The Optimistic Outlook

The Optimistic Outlook

Hosted by Barbara Humpton, CEO of Siemens USA  
Latest Episode | Episode #38

Accelerating America’s electric future

Barbara brings listeners inside a United for Infrastructure event focused on accelerating electric vehicle deployment and grid modernization in North Carolina, with commentary from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper; Brian Savoy, Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer for Duke Energy; and Charles Lattuca, President and CEO of GoTriangle, which provides bus services in North Carolina’s Research Triangle region. 

Intro to 2022 season

Barbara reflects on earlier episodes and previews 2022 season as the bipartisan infrastructure law is rolled out. Instead of applying an optimistic outlook to what we could do, she says, now we can focus on what we *will* do and what’s next. Episodes will cover potential infrastructure projects, how to accelerate climate action, how to reinvent America’s supply chain and localize manufacturing, and the convergence of infrastructure investment and digital transformation.


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View past and current episodes

Accelerating America’s electric future

Barbara brings listeners inside a United for Infrastructure event focused on accelerating electric vehicle deployment and grid modernization in North Carolina, with commentary from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper; Brian Savoy, Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer for Duke Energy; and Charles Lattuca, President and CEO of GoTriangle, which provides bus services in North Carolina’s Research Triangle region. Full episode.


Show notes: 

Electrifying North Carolina transit

Volkswagen and Siemens invest in Electrify America

Acting on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Platform Revolution

With previous episodes focusing on the power of new federal investment combined with emerging technologies, this one explores the big, overarching trend that promises to truly change everything: a platform revolution. On the launch day for Siemens’s new open digital business platform, Xcelerator, Marshall Van Alstyne, co-author of international bestseller “Platform Revolution,” offers his view on why platform models giving rise to the likes of Uber, Airbnb and Amazon are now ready to transform industry and infrastructure. Barbara is also joined by Peter Koerte, Chief Technology and Strategy Officer at Siemens, who highlights how the platform model’s focus on ecosystems and creating network effects will accelerate decarbonization as it remakes factories, energy grids, buildings, and transportations system. Full episode


Show notes: 

Siemens Xcelerator Press Release

Platform Revolution

Peter’s article

Reversing infrastructure’s legacy of inequality 

Barbara looks at infrastructure’s legacy of exacerbating inequality and explores a more sustainable, equitable, resilient approach as the bipartisan infrastructure law is rolled out. Her guest, Stephanie Gidigbi Jenkins, is an expert in and champion for public policies promoting economic, social and environmental benefits for communities. Stephanie is the founder and co-partner of Northstar Strategies, with previous experiences at the U.S. Department of Transportation, in state and local government, and in the U.S. House of Representatives. Full episode


Show notes:

Stephanie’s Politico op-ed

Building for a changing tomorrow

Siemens ESG Strategy

United Airlines CEO on sustainable aviation

Barbara is joined by United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby to take a look back at the first passenger flight powered by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in December 2021. You’ll learn about United’s Eco-Skies Alliance leading a shift to SAF, the aviation industry’s commitment to decarbonization, and why Kirby sees climate change as the biggest challenge facing our generation. Full episode


Show notes:

Eco-Skies Alliance Announcement

More information

Climate action at Siemens

Airport modernization

Capital campaign to decarbonize SMEs

Barbara with President Biden

Barbara brings listeners inside Siemens’ big manufacturing announcement made with President Biden at the White House. You’ll hear the President’s (virtual) meeting with manufacturing workers before the event starts. Next, turning to the event, Barbara makes the case in her remarks for why automation isn’t to be feared prior to President Biden’s speech on his Made in America commitments. Full episode


Show notes:

Press release

White House Made in America

Supporting bipartisan infrastructure law

Video replay of press event

Inside a new EV charging breakthrough

Barbara recaps the unveiling of a new, sustainable EV charging concept Siemens developed in partnership with Nexii, a green construction technology company. Learn about the technology with commentary from Nexii CEO Steve Sidwell and the people who pioneered this innovative design that’s scalable nationwide. Full episode


Show notes:

Info on prototype

Supporting bipartisan infrastructure law (see section “enabling a new era for electric vehicles” for video from this event)

Supply Chain Part 2: What is trusted traceability?

