Combining Today’s Work with The Past

Not every job at Caterpillar is focused on the production line or set in an office environment. Lee Fosburgh works in heritage services, as a corporate archivist, in a climate controlled space which hosts years of Caterpillar history, artifacts, equipment and memorabilia. Fosburgh says his job can be described as an interdisciplinary between a historian and someone within the world of library science; because his day to day includes telling stories through history, and organizing information to make it available to people.

Lee has been in the industry for over 20 years, and says there are only about 15,000-20,000 archivists like him the United States.

“It’s a really rare specialization and narrow field. Working for a Fortune 500 company, especially like Caterpillar, is really the echelon of our field for what we do.”

The strong brand is only one of the things that drew Fosburgh to Caterpillar, because while he would frequently see the products on the roadside, know the great projects they completed, he says it’s the history that really drew him to Caterpillar.

“I think a lot of companies talk the talk of their history being important, but at Caterpillar it’s real. I’ve learned so much just from our employees, dealers, and customers – they know more than me in many examples of our history. For what we do, this really is the ultimate job.”

When starting at Caterpillar, Fosburgh says he always heard the terms “yellow iron” and “yellow blood” but now he really embodies it and sees it every day.

“One of my favorite stories is about a person I met that was all about “yellow iron” and “yellow blood.” Their entire family was a customer of ours 100 years ago and they’re still a customer of ours today.”

Fosburgh says he hears similar stories all the time and believes it adds inspiration into the work he and other Caterpillar employees do.

“What I think is special about Caterpillar employees is that they love their job, they get to go across the world … and that makes my job even easier because we can tap into these people and their knowledge, and as an archivist, they help me understand how today fits with the past.”


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