Shifting paths and sourcing talent with Lab Operations Leader

employee standing next to Cummins shuttle airplane

Alonso Navarrete never intended to be an engineer. “I ended up in college kind of by accident,” he says. “My prime path was to go to the military. I prepared all through high school for that. I was in the JROTC and was doing training in El Paso, Texas.” When the military didn’t work out due to familial obligations, Alonso decided to stay close to home and attend New Mexico State University. There he studied engineering, a passion he first developed on his father’s farm.

“We often had to fix our own equipment, our own tractor,” he says. “I always had the interest to learn more. I caught myself asking, ‘How can I make this more accessible? This is kind of a pain to work on. How could this be better?’”

Today, Alonso is grateful his father pushed him to get a degree. “Farming is not easy. My dad insisted farming would not be my future. He told me he’d sell everything before he’d let me do it. I’m the first one of his kids to get a university degree, and my dad has 15 kids.”

At Cummins Inc., Alonso has taken his farmer’s work ethic and his love of problem-solving to the Engine segment in Columbus, Indiana, where he is the Lab Ops Leader. There, he is responsible for the operation of eight test cells and eight technicians who are focused on the prototype for the next-generation RAM engine. He’s also responsible for five build areas and another team of four technicians who work on engine teardowns and builds.

He’s protective of his teams, frequently on the floor checking on their needs and minimizing their disturbances and interruptions so they can focus on the task at hand. “I’ve always had the mentality that teams are the ones who get the work done. It’s super important for me to make sure they have what they need,” he says.

Those needs sometimes extend beyond work. “It can be anything. Issues with the team, with customers or even personal. I try to guide them. My teams are everything. Although I’m new to this role and this team, I try to build that rapport and make it an extended family. I try to pay attention, I try to listen, I try to ask those tough questions and get to the why,” he says.

His compassion and empathy for his engine teams extend into his work as a Cummins talent scout where he also leads two campus recruiting teams. Cummins recruits at various colleges and universities, as well as events like the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and Great Minds in STEM (GMiS) conferences.

“I'm happy to go into these conferences and meet people from literally all over the world and get to hear their story. To me, that's really powerful,” he says. But what’s even more powerful is when he bumps into one of his recruits in the hallway at Cummins and gets the opportunity to learn even more about them, their journey and their culture. 

Perhaps his endearment for recruiting comes from the folks at Cummins who originally recruited him. He remembers having three offers after the NMSU career fair he attended. Two of them were with oil and gas companies, which would’ve kept him close to home. “But then there was Cummins,” he says. “I think one of the biggest things that stood out to me was just interacting with the recruiting team that was on campus. They were just so willing to help, you know, help kind of tailor your resume, help you with tips and tricks for the career fair and even interviewing tips.”

That was huge for Alonso. “I just needed help in general, to be better prepared to get a job, and they were willing to help me out. And now that I work here, I see that everyone has those values. Everyone is willing to help you with anything, any time.”

On a larger scale, Alonso recognizes that the work he’s doing is not just helping out recruits, his teams and his colleagues. He’s helping to make the world a better place by finding a long-term solution for improving engine fuel economy and efficiency. “I want to dig into alternative powertrains, fuel cells, battery-electric, hybrid. I’m excited about what Cummins is doing to diversify their portfolio for a carbon-neutral footprint,” he says. “Every one of those engines that are put in a truck is running cleaner, and I played a part in producing that. It takes a long time to get there, but once you see those first trucks on the road. It's a really good feeling.”

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.

Shaura S. helps employees feel valued, welcome and heard at Cummins

image of Shaura

Shaura is building a better world. As the Senior Communications Specialist for Global Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) at Cummins Inc., she is aware that her work has the potential to impact not just her own children, but all children.

Embedding diversity, equity and inclusion into our organization and hopefully, throughout the world, doesn't feel like work,” Shaura says. “It’s more of a passion.” 

Though Shaura has an undergraduate degree in Communications, her work at Cummins didn’t start in that division. For the past seven years, Shaura has worked in the Legal function at Cummins. Over the years, she tried a few times to move into the communications function, but interviewers told her she didn’t have enough professional communications experience.

Ever determined, Shaura reflected on the feedback she had received and decided to join an Employee Resource Group (ERG), Cummins Black Network (CBN). After spending time as a CBN member, she then accepted the volunteer position with CBN as a co-leader for their Marketing Communications committee, which gave her an opportunity to showcase the communications and leadership skills she needed to advance her career at Cummins. 

With the benefit of tuition reimbursement that Cummins offers, Shaura enrolled in college classes during the COVID pandemic and earned her Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in Marketing. She believes this, combined with substantial CBN experience, led her to successfully secure her current role of Senior Communications Specialist this year.

