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DONOR STORIES

Three cheers for our donors!  They are amazing.

Our donors all have one thing in common.  They wanted to give back and make Washington County
a better place to live and raise a family.

Their stories are all unique and we are honored to be the stewards of their legacy.  Take some time to peruse our list and read their stories.  More than likely, there is someone on the list that you know!

SPAULDING, Steven

A Lifetime of Leadership

On December 6, 1953 Barbara Spaulding and her parents, Janie E. (Alsup) and Merle T. Spaulding, welcomed her new baby brother, Steven, into the world. No one knew it at the time, but Steve would grow up to be a key global leader in a world renowned company. Steve will be the first to say that his upbringing on a farm in Salem, Indiana, along with his education and sports team lessons, were the keys to his success.

Steve grew up on a dairy farm and learned early on the value of hard work. His father was Lead Dairyman for Clarence Branaman. Since dairy cows need to be milked twice a day, Steve did not even know until grade school that families take a vacation. However, he would not trade the lessons he learned from his father, mother and Clarence for anything. “Dad valued people by their work ethic. He was very direct and straight forward,” recalled Steve. When he was older Steve put up hay for Clarence and grew to view him as a mentor. Steve recalled “that Clarence told him when he couldn’t operate the farms on a cash basis, he would sell them. He never had to borrow cash nor sell the farms." He was a very shrewd and charismatic businessperson who liked Steve and encouraged him to further his education beyond high school.

Steve’s mother, on the other hand, was quite outgoing, bubbly and deeply religious. Led by this mother, he and his sister never missed Church on Sunday. His mother encouraged Steve to go to college and was determined that he do so. He has fond memories of Sunday family gatherings at his grandparents’ house and playing with his many cousins. Great food, great family and fun cousins…what else could a young boy need? He had all the necessities, even though there was not a lot of extra money for the family. However, Steve received all the love and support he could ever want or need from his family.

Steve was active as a youth and all through high school. He was a member of 4-H, the Methodist Youth Organization, Little League Baseball and played multiple sports in middle school and high school. Many of his Salem teachers and sport coaches had a huge positive impact on his life. He became a recognized basketball player in his junior and senior years at Salem High School. Steve was the only junior starter on the Salem 1971 Regional Champs Basketball Team. Through sports activities—including being captain of teams—Steve early on recognized his ability to lead and push for performance excellence.

After graduating from Salem High School in 1972, Steve earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting at Indiana University Kelley School of Business where he graduated in 1976. Steve was elected and served as Treasurer of his Sigma PI Fraternity his sophomore year. During his time at Indiana University, Steve participated and supported many IU Foundation activities. As a senior at Indiana University, he was recognized as a leader by the IU Foundation and selected to serve on IU’s Student Foundation Steering Committee. Upon graduation from IU’s Kelley School of Business he joined Cummins, Inc., a global producer of diesel and natural gas engines. Cummins turned out to be a great fit for Steve as he spent his entire professional career (40 years) with Cummins, Inc. before retiring. Cummins made Steve a company Officer in 2008 as he became the leader for Global Purchasing and Supply Chain for Cummins Engine Business.

Steve met the love of his life, his wife Jennifer, in 1983 while working for Cummins. Jennifer started her employment at Cummins in 1981 upon graduation from Yale. They were married in New Jersey, Jennifer’s home state, on September 25, 1988. Jennifer continued to work full time at various companies until their son, Justin, was born on June 1, 2000.   After that, Jennifer focused on motherhood, business and volunteer work. She served on the boards of Girls, Inc. and The Orchard School. She became a docent at the Indianapolis Museum of Art leading specialized art tours. During this time she also managed the family’s rental properties and worked part-time in a jewelry business.

Steve and Jennifer are enjoying their retirement in Indianapolis. They have just a few more years before Justin leaves for college, and they are packing in as much time with him as possible. Steve and his family enjoy snow skiing and water sports together and exploring the world through international travel.

In 2015, Steve established the Steven A. Spaulding Salem High School Scholarship Fund. He was looking for a way to give back to youth growing up in Salem and help them further themselves. Steve will be the first to admit that he was not the “best” student in his class but he knew he wanted to go to college. Steve attended Indiana University in Bloomington where he received scholarships and loans to help with his expenses. At the end of his freshman year, he did well enough to be accepted into the Kelley School of Business. Steve valued his education from Salem High School and wanted to do something to recognize the school that gave him such a great start in life.

