Manufacturing Employee Profiles

Manufacturing Day, an annual event taking place this year on October 6, brings together hundreds of manufacturers in celebration of the manufacturing profession with employees and local members of the community. Because manufacturing is essential to our success, we will be celebrating the entire month of October.

In an effort to highlight the many ways that all Caterpillar employees, production and management, work hard to provide our customers with the world-class equipment they need to build a better world, we are launching a new “BehindTheIron” campaign. Throughout the month of October, we will share a weekly roundup of employee profiles, some of which may also be features on social media. 

Brian Grimmett
Quality Support, BCP

Q: What do you love most about your job/Caterpillar?

A: Whether it's in my at-home life or my job life, I like to know that I'm making a difference, that my labor is not in vain. Being in supplier quality, it has provided many opportunities to positively impact the quality of built machines.

Q: How does manufacturing build a better world?

A: I think most people underestimate the significance of the manufacturing industry. You'll be hard pressed to find many of your daily products you use that were not manufactured. Manufacturing across the globe is responsible for many countries' economical health and exports. This consumer driven age of demanding the best product is guiding manufacturing to be more productive, innovative and sustainable. These guiding principles flow from manufacturing companies to build better communities and the world around us.

Q: What skills are most important in your functional area?

A: Each day and week brings forth different obstacles and objectives. For example, one day I could be diagnosing engine related failures, painting components, performing investigations and failure analysis, or working behind the computer. The most important skill that I continuously refine is being able to be adaptable to ever changing daily obstacles.

Janet McBride
Grinding Specialist, RI

Hello, my name is Janet McBride. I have worked for Caterpillar for seven years. When I started here in building KK, I ran a burr bench and wash tank. I became a machinist about a month after starting, where I learned to run a grinder. Two years into my career I became a team lead for DPG. I am now in a non-traditional job in the lean manufacturing office. I did not expect to be on the onboarding team for new hires but it has been one of the greatest work experiences! If you asked me which job I have loved the most, I could not answer that because there have been things I have loved in every step of my career here at Caterpillar. I love learning new jobs and getting to know all of the wonderful people I have had the opportunity to work with. In my current job I love playing a part in people’s first impression of Caterpillar. I am not sure there is a “typical day” in our department. We support all of the production areas in the building, so we get to work with all of the great value streams here in KK. Some days we are working on RIW’s, other day’s onboarding new hires. We often get assigned surprising assignments, like being asked to help with new and exciting programs or helping to improve areas. I think the most important skill an employee can have is to be able to come to work every day with a positive attitude and a love for their job. My one piece of advice for new employees is to have a positive attitude, and to never lose the drive to learn something new. Caterpillar is full of new things to learn, and the possibility to grow in that learning.

Atsushi Tsukamoto
Manufacturing Engineering Supervisor, EXD

Q: What functional area are you in now?

A: I’m a member of HEX Assembly Division, Akashi, EXD. In this division, there are many kinds of job such as vehicle assembly, functional test, paint and logistics. I am mainly in charge of the proto-type machine assembly at the Akashi plant and I supervise an assembly engineering team. I work with my assembly expert team to try to find opportunities to improve new model machines from the standpoint of safety, quality, workability and cost through proto-type machine assembly.

Q: What is one thing you did not expect or other people wouldn’t expect your job description to entail?

A: My major task as a supervisor is not only to improve new model machines from the PQVC perspective but also to keep their assembly schedule as planned. However, during their assembly, we faced with a lot of unexpected things or situations regularly. For example, a new component could not be assembled with some interference. Some parts were not delivered on time. An engine could not run with some software issues and so on. In such case, me and my team discuss with related departments and try to find a solution timely and aggressively to keep their assembly schedule. In fact, we have been implementing proto-type machine assembly for two years and have been faced with various challenges. In spite of that, we still keep our schedule to meet with engineering team’s requirement. My team and I grow to be a more skillful team through those unexpected experiences.