In this role, Shaura leads and supports communications on three major initiatives within DE&I, while embedding new and improved strategies across the enterprise to ensure that belonging is felt company-wide. She is also working on the communications plan for the new global DE&I Learning and Development program for the company.

"I have always volunteered for different diversity initiatives at Cummins over the years. Now, being able to combine my love of communications with DE&I work full-time within my role—it’s a dream,” Shaura says.

Shaura lauds ERGs at Cummins as a true asset both to the company and its employees, but not just for the professional development opportunities they provide. “Employee resource groups create a sense of belonging that helps employees feel valued, welcomed and heard. It’s an arm of the inclusion part of my work,” she says.
Cummins has long been a champion for creating inclusive work environments in a variety of ways, from offering paid parental leave for new fathers to more recently, adding an extra paid time-off (PTO) day for employees to use at their discretion to celebrate any day of significance to them. “It can be used for a birthday or a holiday that is culturally important to an employee like Juneteenth or Ramadan,” Shaura says.

When Shaura is volunteering to recruit diverse college talent for Cummins, she uses examples like these inclusive policies to tell potential interns, “Choose your company like you choose your friends. You want to work for a company with values that align with your own. And be sure they show their commitment to those values. It can’t just be something they put on a website.”

Shaura finds great joy in mentoring young people of color, as she reflects on being a product of having excellent mentors herself at Cummins. Beyond talking to college students, she also volunteers for Girls, Inc. with the goal of paving the way for the women of color who come after her. “I love working with girls, especially young Black girls,” she says. “I have two daughters, and anything I can do to empower them and other young Black women is a win,” she says. “I want to help illuminate the fact that they can be successful in doing anything they put their minds and muscles to.”

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.

A snapshot of my first 90 days as Cummins' CEO

Jen Rumsey talking

90 days - what a whirlwind and the start of an incredible journey. I recently shared with employees some of my key takeaways from the first three months as Cummins' CEO.

A focus on purpose, people and impact has shaped my career and will influence how I lead. From what I have seen and experienced in just these three months, I am certain that this moment of truth for our planet and society is our moment to shine. We have the opportunity and responsibility to leverage our expertise to develop sustainable solutions that enable our customers' success, positively impact our communities and protect our planet for future generations. And we are doing just that. 

PURPOSE

The work we do individually and collectively matters and has purpose. We power some of the world's most demanding and economically important applications and we play a critical role in the broader transition to a clean economy. 

We have a unique opportunity to do something no one else can do: help our diverse customers succeed as the energy transition happens because of our broad portfolio of power solutions, global service, expertise, and understanding and ability to optimize performance of our customers' applications and lessen our impact on the planet. And we have an opportunity to continue to grow our business as we do that. 

Jen Rumsey showcasing Cummins product

Transitioning our employees and customers to the future is critical for our continued success and matters greatly to me. This is an incredible opportunity and powerful purpose. It's awesome to see this work in action. I had the opportunity to attend the recent IAA trade show in Hanover, Germany. In the remarks I shared at the event and in my conversations with customers, our dual path approach of advancing both engine-based technologies as well as alternative solutions that can reach zero-emissions was well received and recognized - from our fuel agnostic platform, next generation diesel lineup and hydrogen internal combustion engine to our newest battery and fuel cell offerings. 

PEOPLE

Connecting our people to our purpose and creating inclusive environments are key to driving innovation and delivering solutions for our stakeholders. 

During the first few weeks following the announcement, I shared my excitement about our purpose and future by joining several employee town halls, and visited Meritor to welcome them to this great company. Since then, I've met with customers, engaged with community, government and other business leaders, visited our sites and connected with more of you during my travels. At every opportunity, I make sure to reinforce our commitment to keeping people at the center of technology transition and continuing to invest in developing the incredible talent across the company, providing opportunities to grow careers and increase impact. 

To mark International Day of the Girl just a few weeks ago, I was delighted to meet with a group of high school female students who spent the day at our Cummins Engine Plant. I shared my story, encouraged them to continue their interest in STEM and loved the opportunity to interact with girls just a few years younger than my own daughters. 

Cummins officers

In early October, we held the first in-person leadership meeting in three years. It gave me the opportunity to share my story and vision with our top leaders, and for all of us to reconnect, build relationships and talk about Cummins' future. The there of the meeting: reconnect, renew and recharge, is one I'm carrying with me for the rest of this year. 

IMPACT

As we are working to address climate change across all aspects of Cummins - improving our operations, developing new products and closely working with our customers and suppliers - we are making an impact, growing our business and delivering strong returns.

Our Destination Zero strategy is a growth opportunity for Cummins and our entire business plays a role in that strategy. The estimated impact on the planet of progressing our dual path approach is an additional 1.4 gigatons of cumulative carbon reduction - the equivalent of removing all trucks from the road for three years. 