To future recipients of this scholarship, Steve has the following advice:

• Treat people with respect

• Always have a goal

• Work hard and never give up.

Steve had a remarkable 40 year career at Cummins. He became a highly respected leader in his field. To learn more about Steve’s experience and philosophy read the following interview conducted when Steve retired from Cummins in June of 2016.

What are the most important leadership lessons you have learned over the course of your life?

What is a simple leadership activity that you have always been good at and that people recognized you for?

What is something about leadership that you know today that you did not know when you started on your first leadership role?

When did you know you were a leader?

Is there a leadership mantra that you have found very useful?

What factors do you attribute to your success?

Were you ever not happy about your leadership capabilities? Was there a turning point? What did you do?

What advice do you have in “Managing an organization”?

How did you balance or integrate work and life?

What advice do you have for a young leader?

What are the most important leadership lessons you have learned over the course of your life?

People react more productively and quicker to positive motivators compared to how they react to fear and/or threatening motivators. My father was a dairyman who never wasted time in completing tasks . He had a direct person communication style. He made clear what he wanted and while he didn’t try to intimidate or create fear, you knew that if he asked you to do something, you’d better do it. Later in my professional life, I had some great early role models. I always marveled at how they could motivate people and get them to produce and enjoy it at the same time. If you can motivate individuals and set up a fun environment, it’s a much better atmosphere. I’ve not run into many at CMI who do the (management by) “fear” thing. The best leaders in this area can use the strength or vibrancy of their personality to motivate even the saddest member of the team.

Making no decision is often worse than making a bad decision. You will, at some point, make a wrong or bad decision. If people (team leaders, managers) don’t feel empowered it clouds the decision making process. If we get in a parallel mode and you have teams working together, that’s good for collaboration, but if you don’t have clear leadership, it is often difficult. It’s important to define what level decisions should be made at where. One role model I had said “my goal is to make 100 decisions a day and get 80 right.” What bothered this person was if they had managers who didn’t make the call. My view is make the decision: don’t worry about making the decision, some will be wrong, but you’re not waiting on someone to do it for you. A lot of (CMI’s) work in the 90s was to empower teams so they could make decisions and I hope we don’t get away from that.

Feedback is a “gift” – the vast majority of people want concise, clear constructive feedback. I learned this from “team based work systems” work in the ‘90’s. Dave Jacobs (TBS external consultant) was the first one who brought the “feedback is a gift” concept to me. At the time we had a lot of middle managers and we knew a lot of these folks couldn’t make the journey and as we reorganized, we realized we didn’t need this layer. So part of how we figured this out was to give the managers feedback.

We also plotted people’s movements over this time. People will say they’ll champion something but won’t actually act nor publicly support it. This is as bad as someone who is negative, or sometimes worse.


What is a simple leadership activity that you have always been good at and that people recognized you for?

The first thing is an open and honest leadership style combined with an ability to listen to others. I have my mom’s characteristics in this case. She was a very welcoming person, as was my grandmother. My grandmother lived in the country and I would go stay with her in the summertime. Her house was always busy as people from around the area would often stop by. I attribute that warmth / openness to my mother and grandmother. In my professional life, I think this worked well with suppliers and others that I interacted with throughout the world.

The second thing is honesty. I see this as a combination of telling people things directly, being open and willing to listen, but not misdirecting them. I think it’s important be able to tell someone directly if they need to reassess or realign their approach, and I try to make sure the person understands the feedback they’re being given. It is important to do this with clarity while not coming across as putting people down or over critical.

The third thing is figuring out how best to actually add value and help teams and/or the situation. I think there’s a couple things about this: it’s a learned thing. When teams are in crisis or chaos, they don’t always know how to help themselves. Some leaders will come in and tell them “you’ve got to get this done”. My style is different, I observe the situation and say “we need these 3 resources, I’ll help you get them to get things done”. Just saying “I want a report by the end of the day” doesn’t help if the team doesn’t have the right resources. What skill breaks the bottleneck and figuring out does the team have it (?) adds value.

