July 7, 2021
Shuai Li grew up in a city in the central province of Henan, China. Located a 2-day’s drive from China’s capital of Beijing, his hometown had very little infrastructure and Shuai had never seen Caterpillar equipment.
He first experienced Caterpillar at China University for Mining and Technology in Xuzhou, also the home of Caterpillar’s first plant in China. “When I first saw a Cat ® Hydraulic Excavator, it was huge,” he said, imagining the unlimited possibilities of the equipment. “I never saw anything more beautiful in my life,” he added.
While his first experience with Cat equipment was awe inspiring, his love of Caterpillar came on day one of his summer internship with the company. During a training session, a member of the Xuzhou Environmental Health & Safety team was expressing how the safety of Caterpillar employees is the company’s number one priority. “I had never heard [a commitment] like that before and I knew then this was the right place for me to work,” he said.
Today, Shuai is a Demand & Orders manager in the Earthmoving Division and firmly believes the most powerful learning experiences happen on the job when taking on a challenging assignment. He leverages these kinds of opportunities with his direct reports, because he credits a similar assignment being pivotal in his development.
After completing an 8-month long assignment as an analyst in Peoria, IL learning machine, engine and parts pricing, Shuai returned to China and was selected to establish a new pricing strategy for the newly acquired SEM brand. The high-profile project was both challenging and critically important to the brand strategy, and Shuai attributes the project as being key to his growth. The fundamental methods of this strategy are still used today for SEM pricing.
As a manager, Shuai understands there are risks of assigning challenging projects, but fully believes the risks are far outweighed by the rewards of employees developing expertise and a portfolio of skills through experience.
The irony of Shuai’s humble beginnings growing up in a town with little infrastructure to working for a company that builds a better world isn’t lost on him. He has been surrounded by growth opportunities professionally and personally throughout his 13-year career at Caterpillar. With new infrastructure in place, that 2-day car ride from his boyhood home to Beijing is now just a 5-hour trip via high-speed rail development – a project made possible with the help of Caterpillar equipment.
At Caterpillar, you can grow your skills through endless development opportunities. Are you ready to join the team that builds what matters?