I spoke at a PLANET 2050 town hall in September about the progress we are making on our goals of using natural resources in the most sustainable way, including constructing solar farms at our sites to offset energy costs and usage, and eliminating steps like no longer painting some of our engines with a clear coating before they leave the plant. 

employees at a ribbon cutting ceremony

I am so proud of the innovative thinking, collaboration and commitment to purpose that enable our company to navigate this transition from a position of strength. 

By executing our strategy and demonstrating our values, we can have tremendous impact for all of our stakeholders and society. 

Jennifer Rumsey smiling

Jennifer Rumsey

Jennifer Rumsey became President and CEO of Cummins Inc., the largest independent maker of diesel engines and related products in the world, on August 1, 2022.

Prior to her current role, Rumsey was President and Chief Operating Officer which she assumed in March 2021. Rumsey was Vice President and President of Components Segment, one of Cummins’ five business segments. The Components Segment consists of five businesses: Cummins Filtration, Cummins Turbo Technologies, Cummins Emission Solutions, Cummins Electronics and Fuel Systems and Eaton Cummins Automated Transmission Technologies. As the President of Components, Rumsey oversaw an organization of more than 12,000 global employees with sales of $6 billion in 2020 and customers located around the world. 

Rumsey previously served as Vice President and Chief Technical Officer where she led the global technical organization of approximately 11,000 employees responsible for research and engineering across Cummins. Rumsey’s early career focused on control systems and system engineering; initially at a fuel processing and fuel cell start-up company in Cambridge, MA. In 2000, she moved to Cummins and has worked in a variety of engineering roles across Cummins and product life cycle areas including advanced technology development, new product development, current product engineering and product quality. 

Rumsey is passionate about building high-performing, diverse teams and has dedicated her Cummins career to the development of others and to innovate for customers to power their success. 

Rumsey is a member of the Society of Women Engineers, Society of Automotive Engineers, the Purdue Engineering Advisory Committee and Women in Trucking Association. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Tracy K leads Cummins HBCU program to new heights

cutout of employee

Tracy never saw herself as a “career woman.” At 18, she joined corporate America working a filing job — the beginning of a 10 -year stint working in finance for the manufacturing industry.

However, when her mother opened a restaurant, Tracy packed up her things and moved to Tennessee, where she used her experience in accounting to help her mother set up the restaurant’s bookkeeping.

While working alongside her mother to open the restaurant, Tracy knew she needed a temporary job to keep her afloat until she figured out her next move. She landed a two-week assignment at Cummins and fell in love with the company’s culture. Tracy quickly realized she wanted to stay longer than two weeks and, for Cummins, the feeling was mutual. Two years into her journey at Cummins, Tracy began working in recruitment where she nurtured a love for recruiting diverse talent and delivering top-notch employee experiences to underrepresented communities. Now, 22 years later, she couldn’t be happier to celebrate her career with Cummins.

It’s the way Cummins embraces diversity in the fact that they have strong messaging to support the education of and resource groups available to every employee,”

says Tracy when asked what made the company the right place to start her career. “It’s also how you feel daily when you interact with your colleagues. There’s this underlying community based on everyone embracing and uplifting that element of diversity and inclusion.”

Tracy’s work ethic propelled her upward through Cummins’ ranks, with new opportunities coming to her naturally. Every time one came along that sounded fun and challenging, she never hesitated to take it on.

When leadership came to Tracy and asked if she would be interested in leading the company’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Program, she immediately said yes. While she didn’t attend an HBCU herself, Tracy’s daughter received her master's degree from Tennessee State University, giving her first-hand knowledge of the power and value of partnering with these institutions.

Working with HBCU is nothing new at Cummins. However, the new HBCU initiative helmed by Tracy seeks to transform the company’s partnerships and usher in a new way of engaging younger talent.

“One of the most unique things about HBCUs is the family and community element,” says Tracy. “There are a lot of companies trying to get in with HBCUs, but we’ve already been there. We’re already partners of theirs, so having this dedicated program allows us to be intentional about those relationships.”

Tracy provides students with resources beyond the classroom and scholarships. She does her best to provide a safe space for students to seek guidance, and solutions for things like housing or even receive motherly advice on how to overcome homesickness.

Tracy and her team of volunteers take a multi-faceted approach to expand upon the work the campus recruitment teams are doing. One of their efforts is the Intern Program. Tracy seeks to bolster the intern experience for her cohorts of HBCU students by offering professional opportunities and social activities that allow the students to network with each other and learn about the industry. She wants them to develop personally, not just professionally. To facilitate this, Tracy provides what she calls Safe Space Sessions twice a month. These can range from motivational guest speakers to mental health meditation sessions.

