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International Truck and Engine Corporation:
Indianapolis Plant Embraces Diversity

Diversity Inc., February 2006

International Truck and Engine Corporation can trace its origins back to Cyrus McCormick, who invented the mechanical reaper in 1834, a piece of equipment that revolutionized American farming. Today, the company is focused on the future as it continues to enhance its diversity program.

To hear the folks at International Truck and Engine’s Indianapolis Engine Plant explain it, diversity goes beyond the known areas such as race or gender. It embraces management and members of the UAW. It’s about listening and bringing out the best in people. “We practice the value of respect,” says Lisa Morris, 51, manager of human resources.

Sergio Sgarbi, 36, the plant manager, joined International in 1997, when it bought a Brazilian diesel-engine manufacturer he worked for in Sao Paulo. He expected a big group of Americans to show and tell everybody how to do their jobs. It didn’t happen that way. “Only two guys were sent to Brazil—one in finance, one in production—and they were open to new ideas,” says Sgarbi, who has worked for the company for 16 years in Brazil and the United States. “The diversity program was part of that.”

Shafter Briscoe, 38, manager of manufacturing operations, accepted a job offer from International in 2005, only after what he called “explicit” conversations to determine if the company valued diversity. He sees diversity as encompassing not only society in the United States but as a way to improve business by learning from the manufacturing processes in other countries where the company operates.

All agree the best way to teach diversity is by example. “By paying attention to our work force and to the culture we live in, we set the example,” says Sgarbi.

With participation from the shop floor to the plant’s upper management, “it’s a top-down, bottom-up effort,” explains Human Resources Manager Morris, who has been with the company for six years. “When you deal with people from different levels and different areas, you learn a lot, which is all part of the effort.”