Q: What do you love most about your job/Caterpillar?

A: Caterpillar has many HEX plants and a global communication network. When I want to contact other colleagues in other location, I can connect to them very easily. For example, when I find a new good idea such as a cost reduction idea on assembly process, I can share it with other plants easily. Through those communication with other plants via teleconferences or face-to-face meeting, I learn about other countries and diversified cultures which I did not know well.

A: Each day and week brings forth different obstacles and objectives. For example, one day I could be diagnosing engine related failures, painting components, performing investigations and failure analysis, or working behind the computer. The most important skill that I continuously refine is being able to be adaptable to ever changing daily obstacles.

Karen Worley
Team Lead, BCP

Q: What do you love most about your job at Caterpillar?

A: As a team lead, I enjoy helping others succeed and working to improve quality and safety within our facility. I feel a sense of accomplishment as my team contributes to the overall success of Caterpillar.

Q: What does manufacturing mean to me?

A: Manufacturing means taking pride in assembling or creating a product and delivering quality to our customers.

Q: How does manufacturing build a better world?

A: Manufacturing builds a better world by providing the tools and supplies necessary to construct and develop areas to help provide a better world for people to live in.

Q: What functional area do I work in?

A: I am a team lead over team eight at Caterpillar in Clayton. My team and I are responsible for prepping the hood and door for mainline installation, prepping and installing the tilt cylinder, prepping the linkage assembly and installing the linkage assembly in mainline.  

Sam Showman
Sr. Engineering Specialist, ITDD

Q: What functional area are you in now?

A: I currently lead a team of engineers/software developers within the Virtual Product Development Systems and Platforms (VPDSP) group of ITDD. I lead a team of engineers that writes and supports engineering simulation software.

Q: What is one thing you did not expect or other people wouldn’t expect your job description to entail?

A: The need to learn structural simulation process details from different groups around Caterpillar. How the finite element method is applied to a problem can change significantly from group to group.

Q: What do you love most about your job/Caterpillar?

To me, the Caterpillar name has always signified quality and durability. So I really appreciate how the tools/processes developed in my team contribute to that reputation. I also enjoy getting an email or IM from an engineer showing the positive impact of the virtual tools/processes I’ve developed.

Q: What skills are most important in your functional area?

A: Experience with understanding the finite element method and handling the data the finite element method generates. Understanding how different teams within Caterpillar transform simulation data into design decisions. Willingness to acquire customer empathy by digging in and actuating a customer’s complex simulation processes.

Dennis Barwick
Training Technician, BCP

Q: What do you love most about your job/Caterpillar?

A: They are my family.

Q: How does manufacturing build a better world?

A: Whether its disaster cleanup, affordable housing, stronger infrastructure or job creation, manufacturing is at the heart of it. 

Q: What does manufacturing mean to you?

A: Manufacturing and the constant advancement in technologies is the “machine” that keeps our country growing.

Q: What functional area do you work in?

A: Assembly Training

Q: What skills are most important in your functional area?

A: Communication and the people skills.

Woody Mitchell
Manufacturing Support (Tech Services), BCP

Manufacturing builds a better world by helping communities grow. Opportunities for employment cause local economies to thrive and this helps communities provide a better quality of life for its residents. It also makes you, as an employee, proud to see the products you help build used to build communities around the world.

The functional area I work in is Tech Services at Clayton. I am a member of a dynamic and highly experienced Tool Crib Team. We provide a large variety of services for our fellow Clayton employees.

What I love most about my job here at Caterpillar is the variety of skills I’ve had to master in order to be an effective and efficient member of our Tool Crib Team.  We have daily opportunities to grow as trouble shooters and service providers.

Manufacturing means supplying people with what they need. We are all consumers. However, those of us in manufacturing give back to the collective, which in turn, strengthens the entire economy.

Chris Ita
Machining Technologist, ITDD

Q: How long have you worked for Caterpillar?

A: 11 years.

Q: What functional area are you in now?

