When it came time for Cummins Sales and Service to discuss a remodel of its Renton facility three years ago, a new idea came to fruition: building an entirely new building.
The company, which designs, manufactures and distributes diesel and natural gas engines, also services transportation vehicles across the country. It aims to service the “growing transportation hubs” in local areas, including Pierce County.
Cummins Sales and Service aims to service the “growing transportation hubs” in local areas, including Pierce County.
General manager Bryce Hood, who’s been with Cummins for 19 years, remembered telling his colleagues that building a brand-new service center could be a great opportunity to bring about some big improvements.
“The discussion went down a whole different path than we were expecting,” Hood said.
After two years of building, the company opened a new service center in the Sumner-Pacific Manufacturing Industrial Center in August — right in the middle of many of the service area where most of its vehicles and drivers are located.
“We’re very heavy in transit,” Hood said. “We have noticed a significant uptick in our walk-in service here.”
The 55,660-square-foot facility in Sumner is nearly 10,000 square feet larger than its facility in Renton. It features 25 total vehicle service bays, two of them quick-service bays. The company also opened a service facility in Everett this month.
But one of the center’s most important features is its Sumner location. It was a carefully considered decision.
“Having a footprint down here, we can service Central Seattle (to the) south and Everett can take care of Central Seattle (to the) north,” Hood said.
And out of its 77 employees, most now have shorter commutes.
“A lot of employees were actually living on the South End,” Hood said.
It’s a similar story for many of the employees in Sumner’s industrial park, which provides 14,000 jobs and is the largest manufacturing center in Pierce County, said city of Sumner communications director Carmen Palmer.
“We’re proud not just to bring jobs here, but to bring jobs in really stellar companies,” Palmer said.
We’re proud not just to bring jobs here, but to bring jobs in really stellar companies.
Carmen Palmer, Sumner communications director
The new Cummins Center sits on about 6.13 acres of property next to the White River. The industrial park land value there is very high. The more valuable the property, the more money can be put into Sumner schools and fire departments — a benefit to Sumner’s 9,700 residents.
But industrial parks come with pros and cons. An estimated 6,000 trucks a day drive along 142nd Avenue through the industrial district, which can bring commuter traffic. The city for Sumner is working to repave the road now as part of a $4.7 million project.
“It brings its benefits but it brings its challenges,” Palmer said about the industrial park.
But Cummins’ employees are dedicated to getting to know the city in which their new home now resides.
A Cummins employee for 11 years, shop foreman Matt Austin said community service work is important to the company, and encourages everyone to participate. As of right now, 76 percent of the company’s employees do.
“Especially because we’re new here, we want to reach out (to the community),” Austin said.
Especially because we’re new here, we want to reach out (to the community).
Matt Austin, shop foreman at Cummins
In Renton, Austin set up tours for local students to come and get interested in what Cummins does. Austin has already reached out to Sumner schools, and employees have even packed backpacks full of school supplies to give to students as part of a supply drive. Hood said they’ve already hosted blood drives with Bloodworks Northwest, and are involved with Northwest Harvest.
“We’re very focused on diversity, on the environment, and very focused on community involvement,” Hood said.
As an employee, Austin has noticed a huge jump in morale among his coworkers just from moving to the new site. With a main service area about three times the size of the old one, technicians who work there have more room to move around. They even have a heated floor, which can help them work more comfortably in colder seasons.
“Now we have the tools to do our jobs safely and happily,” Austin said.
Moving forward, Hood hopes to hire 16 more people at the facility and plans to get more involved in the community.
I’m really excited about all the opportunities.
Bryce Hood, Cummins general manager
“I’m really excited about all the opportunities,” he said.
The city feels the same way, Palmer added.