Jennifer Rumsey knows engineering, she knows Cummins, and she knows Columbus. She went to L. Francis Smith Elementary School, which was designed by John M. Johansen in 1969 with funds from the Cummins Foundation Architecture Program. She also spent countless hours reading in the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library, which was designed by I.M. Pei in 1969. So, Columbus and Cummins have played important roles in her life story since early in her career, giving her a special insight into the ways city and industry will continue to grow together in the future. Rumsey will take part in the Architecture + Industry in the Future → of Cities session of “Foundations and Futures,” chaired by Kevin Klinger.
Jennifer Rumsey is the chief technical officer at Cummins Inc. where she leads the global technical organization of nearly 10,000 engineers. Although she joined the company in 2000, Rumsey’s connection to Cummins is of much longer standing. While earning a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Purdue University, she spent every summer in Columbus as a Cummins intern. Those summers working and learning about engineering at the Kevin Roche–designed Cummins headquarters and in other Cummins facilities laid the groundwork for Rumsey’s future career. “I was fascinated by complex systems, especially those that combined mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineering,” she explains.
Rumsey left Indiana to pursue a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After graduating, she became the Controls Group Leader at Nuvera Fuel Cells. At last she returned to her roots at Cummins in 2000 as technical advisor of Advanced Controls. She has spent time in other Cummins departments, working in advanced technology development and new product development before attaining her current position.
As chief technical officer at Cummins, Rumsey leads research and engineering across the company. She describes herself as a “problem solver committed to creating positive change,” and her leadership position at Cummins, the world’s largest independent engine manufacturer, allows her to effect positive change on a global scale. Rumsey will provide an industry perspective to the Architecture + Industry in the Future → of Cities session. However, the separation between industry, architecture, and design is not always so clear, nor should it be. Industry – engineering, manufacturing, research – plays an important role in influencing and enabling the future of architecture and design. New construction techniques and materials developed for industrial applications can inspire new artistic design. This collaboration works both ways. As the symbiotic relationship between Columbus and Cummins shows, good design can also encourage good industry: Columbus’ dedication to art and architecture helps attract leading engineers and employees. A healthy relationship between industry, design, and architecture enriches the community it calls home. Cities have overwhelmingly served as the sites for this collaborative innovation in the recent past, and their role in the future of industry and architecture will undoubtedly continue to grow.
As the session’s title suggests, Architecture + Industry in the Future → of Cities hopes to highlight several aspects of the interplay between industry and architecture. Rumsey said, “I would like Exhibit Columbus to help increase understanding of engineering’s role in the broader field of industry and its relation to design.” The collaboration between these fields built great cities and communities like Columbus, and the Architecture + Industry in the Future → of Cities session will explore how future alliances across disciplines will affect cities of tomorrow.