Cat opens new exhibit at Visitor's Center to honor employees

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A new exhibit honoring Caterpillar Inc.’s heritage and employees is open at the Caterpillar Visitors Center in downtown Peoria.

The exhibit, titled “Manufacturing Traditions,” opened last Friday and continues through February 2015.

“Manufacturing is the core of our company,” said Kathryn Spitznagle, manager of the Caterpillar Visitors Center. “This exhibit honors the men and women who spend their careers building the world’s greatest engines and machines.”

The exhibit focuses on five key concepts critical in Caterpillar’s manufacturing: Safety, Processes, Quality, Employee Recognition and Training. These concepts are at work every day in Caterpillar’s 125 manufacturing locations around the world.

            The exhibit’s opening comes during October, a month used to celebrate manufacturing and highlight the need for more skilled workers, the company said in a news release.

“There is a great need for skilled positions such as welders and machinists – and there is a shortage of skilled workers, especially here in the United States. And, the roles have changed over the years,” the company said.

“Now, employees must possess the right balance of technical and critical thinking skills to keep up with rapid process changes and new technologies used to design, manufacture and support Caterpillar’s products and customers,” it added.

Manufacturing is not only at the core of Caterpillar’s business, it is the core of the American economy. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) estimates manufacturing supports 17.4 million jobs in the United States, and more than 12 million Americans are directly employed in manufacturing.According to the NAM, manufacturers in the United States perform two-thirds of all private-sector research and development in the nation, driving more innovation than any other sector.

“Today’s manufacturing at Caterpillar is innovative, high-tech and sustainable,” said Spitznagle. “It’s built on the hard work of the most productive workers in the world – our employees. It’s work we’re proud to show every day at the Caterpillar Visitors Center.”

More than 150 artifacts are on display in the exhibit, while more than 60 photos in the digital photo album and a documentary-style video recognize the people “behind the Yellow Iron,” highlighting two employees who received 65 year service pins in 2014. One of them is an East Peoria employee who is still working at age 95.


About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).