The Optimistic Outlook-logo

The Optimistic Outlook

Technology Podcasts

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.

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.


United States


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.




A model microgrid in Bronzeville

Barbara visits a groundbreaking microgrid project in the South Side Chicago neighborhood of Bronzeville. Features interviews with ComEd CEO Gil Quiniones and Paul Pabst, who leads ComEd’s Smart Grid department. SHOW NOTES: Video: Microgrids opportunities in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law:


Climate action: how to achieve ‘drawdown’

Chad Frischmann is the co-author of the New York Times best-seller “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.” He also pioneered Project Drawdown and is now the founder of a new organization called Regenerative Intelligence. Barbara and Chad explore how to achieve a moment in time when the concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases begins to decline annually and what a regenerative future looks like. Learn about the impact of tech solutions that can be...


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. Show notes: Electrifying North Carolina transit:...


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. Following the release day of Siemens’ new open digital business platform, Siemens 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...


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...


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. Show notes: Eco-Skies Alliance Announcement:...


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. Turning to the event, Barbara makes the case for why automation isn’t to be feared prior to President Biden’s speech on his Administration's Made in America...


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. Show notes: Info on prototype:...


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. Show notes: Siemens acquires Supplyframe: Digital solutions for electronics and semiconductors:...


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. Show notes: Digital solutions for electronics...


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.” Show notes: Info 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 with digital transformation.


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. Show notes: Eduardo’s TED talk...


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.


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. Show notes: Joanna’s op-ed “Cybersecurity jobs...


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 (see link in show notes) 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...


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. Show Notes: Blog post by Corey:...


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. And according to a report by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute (MI), about 2.1 million manufacturing jobs are likely to be unfilled by 2030 without changes to training and talent recruitment strategies. To explain the trends driving these statistics and how to connect workers with good-paying careers, Barbara is joined by MI’s Executive Director, Carolyn Lee, who leads the National...


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. You’ll learn what additive manufacturing is, how it transforms the factory floor, how it could decarbonize aviation, and why more firms aren’t shifting away from traditional processes. Show Notes: Brian’s TEDx Talk: Barbara’s national preparedness op-ed:...


Congresswoman Blunt Rochester on opening back better

As America reopens, U.S. Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester joins the show to explore how to better prepare the nation for future crises while addressing societal inequities exacerbated by the pandemic. As they discuss solutions across infrastructure and workforce development, you’ll learn about the Congresswoman’s proposed infrastructure legislation, including the Open Back Better Act, which would authorize funding for energy efficiency and resiliency retrofit projects in schools, medical...