Sale of mask operation advances Cummins’ goal of creating sustainable Black-owned businesses

Mask producing operation inside Cummins Engine Plant

Global power leader Cummins Inc. is using its U.S.- based mask-making operation, created to guard against the spread of COVID-19 in company facilities, to partner with a minority-owned business that wants to expand.

The equipment used to make masks at the Columbus Engine Plant in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.), has been sold to a Black businessman in nearby Indianapolis, who plans on creating a disability-friendly employer producing masks beyond the immediate response to the pandemic.

“This sale created a new Black American manufacturer,” said Helena Hutton, Senior Director of Cummins’ Center of Excellence for Supplier Inclusion in Strategic Purchasing. “It illustrates Cummins’ commitment to partner with diverse-owned companies and contribute to generational wealth-building with business leaders of color. I am proud to be part of a company that makes deals like this one happen.”

Christopher Barney, the owner of Team Cruiser, a logistics and supply company that has worked with Cummins in the past, hopes to offer masks for sale to the public later this year. 

“We were very interested, for two specific reasons,” Barney said. “The first reason is the ability to learn and grow from a manufacturing perspective with a global manufacturing company like Cummins. The second reason is that it provides us the opportunity to impact and serve the communities that we live in by providing jobs and supplying a quality American-made personal protective equipment mask.”

THINKING OUT OF THE BOX

In 2020, Cummins established mask-making operations in the United States, Mexico, and India to provide some 10 million masks to its employees worldwide. With the pandemic seeming to wind down in the United States as more people get vaccinated, and with a healthy surplus of masks at the ready if needed in the U.S., the time was right for the company to think about selling the operations in Columbus, said Cummins Partnership Strategy Manager Tarek Elharis. 

Mask production at Cummins

The company never intended to produce masks beyond the pandemic, said Elharis, who has been active in the mask-making operation. Since the sale, the Cummins employees who had been making masks have been redeployed to areas of the company experiencing heavy demand as the U.S. economy recovers.

When selling the mask operation became a possibility, the company’s Supply Chain organization and Strategy function began looking for ways to accomplish something more than simply getting the equipment out of the engine plant.

They found that opportunity in Barney and Team Cruiser.

LOOKING TO EXPAND

The Team Cruiser Conversion Company was established in 1983, providing heavy-duty automotive and industrial equipment customization and up-fitting solutions to meet commercial and municipal specifications. Over the past 30 years, Barney’s business has worked with companies like Navistar, Arvin Meritor, Cummins and others.

Barney said he is always looking for new challenges and the chance to develop a new line of business for Team Cruiser was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

“We have been blessed to have a unique relationship with Cummins in the fact that we sold millions of dollars of engine products to our customer base and are familiar with their culture and desire to be first in class in their industry,” Barney said. “We feel that this played a very important role in understanding the importance of the quality of the product that we produce. We are now able to be both a customer, dealer, partner and a vendor.”

Barney’s team is now working to establish a web-presence for its new line of products. It’s also working with several veterans’ groups and organizations serving people with blindness and other disabilities to create a workspace that can safely employ people with disabilities in its manufacturing operations.

Priscila Mendes, Vice President of Purchasing, Supply Chain Management said, “This is a chance for Cummins to help build stronger communities where it does business and live the company’s value of diversity and inclusion for all business owners.”

Learn more in the podcast, the “Making of an American Manufacturer” as Barney and Elharis discuss this alongside Dr. Ken Harris, the President/ECO of the National Business League.

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Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Improving the environment one mussel and bee at a time

Cummins project tagging mussels

Cummins Inc. employees take pride in supporting their communities through unique initiatives reinforcing the company’s environmental sustainability strategy.  

 

Strengthening global communities has long been an important objective for Cummins. Company employees around the world participate in numerous community initiatives through Cummins’ Every Employee Every Community (EEEC) program.  

A global network of more than 200 employee-led Community Involvement Teams (CITs) work with Cummins leaders and community partners to assess environmental issues facing their communities and organize employee efforts to make a difference.  

