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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.




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...


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. Show Notes: LinkedIn Article:


The Case for Clean Air

It might be the beginning of the end for the pandemic, yet the climate crisis—and with it, another healthcare crisis— looms large: Air pollution now contributes to 7 million global deaths annually, with the World Health Organization reporting that 98 percent of the world’s children aren’t breathing 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., to tackle...


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...


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. 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.


Part 1: The technology to reopen education

In this series, Barbara looks at what it takes to bring back in-person learning across schools, colleges and universities. In Part 1, Molloy College President Dr. James Lentini joins the podcast alongside Siemens’ Fred James and David Santo to talk about the air purification and technology partnership helping Molloy College expand in-person learning with confidence in 2021. Show...


Moving even faster to the cloud

In 2020, the pandemic accelerated the adoption of new cloud technologies. Where do we go from here? 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. Show...


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. Show Notes:


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.


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. 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. 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. 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. Show Notes: United for Infrastructure