Safety Engineer - Shawn Shivers


This article is from the “Cummins: All Access” series, a compilation of unique, reality-based stories featuring Cummins employees. The series is designed to give a behind-the-scenes perspective of Cummins employees as they develop their careers.

Safety at Cummins is an important element of not only bringing quality products to customers but also keeping employees safe during the process of doing so.  As a global employer committed to innovation, the collaborative culture of the company also depends upon bringing new ideas to the table from varying experience like those of veterans. When Cummins recruiters met Shawn Shivers, they knew he would be a candidate who could offer real world experience that affects change.
And now for your All Access Pass.
One year ago, Shawn joined Cummins as a Safety Engineer after serving in Afghanistan where he applied his Masters degree in Safety Management and experience as a safety consultant. He didn’t want to return to his previous consulting job prior to deployment, so Shawn started researching and applying for opportunities from the education tent in Afghanistan. He connected with the Cummins recruiting staff and received an offer for his current position while still in the Middle East. Shawn immediately started making arrangements to return to the United States once his tour was over. 
“I got excited about the challenge of implementing policies and making an impact in my career. Cummins was the challenge I was looking for. I was very excited to go from walking everywhere in Afghanistan to driving to work every day and thankful to be home. All of my previous experiences from deployment helped me to success in that moment.” 
Today, Shawn’s morning starts with Corporate Health and Safety staff meeting led by the Director who reports directly to the Chief Manufacturing Officer. His team integrates with the strategic supply chain group and focuses proactive strategies to accomplish Company objectives. Conversation in the meeting is focused on employees walking between buildings and identified a need for a communication campaign to help educate employees on distracted walking due to technology. The meeting ends with a one-page list of action items to get the initiative launched.
“It’s our job to keep employees safe. It’s part of our goal of becoming a world-class Company and having zero injuries. We’re always talking to employees and keeping people aware of the dangers. Safety never ends, and that’s not a cliché.”
Next, he’s off to a team lunch where Shawn and his colleagues share stories about family, the community and enjoying free time away from work. Cummins values a healthy work-life balance and encourages teammates to seek ways to relieve stress. 
“Without work-life balance, any job can be stressful.  That can lead to being unhappy with your life outside of work so the balance helps keep your focus at home. It’s important for personal reasons and for our careers to balance stress because we have very busy jobs.”
After lunch, Shawn begins planning with members of global site safety teams—whether it’s a site in California, India or a remote area of Brazil. He answers several emails with requests for improvement in terms of corporate policy, including a recent “Lock Out. Tag Out.” Policy change he recently lead.  The cultural differences help him be familiar with global site safety leaders and their perspectives on safety at Cummins. He has several questions from one site safety leader whose team needed clarification on the policy and the need for new training materials. 
“It’s an important job. We save lives and allow folks to go home to their families and make sure they can see their kids go to school. We take pride in what we do, and it’s great to see results and progress. We have a passion for health and safety at Cummins.”  
Later in the afternoon, Shawn focuses on his personal career development by studying for his Certified Safety Professional (CSP) certification. Cummins encourages high-level professional development like the CSP and provides reimbursement for his test preparation classes.  The Director – Corporate Health and Safety also carries a CSP certification and she encourages her team to pursue the same path with the flexibility to advance at their own pace.
Near the end of the day, Shawn engages with “The Toastmasters Club” to improve his public speaking and communication skills. As a part of his personal development work plan at Cummins, he speaks to students at Indiana University (IU), where he is a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers. Shawn is preparing for a presentation to the National Safety Congress in San Diego and uses the Club to be more familiar with speaking in front of large groups.
“Cummins encouraging me to speak in front of a large group is exciting. There will be many intelligent professionals there who want to leave with something informative so I have to communicate well and keep folks  engaged.  Toastmasters really helps me feel more comfortable in that type of setting.”
Before going home, Shawn works out to reflect on his to-do list and plan for tomorrow.  He takes advantage of the large gym on the corporate campus before riding the Cummins shuttle van back to Indianapolis near his home. He likes connecting with employees on the van to meet new people and learn more what they are doing for the Company. 
“We have a great team here. They’re people from all over the world, and I can see their passion.”