Catching Up With…Eric Cummings ‘88

     Eric graduated from Curley in 1988 and made his way south to Virginia Tech where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Theatre Arts. He met his wife, Lynette, at school and followed her to Michelin in Greenville, SC where he worked for a short time.  He was then hired by ROSS Controls in 1994, where he has held a number of positions to the present.

     ROSS Controls is an industrial valve manufacturer with a niche in pneumatic safety devices to prevent injuries from occurring on manufacturing machinery.  Eric has been working in that area for the past 12 years and obtained a Functional Safety Engineer certification from TUV Rheinland.  Although his company is small, under $100 million annually, it is global with facilities in England, France, Germany, India, Japan, China, and Brazil. He has had the opportunity to visit each location multiple times. He has also had the occasion to work with a fellow alumnus, John Reuter ’87, a number of times.

     Eric’s current position is Safety Business Development Manager – Americas which includes sales, marketing and product development. He enjoys working with the end user and machine builder customers to develop specific solutions.  He explains why: “It remains interesting for a few specific reasons.  First every application and customer is slightly different.  It is like episodes of ‘How Stuff Work.’  Second, the safety industry is a niche area where you tend to work with a relatively small group of people who are dealing with similar issues which provides the opportunity for sharing, learning, and global friendships to develop.”

     His job gives Eric the opportunity to travel to many parts of the world. He tries to coordinate his travels, his wife’s trips and his children’s school breaks.  They have been able to visit England, France and Germany.

     For fun, Eric runs.  He has done three marathons so far, as well as a number of shorter races.  He also enjoys gardening, canning, pickling and making a variety of salsas. 
He attends as many Virginia Tech football games as he can, usually with his family.  They have even attended several bowl games.  He uses his mechanical engineering skills and theatre art talents to help stage shows for the marching band and color guard in which his daughters, Andra and Erin,  participate.

     When reflecting on his days at Curley, Eric says: “Curley provided me with a high quality education in the STEM areas that allowed me to become an engineer.  Many of the little things I learned, which have also provided great stories, provided me a great basis for public speaking.  Things such as not using the term ‘Umm’ for fear of sounding like a cave person and having to speak for a few minutes in front of the class without stopping.  Curley provided a great education in an atmosphere that is challenging but also rewarding in opportunities for growth as a person.”

     Eric lives with his wife and daughters in South Carolina.  You can contact Eric at  eric.cummings@rosscontrols.com.

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