Here are some highlights from recent EEEC events that used small creatures to tackle big environmental challenges: 

A LITTLE MUSSEL GOES A LONG WAY 

This fall, Cummins employees in Columbus, Indiana, gathered to transplant kidneyshell mussels into the Mississippi River basin. Coordinated by Scott Saum, Program Manager, Cummins Water Works, the project was guided by experts from The Nature Conservancy (TNC).  

mussel tagging project
Tagging the mussels will help researchers track them months or years after reintroduction.

Cummins Water Works is the company program to address the global water crisis. It established a partnership with The Nature Conservancy to improve water quality and increase groundwater levels in the Mississippi River Basin. 

The kidneyshell mussel is a medium to large, freshwater mussel, similar to the shape of a kidney. They grow to about 12 centimeters (5 inches), and are great indicators of environmental health, with some species living to 100 years. The mussels eat algae and bacteria, cleaning and filtering water of pollutants, resulting in healthier aquatic ecosystems. Their complex life cycle provides a meaningful snapshot of waterway health conditions.  

“Being passionate about environmental conservation, I regularly seek EEEC volunteer opportunities in this domain,” said Akash Desai, Engine Optimization Senior Technical Specialist at Cummins. “The mussel tagging event was ideal in that it blended my interest with a unique opportunity to learn and network.  

“Not having seen mussels before, it was eye-opening how important a role these tiny creatures, a seemingly passive organism, can play in local ecology,” Desai added. “This is the essence of EEEC, where small volunteer engagements along with engaged community members have significant, long-term impacts.” 

Native to Indiana, the kidneyshell mussels, about 1.5 to 2.5 years in age, are currently listed by the state as a species of special concern. Event activities included tagging and measuring them for reintroduction into Indiana’s waterways, via the North and South Forks of Wildcat Creek in Kokomo, Indiana. The creek is part of the Mississippi River Basin.  

Small, flexible, colored, plastic tags were applied to the shell of the mussels, which included an individual number for each mussel to be identified and measured. Some mussels were also outfitted with Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags glued onto their shells.  

These tags can be read with a bar code-type reader to detect a mussel’s location. Since mussels can bury themselves in riverbeds, a PIT tag helps researchers find a subset of mussels months or years after reintroduction.  

In total, 403 mussels were tagged and successfully placed in their new home by representatives of The Nature Conservancy and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. After the mussels have been in their new surroundings for six months, they will be recovered and measured again to determine their growth and survival rates. 

KEEPING BEES HUMMING IN GERMANY, NORWAY 

Over recent decades, bee populations have been declining due to habitat loss, air pollution, changes in weather patterns and the excessive use of agrochemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers. Studies show a lack of honeybees in agricultural areas is limiting the supply of some food crops, suggesting the decline in these pollinators may soon have serious ramifications for global food security and the maintenance of biodiversity.  

People around the world are working to create environments that help bees thrive as well as educate people about their importance. Cummins employees in Germany and Norway are no exception, enthusiastically doing their part to protect bees in local communities. 

A beekeeper checks on the health of the hive in Germany.
A beekeeper checks on the heath of a hive behind the Cummins Emission Solutions plant in Marktheidenfeld, Germany.

In Germany, volunteers developed five bee colonies behind the Cummins Emission Solutions (CES) plant in Marktheidenfeld. Three team members also serve as beekeepers, as well as educators, inspecting hives, conducting bee population counts and removing honeycombs. 

Other employees extract honey from the honeycombs, bottling and labeling the harvest. So far this year, the hives have produced 98 kilograms (216 pounds) of spring honey and 46 kilograms (101 pounds) of summer honey, offered to employees for a donation and given away to local community partners. 

The Marktheidenfeld team also hosted a “Bee Day” on site for local youth, including both an educational component as well as bee-themed games to help bring the education to life. Beekeepers explained the lifecycle and importance of bees and the role they play in our ecosystem, all while exhibiting the bees in action.  

Employee volunteers in Norway jumped on the bee band wagon as well, building six bumblebee boxes and planting bee-friendly flowers to support bee colony growth. The team continues their efforts in protecting and encouraging bee activity by maintaining the boxes while weeding and watering the surrounding plants. 

