Mentoring Month: Anne McLaren

January is National Mentoring Month, dedicated to raising the awareness of the need for mentors and recognizing the work mentors have done in the lives of others. 

Many people think mentoring is an adult helping to guide the future of our youth. While that is a common practice of mentoring, professional mentors are equally important. In fact, Cummins was built on mentoring, as William Irwin mentored his great-nephew, J. Irwin Miller, who would later usher Cummins into where it is today.

In honor of National Mentoring Month, Anne E. McLaren, Technical Advisor – Reliability Engineer, is sharing her Cummins mentoring experiences.

Anne McLaren
Anne McLaren

Q: Who mentored you at Cummins?

A: I have had two formal mentors at Cummins over the years. Mike Sharp was a technical mentor to me for the first five years of my career, and Cheryl Klepser has mentored me for most of the 15.5 years I’ve been with Cummins. I have also participated in a number of group-mentoring programs that allow mentees to learn from each other and from other mentors.


Q: Have you mentored anyone at Cummins?

A:  I have informally mentored hundreds of people at Cummins and formally mentored dozens. As the global corporate discipline leader for reliability engineering, I am the functional manager for all reliability engineers around the globe. I have formally and informally mentored some of them.  Each summer, I formally mentor interns through several employee resource groups, university recruiting, or functional programs. I am also a leader in the diversity and inclusion space and mentor participants through those groups. I have also served as a mentor in a number of the speed mentoring events, where you have short sessions of mentoring multiple people in a one-time event. Lastly, I help to organize programs for peer mentoring and group mentoring.


Q: Is mentoring important?

A: I believe mentoring is extremely important for everyone, whether it be formal or informal, mentor-mentee or a peer-to-peer. The guidance sought can be specific to a functional job assignment, or it can be less tactical and more strategic in terms of how to be more effective in a current role or to seek career guidance for a future role. A mentoring relationship should be built on trust, which will take time to establish. Both the mentor and the mentee should feel comfortable sharing and have the mentee’s best interests at heart.

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Lauren Cole

Lauren is the Senior Digital Communications Specialist for Cummins Inc, where she focuses on social media, employer branding, and digital media. Lauren joined the company in early 2017 and has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Indiana University. She currently resides in Maine with her family.

A career in New Power gives Sujin the power to help drive sustainable travel

Through most of her career, Sujin Wren has worked in the energy industry, with an increasing focus on the sustainable energy sector. As a frequent traveler and having lived in three different countries, Sujin has a personal interest in transportation and knows it's more than just a local environmental consideration. 

I have always been driven by the concept of leaving the planet in a better place for future generation, and I hope to provide the means for our future generations to travel further and explore more with a lighter footprint.

Since 2017, Sujin has been focused on fuel cells and related hydrogen technology. In her current role as a Hydrogen System Project Manager, she is responsible for ensuring projects and programs are executed from start to finish. Her role involved steering several different functions to achieve a common goal and synthesizing information from various stakeholders. It requires having a bird's eye view to find and leverage commonalities between projects and products while also digging into details when needed. 

Creating real change

SujinThrilled to be working in an industry that stands to make real change in the transportation sector through the integration of sustainable energy, Sujin has found reward in her efforts. She has had the opportunity to work in both the fuel cell and the electrolysis sides of the business. In addition to helping launch two new hydrogen fueling stations, she is currently managing a program involving a fuel cell system for a commuter train in Europe. "I take pride in our contribution to a cleaner transportation sector, and currently I really enjoy working in the rail mobility sector. I see a very bright future in hydrogen power trains." With a collaborative management style, Sujin enjoys drawing from a wide range of expertise that her colleagues offer.

There are so many talented individuals at Cummins with in-depth knowledge and skills and who understand the ins and outs of hydrogen technologies. I try to tap into that knowledge base as much as possible.

Striving to give team members ownership, responsibility, and accountability, Sujin believed this approach to the work leads to a more productive, cohesive, and successful team. It is necessary in an environment where almost every project is new. "I feel like it's a continuous learning experience," she states. "I am motivated by my team's knowledge and supportive team atmosphere. We are accustomed to dynamic change in the industry and in our approach to the technology."

