Former basketball player heads new team at Cummins

The head of Power Systems for Cummins Inc. said he always has loved running something business-related, making it perform better and doing so in a team atmosphere.

That makes the task of leading a recently reconfigured core business unit seem like a good fit for the former Austrian national basketball team member.

Norbert Nusterer, 47, took over as president of the Power Systems business Aug. 1, succeeding Dave Crompton in that role.

In December, the company merged its Power Generation business with its High Horsepower unit to better align the working relationship between the two. The result was Power Systems, which now includes generators and high-horsepower engines under one roof.

“This was the biggest change internally that we’ve had in 15 years,” Nusterer said, adding that it affected 15,000 employees in some way.

Nusterer, formerly vice president of Supply Chain Operations and Parts, and Crompton worked on the reorganization together.

“My job is to continue that. We’re not changing plans,” Nusterer said.

One he recently dealt with was the internal issue of aligning the High Horsepower unit with the former Power Generation business.

The idea had been discussed for two or three years, but when the company was forced to reduce its global workforce by 2,000 employees in the last quarter of 2015, largely because of ongoing slumping sales in international markets, Cummins decided that was a good time to merge the two, Nusterer said.

“It feels like we’re bringing two things together finally that had not been together for, in some ways actually, too long,” Nusterer said.

The need had been building to bring them together, he said.

“The High Horsepower business, the way it used to be, 70 percent of what they produced for many years went to Power Gen. It was like two companies within the company. … It was almost like an internal customer-supplier relationship,” Nusterer said.

One of the Power Systems products that has Nusterer’s attention is the QSK95 engine, also known as the Hedgehog and manufactured at the company’s Seymour Engine Plant — where about 1,000 people work, including about 250 directly on the QSK95.

It’s the company’s largest and most powerful high-speed engine with 4,000 horsepower, and production for rail and power generation applications began last year.

Read the full story in Friday’s Tribune and online at tribtown.com.

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Kirk Johannesen is assistant managing editor of The Republic. He can be reached at johannesen@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5639.