A: Tech Center – Building K, Machine Acceptance

Q: What is one thing you did not expect or other people wouldn’t expect your job description to entail?

A: Performing Machine Acceptance Testing/Logistics to move the test equipment.

Q: What do you love most about your job/Caterpillar?

A: Being able to travel.

Q: What skills are most important in your functional area?

A: Ability to think on my feet, theoretical knowledge of CNC machine operation and actual experience with multiple CNC machines.

Q: What would happen if your functional area no longer existed?

A: Caterpillar would have to rely on outside contractors. In the shop supporting R&D, NPI, Process Improvement, etc., that would mean a loss of oversight and the direct connection we have built with our internal customers.

Q: What is one piece of advice you’d give to a new employee?

A: Never miss the opportunity to learn something new, you never know what effect it will have on the future.

Don Houser
Logistics Group Manager, BCP

Q: What do you love most about your job at Caterpillar?

A: The people that make up Caterpillar Inc. is what I enjoy most about working at Caterpillar. Caterpillar is such a diverse company, which has given me the opportunity to work with people from all around the world, including Belgium, Russia, Japan, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Mexico & Brazil.

Q: How does manufacturing build a better world?

A: One look at Hoover Dam or Spaghetti Junction in Atlanta, GA. and you understand how the world is made better - Or knowing that when a natural disaster occurs around the world, (hurricane Harvey, the recent earthquake in Mexico, etc.) Caterpillar generators, small wheel loaders, track type tractors, and skid steers will be there to help with recovery and clean up.  

Q: What functional area do I work in?

A: I work with the BCP SWL Logistics team. We move parts throughout the facility and ensure timely delivery to point of use.

Q: What skills are most important in your functional area?

A: The ability to remain focused throughout the day. The logistics team uses mobile equipment to move large heavy parts throughout the facility. Focusing on safety and delivering the correct, damage free, high quality part when it is needed is most important. This takes a lot of focus.   

Josh Barra
Weld Technologist, Machine R&D

Q: What functional area are you in now?

A: PPG Fabrication Shop

Q: What is one thing you did not expect or other people wouldn’t expect your job description to entail?

A: We are not just welders -we can fab up anything on the fly. We work close with engineers on all projects to help with testing on all prime products.

Q: What do you love most about your job/Caterpillar?

A: I love that every job I do is different each day, each with its own challenges.

Q: What skills are most important in your functional area?

A: Imagination. We usually do not have prints to make or build parts, only ideas. So being creative helps to get the job done efficiently and safely, every time.

Q: What would happen if your functional area no longer existed?

A: Tests and prime product builds wouldn’t be finished on time or budget. We are a key part in making PPG run.

Q: What is one piece of advice you’d give to a new employee?

A: Do not be scared to mess up, it is how you learn. Try to think outside the box.

Jean Bridge
Engineering Project Team Leader, ITDD

Q: What functional area are you in now?

A: Innovation and Emerging Technology, Manufacturing Technology & Solutions–Team Leader for Manufacturing Specifications and Standards

Q: What is one thing you did not expect or other people wouldn’t expect your job description to entail?

A: Global travel!  I get to provide training and process recommendations to many of our manufacturing facilities and suppliers.

Q: What do you love most about your job/Caterpillar?

A: The variety of Caterpillar products that I get to deal with.  I am not at one facility or within a product group. As a corporate expert, I get to help across the board; from components to machine level, as well as suppliers to dealerships and customer sites.

Q: What does a typical day at work look like for you?

A: The day starts with answering emails that have come in overnight from Asia. I may have to clarify or direct people to appropriate best practices or interpret requirements. There are research projects going on here at the Technical Center that may require my expertise in inspection techniques and capabilities. I perform ultrasonic inspections using the latest phased array technology to get internal information about our latest structural design concepts. And, of course, I review a lot of specifications to ensure Caterpillar’s practices satisfy or exceed national and international standards.

Q: Do you get surprising/random assignments?

