New and ReCon Parts Global Manufacturing Operations

Q: How has your career journey progressed at Cummins?

“I joined Cummins Generator Technologies in San Luis Potosí, México, as a Quality and Manufacturing Manager in 2006. However, as soon as I joined Cummins, I also had to take on manager responsibilities in Supplier Quality, Operations Excellence (lean manufacturing) and, for several years, Product Engineering. I was then given the opportunity to become a Plant Manager for Cummins Generator Technologies in 2010, also in San Luis Potosí, and enjoyed that role for 4.5 years. 

“In November 2014, I joined New and ReCon Parts in Columbus, IN, as the Director of Global Manufacturing Engineering and Strategy. I then returned to San Luis Potosí to run the New and ReCon Parts site in April 2016 and was able to run this site for 2 years. Currently, I am transitioning into the Director of Global Manufacturing Operations role for New and ReCon Parts and very happy and enthusiastic for this great next step in my professional career.”

Q: What attracted you to Manufacturing as a career? 

“I like it a lot! I really enjoy the teamwork and cross-functional efforts used to build products that help our customers be successful in operating their own businesses. I find developing people and interacting with different functions within Manufacturing fascinating. We drive continuous improvement every day to be more efficient, cost competitive and the best option for our customers, and that’s a great feeling.”

Q: Why have you chosen to remain dedicated to Manufacturing? In other words, what’s kept you going? 

“Within Manufacturing, we have different functions that are very exciting in areas of engineering, technology and innovation. All of these functions are focused on the definition, development, implementation, validation, control, operation and continuous improvement of the processes that build the products we sell every day.”

Q: Is Manufacturing at Cummins exciting for you? 

“Yes, working in a Manufacturing site is a diverse environment – we have a variety of functions and people with different professional backgrounds, capabilities and skills working together every day. Collaborating as a team makes it exciting, as all functions align to the same objectives and challenge each other to be excellent each and every day.”

Q: In your eyes, what would you list as your top 2-3 achievements in your career at Cummins?  

“Becoming a plant manager was very much a key achievement in my professional career. That role really exposed me to being a business owner, lead cross-functional efforts and represents the Cummins leadership in the community. 

“Also, for more than 5 years, I aspired to be in my current role, which I just entered into a few weeks ago. This opportunity will allow me to influence the global operations of a complete business and allow me the opportunity to lead a vast and diverse team experiencing different challenges due to the conditions of the markets and regions.”

Q: Which one of Cummins’ core values resonates with you most and why? 

“All corporate values are great framework, and for me it is very critical to live all of them in my role as a leader. However, if I have to select one that resonates with me most, it would be Caring."

"By caring about our people, our environment, our customers and our community; being inclusive; following the regulations and laws that dictate our company practices; and knowing the impact of my decisions, I am better able to contribute to powering a most prosperous world.”

Q: Cummins is a global company, and you bring global perspective. What does being a global company mean to you?

“For me, it is very simple. We should be able to support our customers with the right solution for their needs across the globe, and that support should come from people who work in the optimal regions and processes and who live out our values each and every day.”

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is wanting to get into Manufacturing today?

“Take the challenge, and join our team. We have varying career paths, different functions and very exciting positions that will provide you the opportunity to develop yourself and gain vast capabilities and skills that will help you continue your professional development within Manufacturing or other roles within the Global Supply Chain.”

I Am Manufacturing is a recurring campaign featuring the people and teams who make up Cummins Manufacturing.
 

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.

Meet Anna Dibble - Plant Manager, Jamestown Engine Plant

Cummins - I am manufacturing. I am Anna Dibble.
Anna Dibble, Plant Manager at the Jamestown Engine Plant

Anna Dibble, Plant Manager at Cummins' Jamestown Engine Plant, has an impressive 26 years of service at Cummins. We recently sat down with Anna to ask about her career at Cummins. Here’s what she had to say. 

Role: Plant Manager, Jamestown Engine Plant (JEP)
Years of Service at Cummins: 26 years at JEP
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Operations Management, Penn State University; Master’s Degree in Manufacturing Management & Engineering, General Motors Institute of Technology; MBA, Gannon University
Career Journey: Quality Engineering, Product Engineering, Six Sigma Black Belt and Leader, Operations, Engine Business Unit Manufacturing Quality, Plant Management

Q: What attracted you to Manufacturing as a career?