These are just a few of the many initiatives underway by Cummins employees as they work together to address environmental issues and strengthen their communities. 

 

Tamra Knudsen smiling

Tamra Knudsen

Tamra Knudsen is a Brand Journalist for Cummins with extensive experience in the Capital Goods sector, serving over 20 years in various corporate communications roles. She began her career in accounting, moving into numerous positions within finance, marketing and administration, until she discovered her niche in the field of communications. Her passion is to create transparent and meaningful content that educates, informs and engages readers on a variety of topics for both external and internal audiences. 

Tamra graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Parkside, with a BS in Business Administration and Management.

Recognizing two years of Cummins Advocating for Racial Equity (CARE)

Dennis speaking to crowd

This article originally authored by Tom Linebarger, Cummins Executive Chairman and posted internally on October 31, 2022 for employees to recognize the anniversary of the Cummins Advocating for Racial Equity (CARE) program. 

employees standing in front of company logo

Today, I want to celebrate and recognize the incredible work accomplished through the Cummins Advocating for Racial Equity (CARE) initiative since its launch in October 2020. The program remains focused on the ever-present work of dismantling systemic discrimination against the Black community and driving racial equity in the U.S.

To date, more than 150 volunteers have dedicated their time and skills across 10 communities nationwide. We have successfully driven change across four key areas: police reform, criminal justice reform, social justice reform and economic empowerment. We have positively impacted 420 Black-owned businesses, influenced eight laws and policy changes, and participated in 32 advocacy efforts.

Last April, the Cummins Leadership Team (CLT) and I had the opportunity to see the impact of CARE firsthand in Indianapolis. Doris, a teacher and longstanding resident of the Martindale-Brightwood area, was able to receive an affordable mortgage and move into her new home with $100K in equity through the support of the Cummins-Intend Indiana Partnership, which focuses on addressing the historical gap in wealth building through homeownership experienced by Black people. It was an incredible moment to see the pride Doris had in owning her first home and gaining the ability to create generational wealth for her family.

employees in front of restored house

leaders speaking in panel

We are not naïve to the fact that our goal is ambitious, but CARE has proven that how you show up and take action in our communities is an important and impactful step. Racism in our country is deeply rooted and makes our society weaker. Change is made possible through decisive action, and Cummins continues to be a part of that action. The work done by our volunteers, leaders, advocates and partners in just two years is inspiring. Thank you for your continued commitment to advance Cummins’ legacy of social justice.

Tom Linebarger
Executive Chairman
Chairman of the Board

Tom Linebarger Chairman and CEO

Tom Linebarger

Tom Linebarger became Chairman and CEO of Cummins Inc., the largest independent maker of diesel engines and related products in the world, on January 1, 2012.  Prior to becoming Chairman and CEO, he served as President and COO from 2008 to 2011, Executive Vice President and President, Power Generation Business from 2003 to 2008, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from 2000 to 2003, and Vice President, Supply Chain Management from 1998 to 2000.

A road trip for Cummins’ 1935 Auburn sparks keen interest from antique car buffs 

1935 Auburn 655 (far right) on display at ACD event

Appreciating historic cars is a passion held by car enthusiasts and organizations the world over. One such organization is the Auburn Cord Duesenberg (ACD) auto club. ACD meets annually to commemorate the historic automobiles that trace their roots back to Connersville “Little Detroit” Indiana. In August, Cummins was invited to display its 1935 white Auburn 655 diesel car at ACD’s mini-meet.

“The presence of the Auburn was an overwhelming hit at the event as most did not know Cummins’ story with Auburn,” said Tim Diehn, Director of Cummins’ Service Diagnostics. “We were able to create some buzz and enthusiasm about the car and our company’s history, receiving nothing but accolades and appreciation from club members, attendees and even the mayor of Connersville.” 