SujinProgress doesn't stop

It is this familiarity with change that allowed her team to also adapt quickly to the changes imposed by COVID-19. The quarantine has certainly changed her workday routine, but it's not slowing down progress. "We are utilizing technology and finding new ways to accomplish tasks with the same philosophical approach we use to troubleshoot project challenges with innovation and tools." Sujin works primarily at home but still regularly visits the Mississauga, Canada, fuel cell and hydrogen technologies facility to oversee production and design work. "Even though conditions are different, I am finding new pleasures in working from home and new pleasures in visiting the office, and COVID-19 has certainly impacted my perspective on my day."

Realizing wonderSujin

An avid world traveler and world resident, Sujin has also lived in South Africa for a work placement and the UK for her master's degree and is often on the move, recently completing two cycling trips in Italy and Norway. The shelter in place has sidelined many of her short-term travel plans, but she hopes to find herself in Patagonia on her next trip, one of the world's premier hiking destinations. Always looking to see some wonders of the world, she also looks to realize the wonders of clean energy for transportation. 

Travel has always been important to me and making the world accessible to more people with less of a negative impact makes me feel good about my role in this industry.


Interested in learning more about New Power at Cummins? Explore our careers. 

Want to hear more from members of Cummins' New Power team?

Read Pramod's story

Read Ryan's story

Lauren Cole

Lauren is the Senior Digital Communications Specialist for Cummins Inc, where she focuses on social media, employer branding, and digital media. Lauren joined the company in early 2017 and has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Indiana University. She currently resides in Maine with her family.

Pramod's career in New Power is fueled by his passion for new technology

Pramod Suresh Magadi loves new things. He is fulfilled by the prospect of what could be and is energized by new technologies. With his career in New Power, he partners with customers on a new frontier of renewable battery solutions. 

I've always been attracted to novelty. As a child, I wanted to explore the newest video games; as an adult, I've switched out my laptops and other devices often because I want to keep experiencing new capabilities; and as an engineer, I'm curious about how new technologies can make a positive difference in the world.

Opportunity meets passion

Pramod joined Cummins right after completing his graduate program and over the last six years, he's become an adept Controls Engineer. His Cummins journey started in the Engine Business Unit (EBU) where he developed and maintained the software that ensured proper functioning of programs used for servicing and manufacturing of engines. He worked within the EBU for three years before his passion for new technology pulled him to the New Power Business Unit. 

"I told my manager that I was interested in battery technology and when the team was planning to deliver batteries to our urban bus customers, there was a need for a Controls Engineer and my manager extended that opportunity to me."

For the last three years, his responsibilities in New Power have evolved and today as a Controls Engineer on the electric bus application team, Pramod is responsible for integrating our batteries with electric vehicles (EVs). 

"I mainly work on gathering requirements from customers and other sources, validating whether the product meets all specified requirements prior to delivery, solving issues that are reported during field testing and tuning the calibrations to meet specified needs."

He and his team work with our customers who manufacture EVs to ensure that we offer the best solutions to power the success of each customer. 

Team work makes the dream work

Pramod is based in Columbus, Indiana, but works with a team that spans across the United States and around the globe. In addition to his direct team in Columbus, Pramod's duties lead him to interface with colleagues in Talent, Oregon (USA); Milton Keynes (United Kingdom); and India. Four different time zones, and yet, Cummins' values of excellence, teamwork and caring are common threads that run across the team. 

I work with a team of dedicated people who tirelessly rally around our shared goal of developing a superior product for our customers. There's a sense of community and collaboration so we work as a united team that supports other.

Pramod's fascination with new things helps him easily adapt to change. In the wake of COVID-19, like much of the world, his working arrangement has been altered, but he remains unfazed. 

"Our team has a face-to-face culture where we would much rather be able to walk over to a teammate (where possible) and quickly discuss a matter, but now we have to do it over the computer or maybe even a virtual meeting. Nonetheless, my team and I have leaned more than ever into the capabilities for online virtual communication available in the company and we keep pressing on."

A culture of curiosity

To stay connected with the new and the possibilities of the future, Pramod never stops learning. 

"My life motto is 'Stay hungry; stay foolish,' which is a quote from Steve Jobs. I found that the best way to do that is to keep running towards the difficult work and being curious enough to volunteer for projects outside my comfort zone because they present the best rewards for my growth and learning."

For him, New Power is fertile ground for continuous learning, allowing him to keep exploring new possibilities and tinkering with what could be possible. 

