Embracing Our Differences

November 28, 2022

At Caterpillar, we value diversity and inclusion to drive business achievements and a disability will not, and should not, hinder your success. The ADEPT ERG (Abled and Disabled Employees Partnering Together) is committed to providing employees with disabilities the support they need to ensure a successful Caterpillar experience.  

According to the United Nations, almost everyone will temporarily or permanently experience disability at some point in their life and over 1 billion people – about 15% of the global population – currently experience disability. 

We want to give the floor to our members to share their stories:  

Joe: Showing that you care

Product Sound Lead Engineer, Earthmoving, Illinois, US

My physical disability is called GNE Myopathy, which is a progressive muscle disease. My first symptoms started around the time I joined Caterpillar, in my early twenties, and it took 8 years to get a diagnosis. I am now in a wheelchair full-time. My health journey has greatly impacted my life and work, but it hasn't prevented me from living life and having a successful career. I have had great support from my wife, family, friends, church, and colleagues. The leadership has been very supportive in accommodating me, such as making my facility more accessible with ramps and automatic doors, as well as other little things that have eased my physical difficulties.  People often want to know how they can help other people with disabilities. I would recommend saying something like "Just let me know if you need help with anything," which shows them that you care and are willing to help. A warm smile and friendly greeting also go a long way! I am thankful there are many great opportunities for people with disabilities at Caterpillar. 

Joe in front of machine
Joe in front of machine

Eric: Determining your own path

Global CPF Special Accounts Manager, Cat Financial, Zurich, Switzerland 

Adversity in anyone’s life is a call to confront a challenge, regardless of the type or nature of adversity. One can either wither from that challenge and let it determine the direction of one’s life, or one can confront and overcome the challenge and determine one’s own path through life. With me having rheumatoid arthritis, I chose the latter, but to do so takes a support network of people willing to help and encourage you to rise to that challenge. I am involved in ADEPT because I believe raising awareness will help people understand that those with physical, mental or emotional challenges can contribute equally.  


Jennifer: Removing the Stigma from Mental Illness

Aftermarket Services Area Manager, Resource Industries, Arizona, USA 

My disability is a major depression and anxiety. After many years of hiding my disability and being afraid to share it, I joined ADEPT in the midst of the pandemic to bring my story forward to help others. I want to share how disabilities - even mental ones - often enhance character traits, such as resilience, which can ultimately benefit our careers and our entire lives. When I shared my story, my colleagues and leaders were very empathetic and supportive. We always say that we should ask R U Okay, but I am really encouraging everyone to do so, be empathetic and support removing the stigma from mental illness.


“We all bring a unique and valuable perspective to our positions at Caterpillar; diversity is imperative,” said Joe Creed, Group President of Energy & Transportation and Executive Sponsor of ADEPT. “Everyone deserves an equal chance to share their experiences and be part of an inclusive environment that allows them to succeed. ERGs like ADEPT are extremely important for our employees and allow everyone to play a part in helping support our customers, as well as each other. When we work together and bring our truest selves to the job, we achieve the greatest results.”    

ADEPT was founded ten years ago with the vision that Caterpillar is recognized as disability friendly by creating an inclusive experience for our employees, customers, suppliers and dealers. Our mission is to focus on full accessibility for our workplace, technology, services and products as well as improve awareness and knowledge on disability inclusion.