"When I got hired at Cummins as a summer hire, I really enjoyed seeing how a large plant functioned – how all of the teams worked collaboratively together to make the product and how diverse the career opportunities were. I went back to college and changed my major from Accounting to Operations Management, with the desire to work in a manufacturing plant after graduation. I didn’t realize at the time that I would spend my career at the same plant that got me interested in manufacturing in the first place."

Q: Have you ever had any other job outside of Manufacturing? 

"I have always been based at JEP but have worked in many functions, including some that were EBU functions and not JEP-specific (Product Engineering, Six Sigma Black Belt/Master Black Belt, EBU Manufacturing Quality and Six Sigma Leader roles). The diversity of career opportunities within a large manufacturing plant, such as Quality (including Supplier Quality and Customer Quality) and Product Engineering (including test and labs, Six Sigma personnel, Finance, etc.) was an attractive feature for me. The Cummins and JEP environment also encourages cross-functional learning."

Q: Is Manufacturing at Cummins exciting for you?

"Absolutely. Each and every day is different and sometimes very unpredictable. The challenge to develop and follow a long-term strategy while also addressing short-term emergencies – and doing so in a way that is effective across significant changes in the demand cycle – requires a lot of innovation and cross-functional teamwork."

Q: What makes coming to work each day worth it?

The people. Although there are problems to solve and challenges day in and day out, I have the opportunity to work with some very talented, committed and passionate people that can rise to any occasion.

Q: In your eyes, what would you list as your top achievements during your career at Cummins? 

"The plant accomplishment that I am very proud to have been part of was the 2010 Downturn Planning team. The team worked with JEP and Cummins leaders to offer an employee retention program that helped us creatively absorb a 70 percent reduction in demand within one month with no permanent layoffs and introduce two new products at the same time."

Q: Which one of Cummins’ core values resonates with you most and why? 

"I really don’t believe the core values are as effective individually as they are together. But, if I had to choose one core value, I would pick integrity because it all starts there. Integrity is a sign of your character and is foundational to all of the other core values. In order to truly embrace diversity, care for others and their wellbeing, and promote and value teamwork, you must have integrity. By building trusting relationships where all voices are heard and valued, together you can deliver excellence."

Q: What is your advice to someone looking to pursue a career in Manufacturing?

"Manufacturing is exciting and challenging, and the industry offers many career opportunities for people with many different skill sets. Regardless of the role, I highly would encourage someone to try new things, be fearless and move out of their comfort zone."

I Am Manufacturing is a recurring campaign featuring the people and teams who make up Cummins Manufacturing.

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.

New Cummins Powers Women Program to Accelerate the Advancement of Women and Girls Around the World

by Anna Lintereur,
Cummins' Mary Chandler (right) greets Denise Raquel Dunning, founder of Rise Up, at Thursday's announcement.
Cummins' Mary Chandler (right) greets Denise Raquel Dunning, founder of Rise Up, at Thursday's announcement.

Cummins has been grounded since its founding in the belief that wherever the company operates, it will leave communities stronger than it found them. Building more prosperous communities isn’t just better for the people living in them, it’s better for the company’s business and society at large.

Now Cummins is helping to empower a global community that needs support – women and girls.

“Cummins’ mission is to make people’s lives better by powering a more prosperous world and Cummins Powers Women epitomizes this purpose,” said Tom Linebarger, Cummins Inc. Chairman and CEO. “One way we seek to better communities is by investing in programs that improve the lives of women and girls. We’ve seen firsthand the positive transformation that happens when we ensure diversity and inclusion within our organization, bringing more women into our business at every level.”

The Cummins Powers Women program is the company’s most ambitious community initiative ever, representing a multi-million dollar investment designed to create large-scale impact in the lives of women and girls globally. Through Cummins Powers Women, the company will partner with a network of global nonprofit organizations that have existing, proven programs with metrics in place. The programs will focus on areas where significant barriers exist to the advancement of girls and women, including grass-roots teaching and mentoring, financial empowerment through entrepreneurship, leadership training, and strategic guidance to non-profit leaders.

Today, women continue to face inequality. Around the world, girls are less likely to finish high school, more likely to be married against their will as children, and less likely to have career prospects. But when women and girls are educated, given opportunity and paid fairly, families and economies prosper.