New Power has a start-up environment where people are willing to try new things. With battery technology, the status quo is changing everyday so when someone presents a new position backed by accurate data, we try it."

When asked about what motivates him, Pramod shared that he derives satisfaction from completing a project and seeing a product perform as it should. 

I saw a cool drone video of the GILLIG bus on the slopes of Utah and I felt so proud to have been part of the team that worked to make it perform like it does. Seeing the video also reminded me how exciting it is that Cummins is positioning itself well for the market needs of the future.



Interested in learning more about New Power at Cummins? Explore our careers. 

Want to hear more from members of Cummins' New Power team?

Read Ryan's story

Lauren Cole

Lauren is the Senior Digital Communications Specialist for Cummins Inc, where she focuses on social media, employer branding, and digital media. Lauren joined the company in early 2017 and has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Indiana University. She currently resides in Maine with her family.

Olivia integrates her passion with a career at Cummins

Growing up, Olivia was encouraged to take interest in the stereotypical girl hobbies and toys like ballet, cheerleading, and dolls. It wasn't so much that she didn't like those things, but that she was always drawn to things her brother enjoyed like cars, ATVs, and other mechanical interests. As a kid, she frequently played a game while waiting in the car - who could name the most makes and models of the other cars in the parking lot? As she grew, her parents nurtured these unconventional interests and helped Olivia's passions take hold. 

Students in my high school were generally drawn to the arts or sports over science, making me very atypical. When I enrolled as a first-semester freshman in 'Introduction to Technology,' a class of five students, I was the only female.

This introductory class sparked her interest in science and engineering even further. She soon signed up for any and all technical electives she could get into - everything from computer science, to physics, to STEM. But still, those classes were small and she was almost always the only girl in the room. One teacher of those same technical classes was steadfast in his encouragement of Olivia. He urged her not to give up and to feed her curiosity. Coupled with a counselor, they nominated Olivia for her first Society of Women Engineering Outstanding Junior Award. This nomination solidified her plans to apply exclusively to mechanical engineering programs in her senior year of high school. 

Growth through SWE 

As she started her degree program in Mechanical Engineering at the University of New Haven, she knew she wanted to be active beyond her direct class assignments. She made it a point to join her local chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), where she later served as President throughout her junior and senior years. Through this same network, she was able to gain her first internship with Cummins Inc. after her Sophomore year as a North American On-Highway Applications Engineer. The following summer, she returned to do product validation engineering with the Fuel Systems Integration team at Cummins. 

A long-held passion for Cummins

Olivia was first introduced to Cummins at an early age. Growing up with many diesel and engine fanatics, she attended truck shows and races in various forms, including events like Diesel National at Raceway Park in New Jersey. At this same event in 2016, she remembers seeing Cummins' large tent showcasing the X15 and garnering massive crowds. This piqued her interest even more, especially as a college student thinking about her future. After hearing firsthand from employees volunteering at the SWE conference later that year, specifically other female engineers, she knew it was the right place for her. 

When I asked real people, real engineers (who were all women), about their experiences at Cummins, their responses were the final influence that drove me to pursue a career here. 

Olivia was elated to get an interview shortly after her conversations at the Cummins SWE booth. There was no better birthday present than an offer to intern with Cummins that summer. Even better, she notes the relationships she made with other interns during this time, many of which went on to accept full-time roles with Cummins like herself. 

Values that #ShapeTheWorld

For Olivia, International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) on June 23 is the perfect opportunity to shed light on the many contributions and accomplishments of female engineers. 

It's a day to celebrate the contributions of the women engineers have made historically and continue to make today. For me, it means we can celebrate, acknowledge, and remind others of the many problems female engineers have solved that can be forgotten on most days.

She goes on to note that she believes INWED doesn't stop with educating herself on the position of being a woman in engineering; she also believes it's important to place emphasis on educating others on what it's like to be a woman in a male-dominated industry through open conversations with other women engineers in her own network, male coworkers, non-engineers, and family and friends. She also takes days like INWED as an opportunity to celebrate, learn more, and amplify the voices of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) women in engineering support of equality. She encourages others to have these conversations about women, equality and facilitating change. 


Interested in more on a career at Cummins? Click to read more from our team or search for available opportunities. 

