Six Sigma Master Black Belt - Nick Mudd


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.

A military Veteran employee’s skill set is as diverse as the experiences they encountered during their military career.  Veterans have the development training and skill set to be natural leaders, including executing with precision during times of pressure and managing cross-functional teams with high productivity.  Nick Mudd is that type of Veteran leader who was hired to support Cummins Distribution Business Unit (DBU).
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During his time at West Point and as an Army officer, Nick learned about many facets of leadership and how team collaboration can achieve objectives.  He was hired by Cummins in 2008 as a Six Sigma Black Belt and, after three-and-a-half years of continued career development including a one year military deployment with the Army, he is now a Six Sigma Master Black Belt supporting DBU’s Business Process Management and Quality leadership team.
Today, Nick starts his morning in a highly confidential project meeting with several green belts and black belts. The meeting is to discuss all projects in motion and a status report on those which are moving closer to completion.  Nick’s leadership team is starting the analysis of annual operating budgets and an update is needed to determine which projects will lead to critical initiatives in the future.  His job as a Master Black Belt is to assure that the projects will be finished on time and continuing to develop talent within the Company during the process. 
“The better I get at developing other people, the more I develop myself.  We brainstorm about team planning and how the team’s skill set evolution is sustained over time.  The part I enjoy the most is learning as much from them as they learn from me.  I partner with the leadership team to propose new improvements to the Company and they confide in me the direction we are going.  There are only a handful of people with a vantage point that allows them to see the ongoing improvement work across all aspects of the distribution business.”
After the meeting, Nick heads across the corporate campus to the Cummins conference centre where a global symposium is happening for the Quality leadership team. The symposium involves executives from around the world and allows them to connect and develop new ideas. Nick sits in on a strategy presentation from a leader in Australia about developing a new, faster support process . It’s a good opportunity for him to connect to global employees and accelerates the working relationship through stronger connections.
Nick walks back to the office for a working lunch with another Black Belt employee to discuss a project they have recently collaborated on and finished.  The two are planning a career development workshop to present the findings to members of the Cummins team as a best practice to emulate across the organization.  Nick is excited about the results and needs to connect with members of the leadership team about recording the research into Cummins proprietary database.
“Our database is an intelligence repository of every Six Sigma project that has ever been completed internally.  We want to have a deeper discussion about this project and then set a meeting to go through the database and look for similar projects to use as a connection point.  Our database gets used consistently and this project affects multiple business units, so we need to discuss how to categorize the results for both strategy and tactical teams in the future.” 
After the lunch, Nick heads to a Veterans Affinity Group recruiting meeting.  Today, the group is discussing how to bring more veterans into the company and create new literature to help explain how Cummins provides support to make the civilian life transition easier.  It’s great for him to see Veteran friends inside the Company and new colleagues who have recently been introduced to the recruiting team.
“Cummins is very friendly to Veterans, but not everyone understands what Veterans can bring to the table.  We’re educating Cummins hiring managers on the skills Veterans have, what benefits they bring to the company, and how we can show Veterans that Cummins is a world class company where integrity and honour mean something.”
Nick finishes up his day at his desk, reflecting on all new connections he’s made, the progress that his Six Sigma colleagues have made, and the work he is doing in the Veterans affinity group.
“I enjoy working here because my role changes every hour and every day.  I like the core values that Cummins stands for, especially when our leaders stand for honesty, integrity and making a difference.  I haven’t met a single person in the company that I didn’t believe in.  It’s a company that stands for something.  It’s a great environment to not only succeed but discover how to improve.”