“The growth and improvements we have seen in our own company through an inclusive environment for women are the catalyst for us to dream about a future for all women that includes abundant opportunity for global leadership, invention, skill and creativity – a world powered by women in which progress accelerates, invention amplifies and solutions become easier to find,” said Mary Titsworth Chandler, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Chief Executive Officer of the Cummins Foundation.

Cummins is focused on fixing the problem at its root and finding answers that will yield the greatest impact for women and girls to unlock their full power. The Cummins Leadership Team and regional leadership teams will spearhead this global effort, working closely with Cummins’ nonprofit partners in their regions and local communities.

The company knows that for many of its leaders, this work isn’t just a professional issue. It’s a personal one, too. It’s about our mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and neighbors. After all, as Linebarger remarked, “Making an engine is hard. Making the world more just for women and girls is harder.”

Cummins is ready to take on this challenge.

Anna Lintereur

Anna Lintereur is Chief of Staff and Communications Manager for Corporate Responsibility at Cummins Inc. She joined the company in 2010, serving in a variety of roles including global communications leader for Corporate Responsibility and project manager for the construction of Cummins’ Distribution Business headquarters in Indianapolis. Prior to joining Cummins, she worked for Irwin Financial Corporation for more than 12 years.

Cummins Employees Set Record Building Stronger Communities Around the World

Cummins employees in Malaysia celebrate bringing solar lighting to a village without electricity.
Cummins employees in Malaysia celebrate bringing solar lighting to a village without electricity.

The solar lights Cummins employees built using discarded plastic bottles will deliver more than illumination for villages without electricity, according to Jason Chong, General Manager of Cummins Sales & Service in Malaysia.

“The most important impact is that they give hope to communities for a brighter future,” Chong said of the initiative that started in August 2017 in the Philippines and continued in November in Malaysia. “It significantly improves the safety environment of rural communities by providing lighting for foot paths and also homes, while removing potential fire hazards, such as traditional kerosene lamps.”

The Cummins’ “Liter of Light” initiative was one of hundreds of community service projects undertaken across the company during a record-setting year for employee engagement in the Every Employee Every Community (EEEC) program.

A best-ever 82.5 percent of eligible employees and contractors – 56,646 people in all – participated in the company’s Corporate Responsibility program in 2017. It’s the third consecutive year EEEC engagement has topped 80 percent for employees and eligible contractors, well above Cummins’ goal of 70 percent participation.

“It’s such an honor to work with so many people dedicated to improving the communities where our employees live and where the company does business,” said Mary Titsworth Chandler, CEO of the Cummins Foundation and the company’s Vice President – Corporate Responsibility. “Building stronger communities is truly aligned with our mission of making people’s lives better by powering a more prosperous world.”

Under the company’s EEEC program, employees can work four hours on community service projects and longer with their supervisors’ approval. Through EEEC, Cummins invests thousands of employee hours in projects around the world.

EEEC initiatives in 2017 included an effort to provide career counseling and guidance to high school students in Ghana, a project to help immigrants in Germany with communications and cultural skills, and a tech literacy program in Indianapolis, Indiana (U.S.A.) that taught computer basics to students at a low-performing school.

The Liter of Light project in Malaysia is unusual in that it covers all three of Cummins’ corporate responsibility priority areas – the environment, education and equality of opportunity.

The project partnered with the non-governmental organization Incitement on the international effort that uses discarded plastic bottles to build the solar lights in communities without electricity. Filling the bottles with a little water and bleach and inserting a bulb inside of a test tube creates a light fixture that can be inexpensively paired with a small panel drawing energy from the sun.

The lights improve the environment by finding a use for the plastic bottles. The project is educational because village residents learn how to build additional lights and make any necessary repairs. And by providing light to guard against everything from fires to wild animal attacks, Liter of Light helps villagers focus on improving their lives and the lives of their families.

The Liter of Light project creates illuminated pathways, enhancing safety in villages without electricity.
Cummins employees install poles for the solar lights.

“The project is really meaningful,” said Johnnie Ang, Cummins Malaysia’s Community Involvement Team leader. “The solar powered lights are simple to build and will help people who really need it.”

To learn more about Cummins’ long history of Corporate Responsibility, click here.

 

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. blair.claflin@cummins.com

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