The final thing is setting the right targets and moving the right people to the work: Partly because I was a controller, partly because I do a fair amount of planning, I think through what it takes to deliver. I encountered this a few times outside of work. Growing up, my dad wouldn’t go to the farm to do the work until everything was planned out. He planned his tools, materials, and sometimes would even do a drawing to prepare if we were building something. In the work context, I found that, for example, cost reduction doesn’t just happen, we’ve built processes for this. When you have to deliver results, ask yourself “what’s the foundation?” What will sustain results and does that exist or not? In some roles or functions this is more work than others but it helps to have repeatable results. I’ve always been able to step back and assess the situation, and understand the need from my boss, and what‘s the process / vehicle / sustainable way to get from point A to Z. Some people just don’t think this way.

What is something about leadership that you know today that you did not know when you started on your first leadership role?

How to get people who take a negative position or reaction, to turn their negatives into what they would do to move the group and/or situation forward in a constructive manner.

I worked through a challenging time in the manufacturing organization. I had a weekly meeting every Friday for 3 years with the DWU Leaders and 5 Plant Managers when we were doing the Team Based Work System transition (1994-97). During that time we closed 3 plants but we never stopped talking. When faced with a difficult situation, you can stonewall anything, but your second sentence has to be how you’re moving the group forward. If you can’t think about the second sentence, don’t talk about the first one.

In another example, when we were doing global sourcing in the IT space, people were resistant. I communicated to the group of decision makers “here’s where the company is, here’s the skills that are available, give me a better idea and we’ll do it”. If you put the challenge to people or you’re setting up a challenge to people, it allows you to have the conversation in a positive way.

Another thing I learned was how to work through resistance to a change. My second job after payroll was accounts payable. My boss was energized to try change making process, but I had a huge problem: we had a bottleneck on data entry and had a throughput issue, we weren’t paying suppliers on time. Suppliers were complaining. I had young people who did transactions and had some more senior “analysts” who could solve any problem. I put the whole group in a room and said “we’ve got this bottleneck so we’re all going to do data entry, and they balked. They said “you’ll shut this company down!” and threatened to report what I was doing to my boss’s boss (CFO). I said “I don’t care, let him call me”, knowing that I would at the least be able to explain my reasons for doing this. Listening to all that and being clear where you’re going and what the rationale is. When you drive change people are going to resist, you have to be able to listen, but also have the will to charge ahead.


When did you know you were a leader?

It happened fairly early. In 8th grade I ran for student council and one year ran for class president. I just did these things, my parents in this case didn’t push me. In high school I was chosen to be a team captain in basketball. Took on more leadership roles at college such as IU Student Foundation Steering Committee, Fraternity Treasurer, participated and organized intramural sport teams.
There is a feeling I had when I joined my fraternity in college and looked at my peers and I realized my class could run (the frat organization). I felt something similar when I came into CMI. I don’t know why I felt this, but in general I think I look for the opportunity to make a positive change.

Is there a leadership mantra that you have found very useful?
Results matter; listen more than you talk; leaders learn more from two-way communications vs one-way communication; trust is earned

What factors do you attribute to your success?

I have a strong work ethic. My farm background is somewhat of a driver of this. My dad valued everyone on their work ethic. Dad was an early riser. I didn’t know people took vacations until 8th grade because we had to milk the cows every day. My dad never took a vacation. Some of my hours at CMI are just job related. There are no easy jobs at CMI anymore.

I get a lot of satisfaction out of accomplishment. Some jobs I’ve had are like watching paint dry; it takes you 6 months to see progress. But at that point you can see something and see that the work moved the company forward. Maybe sports has made me this way, but I see that you either win or lose. I want to win and don’t like to see “reds on scorecards”. One of my boss’s said of me “Spaulding always wants the ball in his hand at the

A Lifetime of Leadership

On December 6, 1953 Barbara Spaulding and her parents, Janie E. (Alsup) and Merle T. Spaulding, welcomed her new baby brother, Steven, into the world. No one knew it at the time, but Steve would grow up to be a key global leader in a world renowned company. Steve will be the first to say that his upbringing on a farm in Salem, Indiana, along with his education and sports team lessons, were the keys to his success.

Steve grew up on a dairy farm and learned early on the value of hard work. His father was Lead Dairyman for Clarence Branaman. Since dairy cows need to be milked twice a day, Steve did not even know until grade school that families take a vacation. However, he would not trade the lessons he learned from his father, mother and Clarence for anything. “Dad valued people by their work ethic. He was very direct and straight forward,” recalled Steve. \ When he was older Steve put up hay for Clarence and grew to view him as a mentor. Steve recalled “that Clarence told him when he couldn’t operate the farms on a cash basis, he would sell them. He never had to borrow cash nor sell the farms." He was a very shrewd and charismatic businessperson who liked Steve and encouraged him to further his education beyond high school.

