Earlier this month I drove down to Jamestown, N.Y., midway between Buffalo and Erie, Pa., to partake in the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Cummins plant there. Forty years is an accomplishment worth celebrating, but there was some extra exuberance at this particular event, because so many had written this plant off about 10 years ago.
At that time, Cummins had excess engine building capacity within its system and it needed to consolidate heavy-duty engine production in either Jamestown or in Columbus, Ind., its hometown. Columbus may have been the sentimental favourite but for a variety of reasons, executives gave Jamestown a vote of confidence and moved production there. The Columbus plant was retained, however, and will build the new ISV5.0 engine Cummins announced last year.
Jamestown seems like a funny place for a large-scale engine plant. Since its opening 40 years ago some 4,500 inches of snow have fallen upon the city – but it has never closed for a single snow day. That speaks to the commitment of the people who work there and operate the plant. Cummins rolled out several past plant managers and executives, who gave heartfelt praise to the plant’s employees and celebrated the controversial decision made more than 10 years ago to invest in the plant’s future. They declared, unanimously, that the right decision was made. Today, if you have an ISX engine under your hood, it was assembled in Jamestown. It was a nice event and a pretty little part of the state to visit.
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