Barbara continues the conversation about supply chains with Richard Barnett, Chief Marketing Officer, Supplyframe. In this episode, Barbara and Richard reflect on supply chains past and present, then outline a new path forward supported by digital transformation. Full episode


Show notes:

Siemens acquires Supplyframe

Digital solutions for electronics and semiconductors 

Barbara on “Glocal"

Barbara’s blog post supporting CHIPS Act

Statement after White House roundtable

Supply Chain Part 1: Solving the chips shortage

Barbara launches the 2022 season with solutions for reinventing America’s supply chain featuring Siemens experts. In this episode, Barbara focuses on the semiconductor shortage with insights from Dave Gross, Strategic Development Portfolio Executive, Siemens Digital Industries Software. Listeners will understand the history of U.S. chips production and what can be done with technology and through legislation such as the CHIPS for America Act. Full episode.


Show notes:  

Digital solutions for electronics and semiconductors

Barbara on “Glocal”

Barbara’s blog post supporting CHIPS Act

Statement after White House roundtable

The brainwaves behind better leadership

Before returning to infrastructure topics, Barbara brings listeners inside her January “learning month” through a conversation with Summer Anderson, Managing Director, ZRG Partners. They explore the science behind high performance and the value of trust-based leadership that Summer details in her forthcoming book, “Start Within: Better ROI Begins with You.”

Full episode.


Show notes:  

Information on Summer’s book

Intro to 2022 season

Barbara reflects on earlier episodes and previews 2022 season as the bipartisan infrastructure law is rolled out. Instead of applying an optimistic outlook to what we could do, she says, now we can focus on what we *will* do and what’s next. Episodes will cover potential infrastructure projects, how to accelerate climate action, how to reinvent America’s supply chain and localize manufacturing, and the convergence of infrastructure investment and digital transformation.

Full episode.


Show notes:  

Barbara on bipartisan infrastructure law

Growth Mindset with TED Speaker Eduardo Briceño

2022 will mark a launching point for transformation thanks to the bipartisan infrastructure law, bold climate commitments and the technologies available to modernize manufacturing and revamp the supply chain. But it’s not all about technology. Barbara details how a growth mindset fuels transformation with Eduardo Briceño, the former CEO of Mindset Works and a global keynote speaker, facilitator and guide supporting leaders cultivating growth mindset cultures. Full episode.


Show notes:  

Eduardo’s TED talk on Learning Zone versus Performance Zone

Eduardo’s TEDx talk on Growth Mindset

Barbara's blog post on bipartisan infrastructure law

Inside COP26 and Infrastructure Bill Signing

Barbara brings listeners inside her experience attending COP26 and the White House bill signing ceremony for the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Full episode.


Show notes:  

Siemens USA Climate Action

Siemens ESG Strategy

Blog post on bipartisan infrastructure law

Yahoo Finance: “We need everything that’s in here”

 CNBC: “We’re built for this moment”

359,000+ open cybersecurity jobs: How to build a workforce

Like manufacturing, covered in recent episodes, the U.S. cybersecurity industry has a massive workforce shortage. The workforce needs to grow 40% just to meet the current need nationwide. In this episode, Barbara is joined by a cybersecurity leader with a vision for how to leverage diversity, equity and inclusion as a solution: Joanna Burkey, CISO, HP. You’ll learn why cybersecurity opportunities are growing and about in-demand skillsets. Full episode

Show notes:  

Joanna’s op-ed “Cybersecurity jobs are booming. Where’s the talent?”

Siemens USA Head of Cybersecurity op-ed “Leveraging Cybersecurity to Increase Diversity, Equity and Inclusion”

Report on DEI in Cybersecurity

“Team of Teams” book

Reimagining the supply chain

Is it time for national preparedness to receive the same attention and visibility as national defense? That’s the takeaway of a new report put forward by the Principal to Principal Global Supply Chain Task Force, a group comprised of leaders across government, academia and business. To break down the recommendations, Barbara is joined by task force members Kristi Rogers, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Principal to Principal, and Greg Bowman, Chief Innovation Officer and Vice President, Siemens Government Technologies.  Full episode.

Show Notes:

Report: "Reimagining the Global Supply Chain Post Covid-19"

Barbara’s op-ed “How to Prepare for the Next National Crisis”

Barbara’s blog post on address semiconductor shortage

How to start a manufacturing career: Factory leader shares his experience

Corey Scales, a Focus Factory Manager for Siemens Smart Infrastructure in Grand Prairie, Texas, joins the show to share his career experience in manufacturing. After an episode exploring near-record industry job openings nationwide, listeners will hear about the growth mindset fueling Corey’s success alongside practical guidance on how to start a manufacturing career.  Full episode.

Show Notes:

Blog post by Corey

Kappa Kamp

Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich”

Where the Jobs Are at Siemens USA


Why are there 800,000+ open manufacturing jobs?