Steve’s mother, on the other hand, was quite outgoing, bubbly and deeply religious. Led by this mother, he and his sister never missed Church on Sunday. His mother encouraged Steve to go to college and was determined that he do so. He has fond memories of Sunday family gatherings at his grandparents’ house and playing with his many cousins. Great food, great family and fun cousins…what else could a young boy need? He had all the necessities, even though there was not a lot of extra money for the family. However, Steve received all the love and support he could ever want or need from his family.

Steve was active as a youth and all through high school. He was a member of 4-H, the Methodist Youth Organization, Little League Baseball and played multiple sports in middle school and high school. Many of his Salem teachers and sport coaches had a huge positive impact on his life. He became a recognized basketball player in his junior and senior years at Salem High School. Steve was the only junior starter on the Salem 1971 Regional Champs Basketball Team. Through sports activities—including being captain of teams—Steve early on recognized his ability to lead and push for performance excellence.

After graduating from Salem High School in 1972, Steve earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting at Indiana University Kelley School of Business where he graduated in 1976. Steve was elected and served as Treasurer of his Sigma PI Fraternity his sophomore year. During his time at Indiana University, Steve participated and supported many IU Foundation activities. As a senior at Indiana University, he was recognized as a leader by the IU Foundation and selected to serve on IU’s Student Foundation Steering Committee. Upon graduation from IU’s Kelley School of Business he joined Cummins, Inc., a global producer of diesel and natural gas engines. Cummins turned out to be a great fit for Steve as he spent his entire professional career (40 years) with Cummins, Inc. before retiring. Cummins made Steve a company Officer in 2008 as he became the leader for Global Purchasing and Supply Chain for Cummins Engine Business.

Steve met the love of his life, his wife Jennifer, in 1983 while working for Cummins. Jennifer started her employment at Cummins in 1981 upon graduation from Yale. They were married in New Jersey, Jennifer’s home state, on September 25, 1988. Jennifer continued to work full time at various companies until their son, Justin, was born on June 1, 2000.   After that, Jennifer focused on motherhood, business and volunteer work. She served on the boards of Girls, Inc. and The Orchard School. She became a docent at the Indianapolis Museum of Art leading specialized art tours. During this time she also managed the family’s rental properties and worked part-time in a jewelry business.

Steve and Jennifer are enjoying their retirement in Indianapolis. They have just a few more years before Justin leaves for college, and they are packing in as much time with him as possible. Steve and his family enjoy snow skiing and water sports together and exploring the world through international travel.

In 2015, Steve established the Steven A. Spaulding Salem High School Scholarship Fund. He was looking for a way to give back to youth growing up in Salem and help them further themselves. Steve will be the first to admit that he was not the “best” student in his class but he knew he wanted to go to college. Steve attended Indiana University in Bloomington where he received scholarships and loans to help with his expenses. At the end of his freshman year, he did well enough to be accepted into the Kelley School of Business. Steve valued his education from Salem High School and wanted to do something to recognize the school that gave him such a great start in life.

To future recipients of this scholarship, Steve has the following advice:

• Treat people with respect

• Always have a goal

• Work hard and never give up.

Steve had a remarkable 40 year career at Cummins. He became a highly respected leader in his field. To learn more about Steve’s experience and philosophy read the following interview conducted when Steve retired from Cummins in June of 2016.

What are the most important leadership lessons you have learned over the course of your life?

What is a simple leadership activity that you have always been good at and that people recognized you for?

What is something about leadership that you know today that you did not know when you started on your first leadership role?

When did you know you were a leader?

Is there a leadership mantra that you have found very useful?

What factors do you attribute to your success?

Were you ever not happy about your leadership capabilities? Was there a turning point? What did you do?

What advice do you have in “Managing an organization”?

How did you balance or integrate work and life?

What advice do you have for a young leader?

What are the most important leadership lessons you have learned over the course of your life?

People react more productively and quicker to positive motivators compared to how they react to fear and/or threatening motivators. My father was a dairyman who never wasted time in completing tasks . He had a direct person communication style. He made clear what he wanted and while he didn’t try to intimidate or create fear, you knew that if he asked you to do something, you’d better do it. Later in my professional life, I had some great early role models. I always marveled at how they could motivate people and get them to produce and enjoy it at the same time. If you can motivate individuals and set up a fun environment, it’s a much better atmosphere. I’ve not run into many at CMI who do the (management by) “fear” thing. The best leaders in this area can use the strength or vibrancy of their personality to motivate even the saddest member of the team.

