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Cummins on Friday announced the promotion of two executives who have helped the company turn around two important business groups — heavy-duty and midrange engines — over the past decade.
Ed Pence will head the Seymour-based high horsepower business, and Dave Crompton will lead the heavy-duty, mid-range and light duty businesses.
Pence, general manager of the Heavy-duty Engine Business, was part of the team that led Cummins through a tumultuous time in the heavy-duty business in which the Fortune 500 engine maker briefly considered exiting that market. Instead, Cummins changed its approach to the heavy-duty segment, negotiated long-term supply agreements with customers and focused on becoming a leader in emissions solutions.
Pence played a critical role in that turnaround, during which the company’s heavy-duty market share in North America rose from near 20 percent to as high as 50 percent, said Rich Freeland, president of the Engine Business.
In the previous decade, the company focused on meeting emissions standards, while in this decade the industry will have to focus on fuel economy, Freeland said.
“We start out ahead of everyone else,” he said.
Pence now will apply his skills in the company’s fastest-growing segment: the high horsepower business.
Freeland said the company expects that segment to continue to grow faster than others. Cummins is making its biggest investments in that segment. In late 2011, the company in Seymour unveiled its high horsepower flagship, the QSK95, or “Hedgehog.”
The company had invested $110 million in the expansion of the Seymour plant, adding 28,500 square feet, test cells and an assembly area to produce the new engine, which has an output of more than 4,000 horsepower. Since then the company has announced an additional investment of $219 million. Combined, the investments are expected to produce 490 jobs by mid-2017.
Freeland said the high-horsepower business growth is fueled by greater demand in power generation, mining, oil and gas markets.
In many of those areas in which Cummins has a product, its market share exceeds 50 percent, he said.
The Hedgehog gives Cummins an entry into oil and gas exploration, rail and other markets in which the company previously lacked products to compete.
Despite the global economic slowdown and the company’s recently announced job reduction of up to 1,500 positions, the high-horsepower segment is growing, Freeland said.
“It’s really exciting,” he said.
Pence, brother of Gov.-elect Mike Pence, will replace Mark Levett, who will become vice president of corporate responsibility and community relations and chief executive officer of the Cummins Foundation. Pence joined Cummins in 1981.
Crompton has been with Cummins for 25 years, the past seven as general manager for the midrange business, which includes the plant near Walesboro that exclusively makes the 6.7-liter engine for the Ram truck.
During Crompton’s stint as leader of the midrange business, Cummins was producing about 150,000 engines per year for Chrysler when the auto maker filed for bankruptcy, placing that business in jeopardy.
Crompton renegotiated the agreement with Chrysler, Freeland said, which helped preserve that business, including hundreds of jobs at the Walesboro plant.
Despite the recession, the pickup truck market has held up well, Freeland said, and Cummins shipped about 100,000 engines to Chrysler last year.
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