A retired chief executive officer of Columbus-based Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) is the recipient of the inaugural Mitch Daniels Leadership Prize. Tim Solso will receive the bi-annual award during an event in October. Organizers say the prize has been established to honor individuals who “lift the arc” of progress in Indiana. During an exclusive interview on Inside INdiana Business Television, Mitch Daniels Leadership Foundation President Harry Gonso and selection jury chairman Randall Shepard discuss how the award came about. August 26, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The first biennial Mitch Daniels Leadership Prize will be awarded in October to Tim Solso, retired chairman and CEO of Cummins, Inc. A jury consisting of eight of the most respected men and women in Indiana selected Solso for exemplifying bold leadership that dramatically advanced Indiana. The Daniels Prize honors one Indiana leader and awards $50,000 to a person or organization that is doing work that can markedly advance the state. The Daniels Prize is designed to encourage and recognize leadership that refuses to accept the status quo as good enough, constantly aims higher and courageously executes change that results in lifting the arc of progress in Indiana.
Solso served as Chairman and CEO of Cummins for a dozen years (January 2000 to December 2011). Under Solso's leadership, Cummins experienced record growth; became a Fortune 250 company that designs, produces and sells diesel engines, power generation equipment and related components worldwide; and became a global product provider to more than 190 countries and territories. Under Solso's guidance, Cummins became one of America's leading businesses in China, India and Brazil. Solso's leadership led to a leadership role for Cummins in environmentally friendly and efficient engines and his support of robust diversity in the workplace also sparked progress among Cummins' customers and suppliers.
His leadership ensured that employment opportunities were accessible to all citizens. He opened worldwide markets for Indiana businesses, doubled Cummins' revenue, and tripled its international business sales. Because of his bold guidance, even Cummins' suppliers enjoyed employment growth and new economic opportunities. He worked tirelessly to lead Cummins to prominence and success and the significance of his achievements have helped solidify Indiana's place on the world stage.
Because of his visionary management, Solso's achievements extended beyond Cummins. The results of his successes reached into Columbus, throughout the state of Indiana and around the globe. Solso created a company that reinvested resources back into communities to grow jobs and train an essential and competitive workforce capable of advanced manufacturing practices. Through Solso's efforts, Cummins facilitated distinctive public/private partnerships. Solso championed conservational advancements in Cummins business practices and supported and advanced the belief that an environmentally conscious company was a critical move toward an environmentally responsible world.
“For eight years, Mitch Daniels worked tirelessly to constructively lift aspirations, efforts and achievements of all Hoosiers,” said Retired Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, Randall Shepard, chairman of the Daniels' Prize Jury. “The Daniels Prize is intended to honor exceptional Hoosier leaders who echo Governor Daniels' dedication to bold vision and the ambitious pursuit of excellence, and in the process inspire rising leaders toward extraordinary gains for Indiana.”
Serving with Shepard on the jury are former U.S. Representative Lee Hamilton; Reverend John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., President of Notre Dame; Clark Kellogg, former player for the Indiana Pacers; former Indiana Governor Joe Kernan; Martha Lamkin, civic leader and former CEO of Lumina Foundation; former U.S. Senator Richard Lugar; and Pat Miller, civic leader and founder of Vera Bradley.
“Refining our search and discussing who among those have chosen to blaze new paths for the provident and sustainable benefit for others led us directly to Tim Solso,” said former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar. “Recognizing leadership that has taken Indiana to new heights is important for all to see. Our state will have a bright future if we all embrace Tim Solso’s example.”
Former U.S. Rep. Hamilton added, “Cummins is the gold standard for corporate civic responsibility. Tim Solso was a lead player in not only building Cummins into a global enterprise, but also in carrying out its civic obligations. His leadership burnished both the company and the region. What is noteworthy, too, is his diligent effort to continue providing leadership to others even in his so-called retirement, where he has been collaborating with education and industry leaders to create a workforce that’s ready for the future.”
Solso earned his bachelor's degree in psychology from DePauw University and his MBA from Harvard University. Among myriad honors and associations, Solso was named to Barron's list of the 30 Most Respected CEO's in 2010 and 2011. He has served as a member of the board for the Initiative for Global Development, Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and as a member of President Barack Obama's Management Advisory Board.
At the awards ceremony in October, Solso will receive the Mitch Daniels Leadership Prize, a bronze sculpture commissioned by the Foundation and created by John McCormick, a graduate student at the Herron School of Art and Design of Indiana University at IUPUI.
Solso will receive and retain the sculpture but will receive no monetary award. Rather, as the winner of the Prize, he will select the recipient of a $50,000 cash award. The recipient will be an individual or organization that Solso believes emulates his and Governor Daniels' leadership mindset.
A Daniels Prize winner and the associated grant recipient will be honored at an event in the fall of each odd-numbered year. This year's introductory awards ceremony and banquet will occur on October 24, 2013, at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.
The Foundation hopes the Prize winner will undertake opportunities to speak in communities throughout the state to discuss the pursuit of excellence.
For more information on the Mitch Daniels Leadership Prize and to access a biography of Solso,please visit our website hereor go to www.mitchdanielsleadershipfoundation.org.
Source: Mitch Daniels Leadership Foundation