Making no decision is often worse than making a bad decision. You will, at some point, make a wrong or bad decision. If people (team leaders, managers) don’t feel empowered it clouds the decision making process. If we get in a parallel mode and you have teams working together, that’s good for collaboration, but if you don’t have clear leadership, it is often difficult. It’s important to define what level decisions should be made at where. One role model I had said “my goal is to make 100 decisions a day and get 80 right.” What bothered this person was if they had managers who didn’t make the call. My view is make the decision: don’t worry about making the decision, some will be wrong, but you’re not waiting on someone to do it for you. A lot of (CMI’s) work in the 90s was to empower teams so they could make decisions and I hope we don’t get away from that.

Feedback is a “gift” – the vast majority of people want concise, clear constructive feedback. I learned this from “team based work systems” work in the ‘90’s. Dave Jacobs (TBS external consultant) was the first one who brought the “feedback is a gift” concept to me. At the time we had a lot of middle managers and we knew a lot of these folks couldn’t make the journey and as we reorganized, we realized we didn’t need this layer. So part of how we figured this out was to give the managers feedback.

We also plotted people’s movements over this time. People will say they’ll champion something but won’t actually act nor publicly support it. This is as bad as someone who is negative, or sometimes worse.


What is a simple leadership activity that you have always been good at and that people recognized you for?

The first thing is an open and honest leadership style combined with an ability to listen to others. I have my mom’s characteristics in this case. She was a very welcoming person, as was my grandmother. My grandmother lived in the country and I would go stay with her in the summertime. Her house was always busy as people from around the area would often stop by. I attribute that warmth / openness to my mother and grandmother. In my professional life, I think this worked well with suppliers and others that I interacted with throughout the world.

The second thing is honesty. I see this as a combination of telling people things directly, being open and willing to listen, but not misdirecting them. I think it’s important be able to tell someone directly if they need to reassess or realign their approach, and I try to make sure the person understands the feedback they’re being given. It is important to do this with clarity while not coming across as putting people down or over critical.

The third thing is figuring out how best to actually add value and help teams and/or the situation. I think there’s a couple things about this: it’s a learned thing. When teams are in crisis or chaos, they don’t always know how to help themselves. Some leaders will come in and tell them “you’ve got to get this done”. My style is different, I observe the situation and say “we need these 3 resources, I’ll help you get them to get things done”. Just saying “I want a report by the end of the day” doesn’t help if the team doesn’t have the right resources. What skill breaks the bottleneck and figuring out does the team have it (?) adds value.

The final thing is setting the right targets and moving the right people to the work: Partly because I was a controller, partly because I do a fair amount of planning, I think through what it takes to deliver. I encountered this a few times outside of work. Growing up, my dad wouldn’t go to the farm to do the work until everything was planned out. He planned his tools, materials, and sometimes would even do a drawing to prepare if we were building something. In the work context, I found that, for example, cost reduction doesn’t just happen, we’ve built processes for this. When you have to deliver results, ask yourself “what’s the foundation?” What will sustain results and does that exist or not? In some roles or functions this is more work than others but it helps to have repeatable results. I’ve always been able to step back and assess the situation, and understand the need from my boss, and what‘s the process / vehicle / sustainable way to get from point A to Z. Some people just don’t think this way.

What is something about leadership that you know today that you did not know when you started on your first leadership role?

How to get people who take a negative position or reaction, to turn their negatives into what they would do to move the group and/or situation forward in a constructive manner.

I worked through a challenging time in the manufacturing organization. I had a weekly meeting every Friday for 3 years with the DWU Leaders and 5 Plant Managers when we were doing the Team Based Work System transition (1994-97). During that time we closed 3 plants but we never stopped talking. When faced with a difficult situation, you can stonewall anything, but your second sentence has to be how you’re moving the group forward. If you can’t think about the second sentence, don’t talk about the first one.

In another example, when we were doing global sourcing in the IT space, people were resistant. I communicated to the group of decision makers “here’s where the company is, here’s the skills that are available, give me a better idea and we’ll do it”. If you put the challenge to people or you’re setting up a challenge to people, it allows you to have the conversation in a positive way.