In June, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 814,000 open manufacturing jobs, a new record. To explain the trends driving these statistics and how to connect workers with good-paying careers, Barbara is joined by The Manufacturing Institute’s Executive Director, Carolyn Lee, who leads the National Association of Manufacturers’ nonprofit workforce development and education partner. Full episode.

Show Notes:

Talent Shortage Report

Siemens USA commitment to workforce development

Additive manufacturing and its world-changing potential

Brian Neff, CEO of Sintavia, a leader in additive manufacturing, joins the podcast to help listeners understand how a new era of virtual design and 3D printing expands what’s humanly possible. Full episode.

Show Notes:

Brian’s TEDx Talk

Barbara’s national preparedness op-ed

Transforming U.S. manufacturing

Congresswoman Blunt Rochester on opening back better

Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester joins Barbara to discuss the Open Back Better Act, which would authorize funding for energy efficiency and resiliency retrofit projects in schools, medical facilities, government buildings, education institutions, libraries and more. Full episode.

Show Notes:

Open Back Better Act

Reopening America     

Baraba's open infrastructure letter

What falling ill during COVID-19 taught me about leadership

Barbara shares her essay about her experience getting sick as COVID-19 shutdowns began and the big lesson she took away from it. Full episode.

Show Notes:

Read Barbara's Essay

The Case for Clean Air

Jane Burston, Executive Director and Founder of the Clean Air Fund, joins Barbara with Martin Powell, Head of Sustainability, Americas, for Siemens Financial Services Inc. They discuss what’s being done to not only raise the quality of the air we breathe, but to make clean air a basic human right grounding the work to build a sustainable future.

  Full episode.

Show Notes:

Jane’s letter to the 21st century

Siemens’ environmental action

Supporting Biden Administration's climate commitment


Part 3: The technology to reopen education

Is this a generational opportunity? For the last episode of the series, Barbara talks to John Macomber, a Harvard Business School lecturer and co-author of “Healthy Buildings: How Indoor Spaces Drive Performance and Productivity,” to explore how addressing the immediate need to reopen schools nationwide could actually benefit students, teachers and administrators for many years to come. You’ll learn how the pandemic has raised awareness about indoor air quality, and what this means not only for reopening schools but to the future of U.S. infrastructure.  Full episode.

Show Notes: Reopening Education  Strategies

  John on HBR Ideacast

Part 2: The technology to reopen education 

Barbara turns her focus to K-12 schools, highlighting the reopening story of public schools in Augusta, Maine. Jon Stonier, Augusta School Department Director of Building and Grounds, and Siemens’ Erik Matzell, Senior Sales Executive, join the show to talk about the school system’s focus on air purification technology and infrastructure upgrades to safely return students to classrooms.  Full episode.

Show Notes:

Reopening Education

Why the pandemic has changed how we build things 

While infrastructure projects have continued during the pandemic, COVID-19 is impacting the construction industry in numerous ways. Richard Kennedy, President and CEO, Skanska USA, joins Barbara to discuss technology trends accelerated by the pandemic and new partnerships for improving how we build and maintain the infrastructure needed today and in the future.  Full episode.

Show Notes:

Smart Buildings

Smart Infrastructure USA





Part 1: The Technology to Reopen Education

In this series exploring how to reopen schools, Barbara talks to Molloy College President Dr. James Lentini with Siemens’ Fred James and David Santo to talk about the air purification and technology partnership helping Molloy expand in-person learning. Full episode.

Show Notes: 

Reopening Education

Air purification solution

Reopening America

Moving even faster to the cloud

Stephen Orban, General Manager, Amazon Web Services (AWS) Data Exchange, joins Barbara to discuss the cloud’s potential for helping America reopen, helping organizations thrive in the new normal, and more.  Full episode.

Show Notes:

Reopening America

Smart building solutions

Stephen’s book, “Ahead in the Cloud”




How do we reopen America?

As vaccines shine a bright light through the darkest days of the pandemic, Barbara shares her thoughts on how we can begin the work of reopening America and building a more resilient future. Listeners will learn practical ways that technology can help us take steps and potential opportunities in 2021 to launch large-scale action to reinvent America’s infrastructure.  Full episode.

Show Notes:

Reopening America



Keep Moving: An interview with Maggie Smith 

Can we learn to be optimists? Maggie Smith wrote her best-selling book of quotes and essays, “Keep Moving,” to move forward through the grief, anger, and uncertainty of divorce. For Barbara’s final episode of 2020, a CEO and poet explore how crisis presents an opportunity to shape the future we want, as Smith shares how she came to embrace an optimistic outlook.  Full episode.