A: I get requests to inspect things when issues arise. I am an expert in weld inspections, but have been asked to look at many interesting components of varying materials; from iron castings to rubber tire tread.

Q: What skills are most important in your functional area?

A: Critical thinking, innovative ideas and communication–of needs, expectations and results.

Tatsuo Miyamoto
Group Manager, CPD

Q: What functional area are you in now?

A: I work in Component Production Division, Akashi EXD, and now I supervise the Component Production Shop.

Q: What is one thing you did not expect or other people wouldn’t expect your job description to entail?

A: During an upturn in production plans for HEX components, reinforcement of production workforce was needed, and new hired production workers gradually increased per the production plan. I had to observe them carefully every day to ensure safety measures were met, in order to prevent injuries or incidents on the shop floor.

Q: What do you love most about your job/Caterpillar?

A: I have had the opportunity to do various work since I joined Caterpillar. First, operating various machine tools in Component Production Shop to machine several parts of components. Second, managing production lines as a section manager. Next, supporting daily production plans, as a manufacturing engineer. Now, I manage Component Production Shop as a group manager. I would love to operate machine tools forever.

Q: What does a typical day at work look like for you?

A: I perform a shop floor observation of Value Streams (VSs), in which I supervise from the standpoint of safety, environment and health management, as well as communicate with section managers of each VSs. I also communicate with manufacturing engineers, supporting them and confirming the progress of their projects or tasks. In addition, I manage production status and actual achievement evaluations against production plans each day.

Q: What skills are most important in your functional area?

A: Communication!  Through the conversations with team members in a workplace, I can assess each of them regarding what he/she is thinking about, who is in trouble, how his/her physical condition is, etc. The communication skill is most important to drive various kinds of jobs and work smoothly. 

Wesley Keene
Manufacturing Support, BCP

Q: What functional area are you in now?

A: Technical Services Group -CI Shop

Q: What does manufacturing mean to you?

A: Putting together a product from raw materials, which creates a quality item that you can be proud off.

Q: How does manufacturing build a better world?

A: Manufacturers provide products people use to make jobs easier and more efficient.

Q: What skills are most important in your functional area?

A: Project management, fixture design, fabrication and communication are key skills that help me accomplish my job.

TJ Volpe
Manufacturing Engineering Supervisor, MH&U

Q: What do you love most about your job at Caterpillar?

A: I love playing an integral role in bringing new products from concept to reality. Getting to do that for the most respected heavy equipment manufacturer in the world makes me proud.

Q: What does a typical day at work look like for you?

A: Every day is a little different. Our job is to develop a process that allows the operators on the floor to safely produce machines while meeting our quality, velocity, and cost targets.  Every day we are working collaboratively with our process partners to achieve just that.

Q: What functional area do you work in?

A: Manufacturing Engineering

Q: What skills are most important in your functional area?

A: The ability to work cross-functional with a diverse workforce and truly put team gain ahead of personal gain. It is critical to have the aptitude to build strong working relationships, considering the number of people and departments manufacturing engineering interacts with on a daily basis.

Q: What is one thing you did not expect or other people wouldn’t expect your job description to entail?

A: Manufacturing engineering touches so many parts of the business.  From being heavily involved in the design conception of a machine to the management of our capital and manpower within our processes; we truly see a product all the way through to the customer.

Usha Sandhya Bandaru
Manufacturing Engineer, ITDD

Q: What functional area are you in now?

A: Manufacturing Technology & Solutions team under ITDD

Q: What do you love most about your job/Caterpillar?

A: Disciplined strategies of Values, Trust, Commitment and Culture. The environment is very comfortable for employees to share opinions.

Q: What skills are most important in your functional area?

A: Product Knowledge, experience in Assembly Process planning, and the capability to respond and be in touch with the process partners.

Q: What is one piece of advice you’d give to a new employee?

A: Talk to you supervisor about any issues you have because people in Caterpillar, no matter what division, will hear your pain area and try to resolve them.