Another thing I learned was how to work through resistance to a change. My second job after payroll was accounts payable. My boss was energized to try change making process, but I had a huge problem: we had a bottleneck on data entry and had a throughput issue, we weren’t paying suppliers on time. Suppliers were complaining. I had young people who did transactions and had some more senior “analysts” who could solve any problem. I put the whole group in a room and said “we’ve got this bottleneck so we’re all going to do data entry, and they balked. They said “you’ll shut this company down!” and threatened to report what I was doing to my boss’s boss (CFO). I said “I don’t care, let him call me”, knowing that I would at the least be able to explain my reasons for doing this. Listening to all that and being clear where you’re going and what the rationale is. When you drive change people are going to resist, you have to be able to listen, but also have the will to charge ahead.


When did you know you were a leader?

It happened fairly early. In 8th grade I ran for student council and one year ran for class president. I just did these things, my parents in this case didn’t push me. In high school I was chosen to be a team captain in basketball. Took on more leadership roles at college such as IU Student Foundation Steering Committee, Fraternity Treasurer, participated and organized intramural sport teams.
There is a feeling I had when I joined my fraternity in college and looked at my peers and I realized my class could run (the frat organization). I felt something similar when I came into CMI. I don’t know why I felt this, but in general I think I look for the opportunity to make a positive change.

Is there a leadership mantra that you have found very useful?
Results matter; listen more than you talk; leaders learn more from two-way communications vs one-way communication; trust is earned

What factors do you attribute to your success?

I have a strong work ethic. My farm background is somewhat of a driver of this. My dad valued everyone on their work ethic. Dad was an early riser. I didn’t know people took vacations until 8th grade because we had to milk the cows every day. My dad never took a vacation. Some of my hours at CMI are just job related. There are no easy jobs at CMI anymore.

I get a lot of satisfaction out of accomplishment. Some jobs I’ve had are like watching paint dry; it takes you 6 months to see progress. But at that point you can see something and see that the work moved the company forward. Maybe sports has made me this way, but I see that you either win or lose. I want to win and don’t like to see “reds on scorecards”. One of my boss’s said of me “Spaulding always wants the ball in his hand at the free throw line at end of the game when it is tied”.

I also feel that I have always had confidence in myself or in my team to deliver. Through my parents or my teachers, I didn’t realize there were people who just didn’t have self-confidence. I realize there are reasons for this, but it’s something I haven’t experienced. If I ever had a lack of confidence it never bothered me. Something through my life has built that. Resilience is also part of this. For me it’s harder to look back than forward, because I can change the future but not the past. My father said “Never cry over spilled milk”, mainly because in his mind you can’t do anything about it, so it was best to focus on what you would do next.


Were you ever not happy about your leadership capabilities? Was there a turning point? What did you do?

I had some doubts about how well I managed and worked with large groups. Early in my career I did go back and forth between managing large groups and then doing more staff accounting roles. I had to learn how to deal with the energy factor. Managing large groups was initially draining to me, and I had to move into a staff type role to recharge. I would find opportunities to do something more research oriented or technical. I think as you get more senior / experienced it gets less draining to run large organizations.

What advice do you have in “Managing an organization”?

Establish structured and frequent communication sessions (more two way conversations as well vs. just 1 way), define a clear direction, vision, goal tree for the organization, measure and make results visible, continuous development of talent and recruiting talent upgrades. Use sub-groups with clear charters to drive synergies and key initiatives while at the same time help team members bond. Be a visible role model by truly championing 1-3 key initiatives, recognizing that you can’t champion everything.

How did you balance or integrate work and life?

It is important to prioritize and attend key home life events (spouse, children, and relatives). I have missed some things, for example I didn’t always make track meets, but I try to protect family events whenever possible.

My philosophy: part of this is how the cards were dealt. When I was single and it was just me, my theory was “too much work for Steve makes Steve a very dull boy” so I protected personal time as a stress relief. I saw this as allowing me to stay focused at work. As I got family,   especially with my larger extended family, I just had to allocate time. Throughout my career I saw crises with my colleagues occur and I thought “I don’t want to end up there” such as divorces and broken homes. These things aren’t worth it. They aren’t always preventable, but a lot of these can be work driven. Learn to know and tell when you are “in the grip” and how to “get out of the grip.’” One time I was complaining about how tough my work was, my boss asked how my home life was. I smiled and said how great it was, and said “you’ll be fine and will get through this work stuff, just take it from me, don’t get both work and family out of sync at the same time”. My goal coming to work is to deliver the work expected for my pay (ie breakeven) at the end of the day, want to earn my pay but no entitlement due from Cummins.

