2008 Early career award: Donald Stanton

// Mechanical Engineering

Tags: alumni, Donald Stanton, Engineers' Day, ME E-Day

Share this story:

Donald W. Stanton
Corporate Director, Advanced Engine R&D
Cummins Inc.
MSME ’95, PhDME ’98
Columbus, Indiana

Donald W. Stanton remembers when he began painting. As a graduate student in mechanical engineering at UW-Madison, Stanton found a kids’ watercolor paint set in his apartment and began painting what he saw outside his window. His dabbling flourished into a collection of landscapes and some portraits that he displays in his home, gives away and very occasionally sells.

Stanton’s preference to paint landscapes reflects his passion for the environment—an interest that motivates his work as director of advanced engine research and development at Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a leading producer of diesel engines above 200 horsepower. With customers in approximately 190 countries, Cummins could set the standard for diesel and natural gas products worldwide. Stanton is responsible for planning the Cummins technological path through 2020. In that role, he constantly balances environmental impact with customer need and advantageous business decisions.

Cummins has a history of introducing environmentally friendly technologies, and in many countries, Cummins engines have emissions far below government regulations. Many of the innovative concepts in fuel economy and emission reductions are due to Stanton’s doctoral research on computational fluid dynamics, which he integrated at Cummins to produce new design processes.

Stanton began his engineering career as an undergraduate at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terra Haute, Indiana. Originally from Seymour, Indiana, Stanton was a first-generation college student. He obtained bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering, mathematics and literature. He attended UW-Madison for his master’s and PhD in mechanical engineering, focusing on using numerical analysis to solve a variety of engineering problems, especially fluid dynamics and combustion problems.

Stanton obtained his PhD in 1998 and moved back to Indiana to begin working for Cummins in 2000. Products produced by Cummins from 2002 onward have been influenced by Stanton’s analysis tools. For Stanton, his work is a way to improve the community and world and to give back for the support he received from family and friends in his educational endeavors.

Beyond work, Stanton enjoys spending time with Ann, his wife of 14 years, and their three daughters. Rebecca is 9, Elizabeth is 5 and Madeline is 1 year old. His daughters have acquired Stanton’s interest in painting. The family also frequently hikes and bikes.

In addition to his outdoor and technical interests, Stanton enjoys reading 20th-century and current American novels.