Mayowa Alonge has his eyes set on the future
Mayowa Alonge has his eyes set on the future. A native Nigerian, Mayowa realized early the role human exploration can play in impacting the environment. “I was looking to contribute, to create a movement, to make progress in that area, and I dedicated my life, my career to making advancement safer for future generations,” he said.
In college, Alonge gained research experience developing an eco-friendly battery. That research landed him a six-month internship with Cummins Inc., which he knew of from their office in Lagos, Nigeria. What impressed Alonge most about Cummins was “their foresight to transition almost all of their products into renewable energy,” he says. “This aligned with my personal and career goals.”
Cummins recruited Alonge at the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) conference in 2019 during his Master’s degree program. He was offered a full-time position in their New Power segment in Talent, Oregon, where he currently works as a Systems Engineer in battery development.
In addition to their sustainability efforts, the community Cummins builds has also resonated with Alonge. He has found Cummins to be an environment where everyone looks out for each other’s safety, as well as the safety of the end-user of the products. This is important to him; as is the company’s focus on work-life balance, diversity, team bonding and coming to work happy.
“I joined the team in the middle of a pandemic and moved from Texas to Oregon,” he says. “I felt welcomed. The team bonding was seamless. I think this is the best group of people I have ever worked with in my life.”
He points out that when he joined Cummins’ team in Talent, he was the only Black person in the building, “And I felt welcomed, like, literally,” he says. “Now we have four Black people on the team. The culture of acceptance is there, from the top down. They respect people regardless of color, sexual orientation, or anything. I’ve never seen any company as diverse as Cummins since being in the U.S. You know you are welcome.”
What makes Alonge happiest at work, however, is the freedom to think creatively and explore new tools. The lack of rigidity around doing work a certain way inspires him to bring his A-game to work every day.
“The leadership team I work with trusts me with the responsibility of coming up with design experiments for different products to test and validate the components to be sure that product is good for use,” he says. “Even with me joining the team recently and being a new employee, their trust gives me a lot of confidence to explore so many things in terms of ‘how do we do this in a better way? What do we need to do?’” With that confidence, Alonge has helped launch products that are already on the market, plus several more that are on the way.
Next, he has his sights set on the advent of lithium iron phosphates, or lithium metals. He believes that battery technology is the future and that if we can reduce the thermal runaway in batteries, they will become an invaluable resource for protecting tomorrow.
In his own little way, he says he’s trying to contribute to the reduction in pollution, which makes him feel accomplished as a person every day.
“People my age realize that the future is right in front of us, and if we don’t take drastic measures to prevent pollution, a lot of us would be sick,” he says. “You must be in that space where you’re working with companies that see the future and actually want to prevent bad things. People who have kids–and one day, I‘ll have kids–we don’t want to put them in an environment where they ask us, ‘Why didn’t you do something about it?’”