Always use one’s full vacation, as it’s important for managing stress and being able to attend key home events. As I got more experience managing people, I realized the importance of this. With respect to my teams, I always encouraged them to take their time off. The thought was: if my employees can’t manage their vacation, can they manage their jobs?

What advice do you have for a young leader?

• Bring your passion and emotion for getting things done to work with you every day

• Treat others with respect and as you would want to be treated

• Strive every day to make Cummins a better place when you leave at the and of the day than when you came into work that morning

• Make decisions –never be afraid to make a decision

• Teams need clear missions, scorecards, and recognition

• Results matter

Finally, be able to laugh at yourself: part of this comes back to people trusting me, we’re all human, and if you aren’t able to look back at something you did and say it was stupid and joke about it and make it visible, they almost think you’re superficial. I think this ability to laugh at myself   started early. I grew up with a lot of nicknames and I just sort of learned to roll with this.

free throw line at end of the game when it is tied”.

I also feel that I have always had confidence in myself or in my team to deliver. Through my parents or my teachers, I didn’t realize there were people who just didn’t have self-confidence. I realize there are reasons for this, but it’s something I haven’t experienced. If I ever had a lack of confidence it never bothered me. Something through my life has built that. Resilience is also part of this. For me it’s harder to look back than forward, because I can change the future but not the past. My father said “Never cry over spilled milk”, mainly because in his mind you can’t do anything about it, so it was best to focus on what you would do next.


Were you ever not happy about your leadership capabilities? Was there a turning point? What did you do?

I had some doubts about how well I managed and worked with large groups. Early in my career I did go back and forth between managing large groups and then doing more staff accounting roles. I had to learn how to deal with the energy factor. Managing large groups was initially draining to me, and I had to move into a staff type role to recharge. I would find opportunities to do something more research oriented or technical. I think as you get more senior / experienced it gets less draining to run large organizations.

What advice do you have in “Managing an organization”?

Establish structured and frequent communication sessions (more two way conversations as well vs. just 1 way), define a clear direction, vision, goal tree for the organization, measure and make results visible, continuous development of talent and recruiting talent upgrades. Use sub-groups with clear charters to drive synergies and key initiatives while at the same time help team members bond. Be a visible role model by truly championing 1-3 key initiatives, recognizing that you can’t champion everything.


How did you balance or integrate work and life?

It is important to prioritize and attend key home life events (spouse, children, and relatives). I have missed some things, for example I didn’t always make track meets, but I try to protect family events whenever possible.

My philosophy: part of this is how the cards were dealt. When I was single and it was just me, my theory was “too much work for Steve makes Steve a very dull boy” so I protected personal time as a stress relief. I saw this as allowing me to stay focused at work. As I got family,   especially with my larger extended family, I just had to allocate time. Throughout my career I saw crises with my colleagues occur and I thought “I don’t want to end up there” such as divorces and broken homes. These things aren’t worth it. They aren’t always preventable, but a lot of these can be work driven. Learn to know and tell when you are “in the grip” and how to “get out of the grip.’” One time I was complaining about how tough my work was, my boss asked how my home life was. I smiled and said how great it was, and said “you’ll be fine and will get through this work stuff, just take it from me, don’t get both work and family out of sync at the same time”. My goal coming to work is to deliver the work expected for my pay (ie breakeven) at the end of the day, want to earn my pay but no entitlement due from Cummins.

Always use one’s full vacation, as it’s important for managing stress and being able to attend key home events. As I got more experience managing people, I realized the importance of this. With respect to my teams, I always encouraged them to take their time off. The thought was: if my employees can’t manage their vacation, can they manage their jobs?


What advice do you have for a young leader?

• Bring your passion and emotion for getting things done to work with you every day

• Treat others with respect and as you would want to be treated

• Strive every day to make Cummins a better place when you leave at the and of the day than when you came into work that morning

• Make decisions –never be afraid to make a decision

• Teams need clear missions, scorecards, and recognition

• Results matter

Finally, be able to laugh at yourself: part of this comes back to people trusting me, we’re all human, and if you aren’t able to look back at something you did and say it was stupid and joke about it and make it visible, they almost think you’re superficial. I think this ability to laugh at myself   started early. I grew up with a lot of nicknames and I just sort of learned to roll with this.

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