Cummins Celebrates 40 Years; Open House Set For Today

BUSTI – Despite challenges like economic recessions and changing efficiency standards, Cummins’ Jamestown engine plant continues to power forward after 40 years.

On Friday, Cummins officials, employees and local political figures gathered to celebrate the Jamestown plant’s 40th anniversary. Jim Kelly, Jamestown plant manager from 1989-92, said when he was running the facility, engine production levels were half what they are today. He said, at the time, with an uncertain economic future ahead for the Jamestown plant, many didn’t know what the future held for the business in Chautauqua County.

“There were many who didn’t think we would see a 40th anniversary,” he said.

Kelly said the plant survived because of the hard work and dedication of its employees.

“No challenge was too big or too large that we couldn’t figure out how to do,” he said. “We continue to persevere.”

Ignacio Garcia, who was the plant manager from 1998-2003, spoke about the quality of people in the region being the reason the plant continues forward after four decades. He said his wife always ask him why they ever left the Jamestown community.

“This is a great community,” he said. “We miss this community.”

Dana Vogt, who was plant manager from 2003-07, said during his time the company expanded its production. He said the growth occurred during many changes to the products Cummins was producing in the Jamestown plant. He said there were many people, inside and outside of the plant, who didn’t think the employees could handle the changes and continue to be successful.

“We nailed it,” Vogt said about the workers accomplishing the changes and surpassing the challenge.

Dave Crompton, Cummins engine business president, said throughout the international company, the Jamestown plant is known for its success in overcoming adversity. He said the Jamestown plant is commitment to excellence is known by Cummins employees at all of its locations.

“What resonates with me is the culture,” he said about the diligent work force in Jamestown.

State Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-C-I-Jamestown, said he is proud to celebrate Cummins’ success for two reasons. One as a representative of the district in the state Assembly and secondly for his financial well-being.

“Thank you so much for what you do … because I’m one of your shareholders,” he said about being financially ahead since purchasing Cummins stock. “I celebrate with you in your success.”

State Sen. Catharine Young, R-C-I-Olean, said in 2002 it was announced the Cummins Jamestown plant would be staying and expanding in Busti, which was great economic news for the area.

“It was a testimonial to all the employees who work so hard here,” she said.

County Executive Vince Horrigan said Cummins is a symbol to all county manufacturers in how to be successful. He said Cummins employees are known for their team-building exercises, for their volunteerism and their donations to local charitable organizations.

“That is the foundation. This is the benchmark in Chautauqua County,” Horrigan said about what he things every time he drives by the Busti Cummins location.

The Cummins celebration continues today from 1-3 p.m. There will be an open house for the community featuring plant tours, a petting zoo, vehicle and engine displays, a 1952 Indy racecar, antique engines and a World War II generator at the plant located at 4720 Baker St. Ext., Lakewood.