Ivy Tech Community College President Tom Snyder penned this editorial in today’s Indianapolis Star about Hoosier manufacturing powerhouse (and CICP member) Cummins – a company has that continued to invest and create jobs in Indiana, while at the same time dominating its global market and generating handsome returns for its shareholders.
Cummins helps power Indiana's economy
It may be a function of Hoosier modesty, or the old adage that admiration and familiarity are strangers, but it often takes an outsider's perspective to remind us about what's truly exceptional in our everyday lives. I was struck by this feeling leafing through Fortune magazine's latest annual Fortune 500 list.
At No. 186 was Cummins, the Columbus-based engine-maker. That's no surprise; Most of us are familiar with Cummins, and have some idea of its size and recent success. We regard Cummins as a valued partner in our effort at Ivy Tech Community College, as well as other organizations I'm involved with, like the Energy Systems Network and Conexus Indiana.
But as I read further, I was amazed by how this Indiana manufacturing stalwart stacks up against its peers.
From 2009 to 2010, Cummins climbed from No. 218 to No. 186 on the list of the nation's 500 biggest companies, boasting more than 22 percent growth in revenues. And that's just the beginning.
Over the past decade, Cummins boasts the best growth in profits of any U.S. company. An automotive manufacturer, outpacing dot-com juggernauts like eBay and Apple, insurance and health-care giants, biotech pioneers. It beats its nearest competitor by more than 10 percent in annual earnings-per-share growth. So it's no surprise that Cummins also represents the second-best investment for shareholders over the past five years.
Clearly, Cummins' growth is due to successive generations of visionary management willing to make aggressive moves. Cummins was a pioneer in exploring overseas markets in the 1960s, and today thrives in places like China, India and Brazil. The company also is on the cutting edge of green technologies: A Cummins engine powered the first diesel-electric hybrid truck in 2005; the company is a leader in putting hybrid busses on our streets, and a partner in the Energy Systems Network initiative to bring new energy innovations to market here in Indiana.
Through it all, Cummins has been unwavering in its commitment to southeastern Indiana. Over the past six years, the company has invested more than $300 million into new facilities and expansions in the region, projects that will account for more than 2,000 jobs.
Manufacturing is leading Indiana's economic recovery. While the nation as a whole suffers through a largely jobless recovery, manufacturing employment in Indiana has grown nearly 5 percent since the end of the recession. Clean technologies and renewable energy offer promising economic opportunities for our state. It's easy to forget that these macro-economic trends are based on the collective efforts of thousands of firms across the state, led by extraordinary businesses like Cummins.
Cummins has been a valued corporate citizen and a steady contributor to our state's economic growth, engaged in critical issues like workforce development. But even so, it sometimes takes a moment like reading the Fortune report to remind us of how fortunate we truly are to count Cummins among our home state headquarters.
In 1919, 40 years after Col. Eli Lilly decided to launch his own medical wholesale company 45 miles north in Indianapolis, a businessman named W.G. Irwin decided to help a self-taught mechanic named Clessie Cummins start his own diesel engine business. Out of such historical footnotes, economies are built -- and Cummins continues to support the vitality of Indiana's economy today.
Snyder is president of Ivy Tech Community College.