By her own view, as an accountant who holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mathematics from Oxford University, Julie Furber followed a bit of an unusual career path into the trucking and transportation industry. “Through supporting the Cummins business in finance, I saw what drove markets and where results can be achieved,” she said. “That gave me a firsthand look at what matters to our customers, which drove my passion to go beyond the numbers and partner directly with them to help them achieve success.”
Furber first joined Cummins in 2005 as the global finance director for Cummins Generator Solutions, based in England. She then moved to the U.S. where she’s held a variety of leadership roles in the off-highway business for Cummins Emission Solutions, on the company’s North American truck team, and in its engine business. Currently, Furber oversees the development of the manufacturer’s capabilities in electrification and the positioning of the company to be a leading provider of electrified powertrains in commercial and industrial markets.
“When I grew up in the U.K., I did not know that I would spend the majority of my career thinking about trucks on U.S. highways,” Furber related. “Now, I get out of bed every day excited to be at the forefront of identifying products and solutions critical to the success of our customers. My job accelerating Cummins’ knowledge of electrification in this industry is a dream role for me.”
Furber likes to think of herself as a disruptor and entrepreneur at heart, and she enjoys being at the forefront of identifying products and solutions for Cummins’ customers. “The ability to look at situations, solutions, and products in a unique way and to ask questions no one else is willing to ask has pushed me forward in my career,” she stated. “It’s my passion to ensure we are paving the way with the most cutting-edge innovation in everything we do.”
What Furber says is one of the biggest issues facing the transportation industry today is the acceptance of newer technology and products. “The speed of change is accelerating, and the number of options is growing,” she stated. “Change is hard for any industry, and many people like the products they are already using. But my hope is customers see new ideas as the best fit for their needs now and in the future.”
Furber carries that message through industry involvement, by speaking at a variety of different forums, continuing to tell the Cummins story, and helping bring visibility to electrification.
“One of the most important traits in our industry is flexibility,” Furber continued, “so we will always have new technology and regulations, especially with the growing global concern about the environment and the desire for sustainable solutions. We must adapt to these changes. We must continue to learn more about technology to better serve our customers.”
For Furber, diversity is also fundamental to coming up with the best ideas and innovations. “I believe that having a mindset of openness and inclusion is evolving in our industry, because many people and companies are committed to this work,” she said. “I especially encourage women to be direct in their voice and opinion and to be the strong presence that is needed to help change perceptions and norms for the better.”
That diversity and inclusion are core values at Cummins and a source of pride for Furber. “My work, like that of many of my colleagues, is demanding and requires me to balance my personal and professional responsibilities,” she said.