1990s

As the massive Three Gorges Dam in China was constructed with the help of Caterpillar machines in the 1990s, the company was busy behind-the-scenes working to support customers. Building off decades of innovation, expertise and focus on the customers, this decade built off the past and continued the company’s course of world-class industry leadership.

Our mining customers were introduced to the new Cat® 797, the world’s largest mechanical drive mining truck. And, in 1998, history was made at bauma Munich, a global trade fair for construction and mining, in Munich, Germany when we announced our new compact construction equipment line. The line included our first models of compact wheel loaders, mini excavators and a purpose-built complementary range of attachments. Another important addition in the ‘90s was Perkins Engines.  

Fun Fact: In 1992, the Cat® 992D Wheel Loader was the first rubber-tired loader to be introduced without a steering wheel. It became the first joysick-controlled machine.

1990 D.V. Fites is named Chairman of the Board.
1993 Around 300 Caterpillar machines help construct the Three Gorges Dam in China.
1994 Caterpillar machines work on the Kansai International Airport, Osaka, Japan.
1998 Caterpillar introduces the world’s largest mechanical drive mining truck – the 797.
1998 Caterpillar introduces a compact construction equipment product line.
1998 Caterpillar acquires Varity Perkins and changes the name to Perkins Engines Company Limited in England.
1999 G.A. Barton is named Chairman of the Board.

Meet the People

Betty Reed Betty Reed

Meet the Record-Breaker - Betty Reed

In 1992, Betty Reed celebrated 50 years at Solar Turbines. She got her start as a General Assembler, deburring cowlings, on November 13, 1942 – the same day as the company’s 15-year anniversary (known at the time as Prudden-San Diego Airplane Company).  

Betty would be a part of the Solar team for another 25 years, becoming the first employee to reach 60 years of company service and the longest-serving Solar team members in company history. She broke records and blazed trails in her personal life too – as a motorcycle racer and the first woman on record in California to complete Glider flights! 

Throughout her long career, Betty helped build countless turbines – working in stores, braze loading, silver brazing, alloy loading, assembly and spot tacking. Her favorite job? Braze loading – a job that required coating high temperature parts and blades with gold. She was issued 65 grams of gold a day to get the job done. Her way of working? Dedication, a vibrant smile and boundless energy.  

“I know what I do here is important, to the people, to other departments and to our customers. That’s why when I put my stamp on apart that goes through here I feel as if I’m personally guaranteeing that that part is everything that Solar says it is and will do the job that it’s supposed to do,” said Betty.  

Betty’s extraordinary career and positive attitude made a deep and lasting impact on Solar. 

Duane H. Livingston Duane H. Livingston

Meet the Groundbreaker - Duane H. Livingston

In 1994, Duane Livingston was named Caterpillar vice president with administrative responsibilities for Corporate Auditing & Compliance Division. He was a groundbreaker who opened the doors for others to come. His promotion made him the first African-American vice president at Caterpillar.

Livingston served in a variety of positions at facilities in East Peoria, Morton and Mossville, Illinois; Monterrey, Mexico; and Peoria, Illinois. 

Duane retired from Caterpillar in 2002. 

“Duane is leaving behind a far-reaching legacy that impacts many areas of the company. His career included assignments around the world,” said former Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Glen Barton. “[Duane’s] contributions include strengthening our internal control environment, creating increased opportunities for Caterpillar in emerging markets, and improving the cost effectiveness of our dealer distribution network. In recent years, his efforts have been instrumental in achieving corporate goals including growth, cost effectiveness and social responsibility.” 

Reflecting on his time, Duane said, “There’s no question that Caterpillar is a world leader in the products and services its people produce. But probably less well known is the company’s commitment to social responsibility. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work for a company that is helping to build a better world.”

Sherril West Sherril West

Meet the Visionary - Sherril West

Sherril West was Caterpillar’s first female vice president. Her 30-year career, which ended as head of the Technical Services Division and chief technology officer, she had administrative responsibility for the company's research and development activities. West also managed operations at the Technical Center in Mossville, Illinois, and the three company proving grounds.

West’s dynamic career began in 1974 when she joined the company as a test and evaluation technician. After 15 years in technical and engineering positions, she became a Warranty & Data Division manager. Her subsequent contributions came through leadership roles in Caterpillar Service Technology and Marketing Support Services.

In 1997, Sherril was selected as one of ten promising executives by Forbes magazine. The executives were chosen based on their dedication, leadership and achievements in their fields. 

"Sherril is a unique combination of technical knowledge and expertise, exhibits a warm and sincere interest in her people and their development, and demonstrates a feel and vision for the business that makes her one of Caterpillar's most admired and effective leaders," former Caterpillar Chairman Donald Fites said. 

She helped solidify Caterpillar's position as a technology leader, and as mentor, she inspired young people to consider careers in engineering and technology.

See the Artifacts

Cat D10 being hauled in the bucket of a Cat Off-Highway Truck. Cat D10 being hauled in the bucket of a Cat Off-Highway Truck.

HAULING A CAT D10

c. 1990 - Cat D10 being hauled in the bucket of a Cat Off-Highway Truck.

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