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. [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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