The Telex sent to Caterpillar Vice President Delmar Lammers was three simple words: “SEND PIPELAYER EXPERTS.”
Since trade doors with China reopened in 1972, Lammers and his team had been meeting frequently with Chinese governmental officials in Canada to discuss Caterpillar products, parts and services.
After receiving the Telex from these officials, Lammers and his team traveled to Peking (now Beijing), China. For two weeks, they engaged in extensive product presentations and long discussions about prices and contracts. During the third and final week of their trip, they negotiated an order with the China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (Machimpex) and closed a $3.8 million deal for 38 pipelayers and replacement parts. Vice President Lammers signed the order on behalf of Caterpillar.
“We were the first Caterpillar employees to visit China in 23 years,” said Lammers in a recent interview. “I was real satisfied with the order then, and it is a great accomplishment that Caterpillar has so much machinery going into China today.”
A great accomplishment, indeed. During the last 40 years, Caterpillar’s business in China – the world’s largest construction equipment market – has greatly expanded. Now, there about 13,000 Caterpillar employees in China, and the company has 29 facilities, four research and development centers and three logistics centers in the country.
During a celebration of Caterpillar’s 40th year in China, Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman spoke about what has made Caterpillar successful in China. “It’s pure and simple: our people. From the people that opened Xuzhou [Caterpillar’s first facility in China] in the early nineties, to Delmar Lammers and the half a dozen people who came here under secrecy in 1975, to every one of you who is doing something today to make our company better.”
Lammers recently gave the gold pen he used to sign the 1975 contract to Caterpillar’s Corporate Heritage Services. The gold pen is currently on display at the Caterpillar Visitors Center in the 90 Reasons for 90 Years display. To see other artifacts featured in the display, visit caterpillar.com/90reasons.
You can help us tell Caterpillar's story to future generations. Email Corporate Heritage Services at Archives@cat.com to learn how you can donate items to help preserve our company’s history.