Systems Engineer - Fabian Farelo


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.

Cummins has long been known as an innovative company, starting with an engineer and inventor, Clessie Cummins. As our product offerings have evolved over time, Systems Engineering has become more important due to the many unique systems that are incorporated into modern engine design.  As global innovation continues to intertwine with every aspect of Cummins culture, engineers like Fabian Farelo continue to move our company forward.
And now for your All Access Pass:
Fabian, a Senior Engineer for Systems Performance Analysis, brings his extensive education and knowledge of mechanical engineering to the Cummins Technical Centre’s design team in North America.  He originally joined Cummins as an intern through his doctoral program at University of South Florida and quickly realized he could build a career of a lifetime at Cummins.
Fabian starts off his morning with an update meeting with a customer to share design progress and outstanding needs for development of a custom engine. Cummins is modelling the development from an existing engine platform, and Fabian’s global team holds the meetings to determine how the team is progressing toward their timeline. The team’s meeting focus today is the Engine Control Module (ECM), which is an on-board computer inside the engine. It’s a closed-door, highly confidential session as they are in the ECM testing phase and plan to beta-test a different software design to regulate the electronics functionality.
“This engine is anticipated to be in production 5-7 years from now.  Before moving into the test cell phase, we need to focus on enhancing the design simulations. In terms of the technical work, we’re still maintaining our goals set from the beginning. We’re going to test multiple systems at different times of the year, so getting the best design is the foundation of performance.”
After the meeting, Fabian does a resume screen for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) conference. He is helping evaluate a candidate’s experience to determine if it is relevant to Cummins business.  He understands with the right software background and current work experience, a Systems Engineer can go far inside the Company. 
“I really enjoy it because we’re giving back to SHPE, and Cummins is supportive of SHPE. It’s really about getting the best talent and our engineering team is a real competitive advantage here.”
The next part of Fabian’s morning is dedicated to software development. He uses Cummins proprietary model development software, and begins with the requirements from the customer.  In modelling, the requirements are essential because the right starting point drives toward the goal. Fabian’s job is systems performance and he collaborates closely with other design teams, including the engine, aftertreatment and vehicle teams. 
“It’s exciting to be counted on by multiple teams.  Systems Engineering is a challenging role at Cummins because if you find something is going wrong, then you have to search to find the problem. Analysis-led design is very innovative here.  There’s always a challenge and, as we push our innovation farther into the future, often there is something you haven’t seen before.”
Before heading to lunch, Fabian makes sure to document his development progress to ensure another team member can dive in where he left off.  He has to think collaboratively about communicating his work to bring out the best in the team. 
Fabian has lunch with friends today to take a break from work to ensure he is productive in the afternoon. And today, they’re watching a global soccer tournament and Fabian has the flexibility to take a little longer lunch.  
“My Supervisor is flexible when it comes to work-life balance.  As long as our projects are on track, he lets us enjoy a long lunch occasionally.  It’s a great feeling to sit with my work colleagues and relax while watching the game.”
Later in the afternoon, Fabian leads a Six Sigma meeting for sensor development design software. The team is working on process improvements to help employees create software in shorter time cycles
Fabian’s previous manager wrote ten technical manuals for incoming talent to the group, so the team is analysing the process of documentation to better standardize the design process.
“It’s beneficial for a new hire because you don’t want to be dependent on your manager all of the time. You’re always going to need mentorship, but the research we do is always independent in nature. Everyone on the team can create new ideas and ways to do things, but what are the “must have” elements versus “nice to have”? We look to find a balance to be productive. That’s an important goal for our Six Sigma project.” 
At the end of the day, Fabian has an international call with new team members in Brazil.  They’re discussing a hardware launch that Fabian is helping to implement and he’s teaching them how to use Cummins’ system analysis technologies.  One new team member recently transitioned from an intern to full-time employee and another other is transferring in from a different department.  Fabian knows he can be a good mentor to everyone on the team.
“Sometimes it can be complicated since I’m not there physically, but we have great collaboration technologies. The good thing is I speak Portuguese and can help the team understand in their native language. It’s rewarding to know I can help them, and they identify with us. It brings everything to a new level when we can collaborate with someone on our team in another global location.”
At the end of his day, Fabian leaves for soccer practice and enjoys the role of coach for the GOAL (Latino Affinity Group of Southern Indiana) affinity group soccer team. 
“When I started here, I didn’t know anyone else from Colombia. Now I know lots of people from Colombia and inside our affinity group. They all are so much fun to be with - it’s my fourth year in our GOAL soccer tournament, and this year we’re getting the winner’s trophy back for sure!”