The infrastructure cities need

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock joins Barbara to discuss a U.S. Conference of Mayors survey examining mayoral infrastructure priorities in facing an unprecedented health, economic and societal crisis due to COVID-19. They highlight how infrastructure and technology investments can generate new jobs and economic recovery while forging a new path for urban resilience.  Full episode

Show notes:

“Infrastructure, Technology and Mayors’ Priorities for Confronting a Health, Economic and Societal Crisis

Why we shouldn’t be afraid of crisis

This unprecedented healthcare, economic and societal crisis won’t be the last; the future promises an exponential increase in unpredictable threats. Peter Willis, who led the recent Resilient Leadership Project, joins Barbara to discuss how society should respond, by leaning in, and the power of intentional listening.  Full episode.

Show notes:

Resilient Leadership


How will we move in 2045?

Transportation is often described as the backbone of America’s economy. Looking towards the future, former U.S. Transportation Secretary and Lyft Chief Policy Officer Anthony Foxx shares his views on how transportation can also be the backbone for social equity, fighting climate change, and addressing growth in our cities.  Full episode.

Show notes:

Beyond Traffic report

Looking Back at United for Infrastructure 2020

United for Infrastructure is a nonpartisan organization that brings together businesses, workers, elected leaders and citizens to advocate for the renewal of America’s infrastructure. CEO and Co-Founder Zach Schafer shares key takeaways from the organization’s recent week-long virtual gathering of experts focused on how to #RebuildBetter. Full episode.

Show Notes:

United for Infrastructure

How to reinvent the power grid

Sustainability, consumer choices and pure economics are all coming together to support a renewable future. But first we need to bring this energy onto the power grid. To learn how, Barbara talks to Sonja Glavaski, Chief Scientist for Energy Digitalization in the Energy & Environment Directorate at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Full episode.

Leading a resilience shift

Resilience. In the wake of today’s crises, we now hear it all the time. But what it does really mean, and what will be the benefits of having more resilient infrastructure? To answer that question, Barbara talks to Seth Shultz, Global Executive Director of The Resilience Shift. Full episode.

Show notes:

Resilient Leadership Project

International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure

How do we scale electric mobility? 

A rare upside to a global pandemic? Less driving helped to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality. Vic Shao, CEO, Amply Power, outlines how we can continue to accelerate climate action even while restarting the economy by focusing on the immediately actionable opportunity to scale the use of electric mobility.  Full episode.

Show Notes:

California mandate for zero emission trucks

Can indoor spaces adapt to COVID-19?

A big challenge in co-existing with the COVID-19 pandemic is understanding how to create safe indoor spaces. Scott Rechler, CEO of New York City-based RxR Realty, provides examples of the digital innovation being used to reinvent buildings.  Full episode.

The factory of the future

As U.S. manufacturers help the country respond to COVID-19, Jay Timmons, President and CEO, National Association of Manufacturers, on how manufacturers have responded to the pandemic and the bright future ahead if the industry invests in technology and human talent.  Full episode.

Show Notes:

Manufacturing Day Website

A connected world we can trust

In using data to bring infrastructure online, cybersecurity conversations tend to focus on everything going wrong. With Laura Bate, a director of cyber engagement at the U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission, Barbara delves into a world in which everything goes right instead. Additionally, Laura shares her perspective on how trust, collaboration and focusing on human talent can drive digital innovation.  Full episode.

Show Notes:

U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission website and report

The next big thing for America’s infrastructure

One of the biggest trends impacting infrastructure actually started in the consumer world: a Fourth Industrial Revolution. Elise Neel, Vice President of New Business Incubation at Verizon, joins Barbara to share its potential and the impact of 5G to infrastructure and industry.  Full episode.


The national conversation surrounding America’s infrastructure has focused on how to fix it and fund it. In The Optimistic Outlook podcast, Siemens USA CEO Barbara Humpton looks deeper, focusing on how reinventing infrastructure can help address societal challenges. 


Building on her video and blog series as the world continues to wrestle with COVID-19, Humpton and invited experts explore how U.S. infrastructure is designed and maintained and how to advance game-changing projects. They discuss the potential for digital tools to spur new innovation; to transform industries and our built environment; and to help build more sustainable, resilient communities.

Barbara Humpton is President and CEO of Siemens Corporation, where she guides the company’s strategy and engagement in serving the company’s largest market. Siemens USA employs approximately 40,000 people serving customers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico and generated $17 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2020. She views the true purpose of technology as expanding what’s humanly possible. She’s also passionate about diversity, STEM education and what she calls a worklife blend that honors her priorities both at Siemens and as a grandmother.


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