Lauren Cole

Lauren is the Senior Digital Communications Specialist for Cummins Inc, where she focuses on social media, employer branding, and digital media. Lauren joined the company in early 2017 and has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Indiana University. She currently resides in Maine with her family.

Ryan uses his role in New Power to create energy innovation

Ryan Sookhoo

Our world today is in an age of unprecedented change, one where protecting our environment is a global concern, and fuel cell and hydrogen technologies engineer Ryan Sookhoo is proud to be at the forefront. Ryan is one of many new engineers to join Cummins through the acquisition of Hydrogenics in 2019 and is excited about the prospect of further developing the hydrogen energy market to meet the world's growing energy demands in an environmentally sustainable way. 

The world is embarking on an energy revolution. There are many options for power and energy, and helping to enable productive change is what I'm passionate about.

The first of its kind

Ryan enjoys interfacing with the general community and having the chance to show them real-world applications of zero-emission fuel cell vehicles. He enjoys working in an environment where each day the application or the opportunity can change, and the chance to work on something new is always exciting. Ryan takes pride in helping to usher new types of projects with hydrogen technology. He has been part of many "first of its kind" projects, but he doesn't do it alone. 


I am supportive of the team approach in my role; we are in it together to drive real change in the industry. We much embrace a global perspective when developing opportunities, using both our knowledge of the technology and the state of the marketplace.

Tangible technology

Ryan brings over 14 years of experience with hydrogen to the New Power team. Starting his career as an electrical engineer working on fuel cell power modules, he then moved on to manage large scale projects. His technical and practical background created a solid foundation that allowed him to leverage his experience and apply it to a business development and sales role. It was a natural progression for him in an industry that he is passionate about. 

He is now responsible for new business growth opportunities in various markets including transportation as well as stationary power. He works with key stakeholders to champion growth and product ideas, brings customers through the sales cycle, and helps support projects through their design and implementation. It's Ryan's experience across a multitude of projects that gives him a well-rounded perspective on the industry. He enjoys interacting with the energy community and having the chance to show them real-world applications of zero-emission fuel cell applications.

It's exciting to see and experience their realization that the technology is not intangible. Breaking the misconceptions is motivating. There are no silver bullets or perfect solutions to solve the present emission challenges globally, but finding what works or more importantly, what doesn't work, motivates me. Solutions to these questions require the combination of many technologies and that's exciting to be part of.

Due to his engineering background and the nature of his role, he is largely results-driven and believes "if you start something, you finish it" when it comes to his work approach. "The solutions we develop to overcome challenges bring us closer to the end goal. We do not give up when the barriers go up, we get creative and determined to finish what we've begun." 

Creating impactful results

Ryan relies on developing and maintaining relationships inside and outside of the organization to achieve his objectives, so practicing open communication is key. "Communication is not a one-way activity and the importance of talking through issues is invaluable, building rapport and leading us to steady and impactful results." 

Ryan's role has allowed him to work from home throughout the shelter in place order and adapting to the new way of working has been second nature for him. Staying in touch with customers through video calls has been crucial and is something Ryan has a lot of experience with. 

I have been working with customers in different times zones and countries for years, so using technology to keep me connected and keep projects progressing is nothing new to me. We have the tools to continue to develop business remotely and market interest is still strong. But I do look forward to meeting customers, prospects, and colleaues in person again. There's something about a face-to-face handshake that's missed in this new environment.

Ryan has been adding some excitement to his day by taking meetings and calls from his side porch turned office at home. "Where I work at home right now is very weather dependent, sharing the time between my interior home office and my front porch, or what I like to refer to as my exterior home office."

Outside of work, Ryan stays active with his family by hiking and fishing, and enjoys playing basketball or hitting the gym. With more time at home, he has recently been working on developing a green thumb with mixed results. With some time, he has no doubt that he'll create a new garden much in the same way he has been helping create a new energy market. From the seeds he grows in his garden to the hydrogen projects he helps develop, change is sprouting up and around the world, and Ryan's happy to be a part of it. 


Interested in learning more about New Power at Cummins? Explore our careers. 

Want to hear more from members of Cummins' New Power team?

Lauren Cole

Lauren is the Senior Digital Communications Specialist for Cummins Inc, where she focuses on social media, employer branding, and digital media. Lauren joined the company in early 2017 and has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Indiana University. She currently resides in Maine with her family.

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