IN the final instalment of a year-long series, PETER BARRON reflects on the centenary of Cummins Engines – and looks ahead to the next 100 years

AS a company that powers the world while employing hundreds of people here in the North-East, Cummins has a distinguished place in the industrial landscape of our region.

And 2019 will be remembered as a particularly special year because it marked the centenary of a company that grew from humble foundations into a world leader in innovation and customer care.

The slogan adopted by Cummins for its centenary was “Challenging The Impossible” and that has certainly been an appropriate theme throughout this year-long series.

From the moment Clessie Cummins founded the global engine manufacturer in Columbus, Indiana, in 1919, the company has succeeded in finding solutions that others considered to be out of reach.

It all began when Clessie – then a humble chauffeur - persuaded a banker called William G. Irwin to invest the princely sum of $2,500 in his vision to capitalise on exciting new technology developed by Rudolph Diesel.

Fast-forward 100 years and Cummins has grown into a global powerhouse. In 2018, it sold a record 1.5m engines, with a turnover of $24 billion and 62,600 employees.

And as 2019 nears its end, Cummins’ Darlington plant – opened in 1965 – is now employing  1,300 people in enhanced, modern, ergonomically advanced offices in Yarm Road. Whatever the economic ups and downs brought by each decade, the company has continued to invest in the factory’s future.

Cummins is proud of its Darlington operation – and there is no doubt that Darlington is proud of Cummins. The town takes huge satisfaction from the fact that engines designed and manufactured locally are used to power vehicles worldwide, including buses, tractors, trucks, boats, and excavators.

That mutual respect between the company and its employees was clearly demonstrated when hundreds of staff – past and present – attended a celebration day at the Darlington plant on September 7.

Throughout its history, Cummins has also maintained a core belief in supporting its local communities and that was underlined again at the start of this month when the company was headline sponsor of The Local Heroes Awards, staged by The Northern Echo.

The event, celebrating its own 20th anniversary, celebrated the achievements of all generations in the sphere of grass roots sport. Commitment, dedication, teamwork and a determination to overcome the odds were all in the spotlight in the Grand Marquee at Wynyard Hall – and Cummins was the perfect partner.

The centenary year has been marked in style by celebrating the company’s rich heritage, its commitment to its employees, its support of local communities, and its focus on more sustainable and environmentally forms of power in the future.

Cummins has used its 100th anniversary to make it clear that it aims to go on challenging the impossible. Here’s to the next 100 years.

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