Clessie Cummins, founder of Cummins Engine Co., was known for improving existing diesel engines, creating new diesel engine designs, and setting world records for endurance and speed in trucks, buses and race cars. Perhaps not as well-known was his early success in promoting the efficiency of diesel power in automotive applications. With no diesel-powered passenger cars in production at the time, in 1935 Cummins briefly collaborated with Auburn Automobile Company to install a prototype Cummins Model A six-cylinder diesel for a 1935 Auburn. Using aluminum block and head for a much lighter engine than typical cast-iron diesel engines, the innovative new engine provided fuel efficiency, getting better mileage using less expensive fuel compared to a gasoline counterpart. 

Fact versus fiction

The Cummins-powered 1935 Auburn 655 and its existence has been largely shrouded in mystery. Until recently, only a handful of ACD club members could confirm its existence, as this single pre-production prototype car had been out of circulation and sitting in storage or the company museum for many years. Most of the members had no idea about the venture between Auburn and Cummins and were excited to see the car firsthand and learn that its story is more fact than fiction.

“It was a great opportunity to get Clessie Cummins’ vehicle out into the public and share a piece of Cummins’ history,” said Greg Haines, Cummins’ X15 Design and Development Leader, who partnered with Diehn on the road trip. “We even had requests to show the car next year at the famed Labor Day ACD Festival, an international event attended by thousands, held in Auburn, Indiana.”  Tim and Greg are part of a group of Cummins engineers who volunteer their time to restore and maintain the collection of historic engines and vehicles at the Cummins’ Heritage Center.  

Until its next road trip, the Auburn has returned to the Cummins headquarters in Columbus, Indiana, where it is proudly displayed with other historic company artifacts. There it serves as a reminder to employees and visitors of the many innovations associated with the company over its 103-year history. 

J. I. Miller exiting the Auburn in 1974

In 1974, the Auburn was “rediscovered” and restored to its current condition and given to J. I. Miller as a 40th Service anniversary gift. July 22, 1974 – J. I. Miller (then Cummins’ Chairman) exiting Auburn. 

View more images and learn more about the event! 

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Tamra Knudsen smiling

Tamra Knudsen

Tamra Knudsen is a Brand Journalist for Cummins with extensive experience in the Capital Goods sector, serving over 20 years in various corporate communications roles. She began her career in accounting, moving into numerous positions within finance, marketing and administration, until she discovered her niche in the field of communications. Her passion is to create transparent and meaningful content that educates, informs and engages readers on a variety of topics for both external and internal audiences. 

Tamra graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Parkside, with a BS in Business Administration and Management.

Cummins named a 2022 “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion"

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Cummins Inc. is invigorated by its deep history of commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. The company’s Global Disability Inclusion Initiative aims to create accessible, inclusive workplaces where people with disabilities are enabled to fulfill their potential. This commitment is celebrated as Cummins earns the distinction of “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion” this year.

Cummins has earned this distinction by achieving a top score of 100 on the Disability Equality Index (DEI), a comprehensive benchmarking tool that helps companies build a roadmap of measurable, tangible actions that can be taken to achieve disability inclusion and equality.

"We use this opportunity to help inform our disability inclusion strategy, to measure our progress against a globally recognized standard and to more effectively attract and retain valuable talent from a historically underutilized workforce," says Dennis Heathfield, Executive Director, Inclusion, People with Disabilities and Veterans, and also serves as Disability Inclusion Initiative Leader. “Through education, strategic partnerships, and financial investment toward improving the accessibility of our technology and facilities, Cummins strives to become an employer of choice for people with disabilities and to work in our communities to reduce barriers to employment for people with disabilities.”

The DEI is a joint initiative of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the nation’s largest disability rights organization, and Disability:IN, the global business disability inclusion network, to collectively advance the inclusion of people with disabilities. The organizations are complementary and bring unique strengths that make the project relevant and credible to corporations and the disability community.

Globally, people with disabilities represent over one billion people. Disability is a natural part of the human experience, and it crosses lines of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and religion. Cummins leaders and employees enable positive change by breaking down barriers, responding with empathy, and creating equity of opportunity for all. Cummins’ desire is to see a more prosperous world where all people are embraced for who they are and what they aspire to achieve.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

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