During one all-intern visit to Cummins’ Columbus, Indiana, campus, Tracy decided to organize professional headshots for the members of her HBCU cohort. She recalls fondly how one first-generation student told her excitedly about how he bought a suit for the first time ever so he could “look the part” for this photo. “That moment made me realize that, yes, this program matters to me and matters to Cummins as a whole,” says Tracy. “That’s the real value of investing in programs like this.”

But Tracy’s work doesn’t end with internships. The HBCU Program also aims to ease the transition for new Cummins employees who are fresh out of college and are still in the early stages of their careers.

“We want to make sure we’re providing an environment where they can thrive, not just survive,” says Tracy. “By having this program, we can take a more holistic approach to our work by bringing together those elements of community, development and retention.”

Tracy puts these ideas into action by pairing new HBCU hires with another HBCU graduate that works at Cummins to help them adjust and settle into their new work environment. These mentors don’t just focus on success at work, though — they also help new hires with the more personal aspects of the transition.

“Some new employees come from environments that are entirely different from the corporate world and require a different approach to engagement so that any barriers to success are removed,” states Tracy. “So, we’re not just showing them how to do their job. We’re also helping them figure out how you move from a major city to a small town in some cases.”

Tracy’s approach has proven successful. Since developing the program, Cummins has seen a 38% increase in the recruitment of HBCU students. Not only that, but Tracy has also grown her team of volunteers to 90 in just one year. She attributes this growth to intentionality, saying, “I take the time to learn what their goals are so I can identify roles and responsibilities that are connected to their passions. As a result, we have people who are truly engaged because they want to be.”

The volunteers, she says, are often as impacted by the experience as the students. One guest speaker who presented to students reached out to Tracy after the session to thank her and say, “You made me feel so special,” to which Tracy replied, “You are special. You are a North Star providing representation for these students.”.

This effort to foster an environment of inclusion where every student, employee and volunteer feels heard sits at the heart of Tracy’s approach to work. “You have to listen and work as a team and collaborate,” she says. “It’s not about Tracy being right. It's about us getting it right.”

Tracy’s enthusiasm for diverse experiences and tackling new challenges extends outside of Cummins, where she spends her free time cooking and traveling. Her travel bug has taken her to almost all 50 states. She hopes to soon visit the mountains, jungles and seas of Peru. There, she will no doubt make an impact, because even on vacation, Tracy dedicates time to volunteering and outreach. On a recent trip to Jamaica, she organized a community event to provide food and school supplies for the locals.

Professionally, her biggest hope for the HBCU Program is to one day not need an HBCU Program. Instead, her work strives to weave diversity and inclusion even deeper into the Cummins fabric.

“Ultimately, diversity and inclusion, and the work we do in the HBCU Program, should be an unspoken part of who you are and the work we do together,” says Tracy. “We’ve got a way to go, but we’re making progress day by day, and that is what I’m most proud of about my work here at Cummins.”

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.

Recognizing and remembering our veterans

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This note was authored by Earl Newsome, Cummins Vice President and Chief Information Officer and Executive Sponsor, Cummins Veterans Employee Resource Group; and was distributed to employees. 

Today on Veterans Day and Global Day of Remembrance, we shine a light on all veterans who have served, those who continue to serve and those who paid the ultimate price in their service. On this day, the United Kingdom, Canada, France and Australia recognize veterans by pausing for a moment of silence on the eleventh hour on November 11. I think we can all adopt this practice wherever we may be in the world, as a way of saying thank you to our brave veterans.  

As a fellow veteran, I began my career serving in the U.S. Army, and I often reflect on how much that experience shaped me. Serving my country helped me understand my leadership purpose of inspiring the people around me. To borrow the words of Jane Goodall, I believe that the service of our veterans reminds us that, “Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.”  This is the very nature of a Soldier.  I’m reminded of the fact that we serve to ensure everyone enjoys the freedoms enabled by all those who serve and support those who serve – it is indeed a pleasure to have served. 

We hold firmly to the value of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging because it allows us to build a culture of psychological safety where all our people, including many who are veterans, feel seen and are happy to contribute. I am proud that the company has once again earned recognition as a 2023 Military Friendly® Employer (Bronze level), as well as Military Friendly® Supplier Diversity and Brand designations for our efforts in creating sustainable and meaningful career paths, community outreach, brand enthusiasm, and enduring partnerships. Cummins is proud to be a strong veteran supporter and understands the advantages and benefits of hiring veterans, like myself and many others.

Below are some ways we can all remember and honor our veteran workforce on November 11. 

  • Wear a poppy 
  • Observe a moment of silence at 11 a.m.  
  • Volunteer with local veteran organizations 
  • Support veteran-owned businesses 
  • Talk to your families/children about veterans
  • Just say “Thank you for your service” to those who have served

Earl Newsome 
Executive Sponsor, Cummins Veterans Employee Resource Group 

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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