Family Generations Connect at Caterpillar

October 17, 2023

If “family” describes a group of descendants from common ancestors, “work family” can refer to people who work together regularly. Occasionally, those two groups overlap. At Caterpillar, it’s not uncommon to meet employees who represent the second or third generation of the same family. And why not? People who love their jobs often recommend their employer as a great place to work – even after they’ve retired.

Such is the story of George (Tom) Hunt, born and raised in Lauderdale County, Alabama.

Tom’s Caterpillar journey began as a fascination with massive yellow construction equipment used to build rural roads around his family’s three-room house in the late 1930s – and eventually turned into a lifetime vocation and family legacy. 

As a young boy, Tom watched with wonder when a paving crew and Cat® equipment made its way through the Alabama countryside and his homeland – laying new gravel roads in its wake. After sunset, when the workers had retired, Tom would climb aboard the enormous machines and let his imagination run. The machines bore black letters painted on yellow iron, “Peoria, Illinois,” a place Tom had not before heard of but never forgot.

A few years later, Tom married his sweetheart and was looking for a steady income to support his growing family. His attention was drawn to a printed flyer offering good Caterpillar jobs to those willing to relocate to Peoria, Illinois. The rest, as they say, is history. Tom retired in 1985 after a 30+ year Caterpillar career where he loved working as an engine quality engineer. 

Years later, Tom’s nephew and Cat Digital Support Engineer Jeff Sharp followed a path that closely mirrors his late uncle’s – Jeff joined Caterpillar in 2007, after retiring from a 24-year career in the United States Navy. Although the two men were generations apart and never worked at Caterpillar during the same time, they shared pride in their workplace and common history. Over coffee, they frequently spent hours sharing stories of their respective careers.

It’s true that every single Caterpillar employee like Tom Hunt moves the company forward – piece by piece, part by part, and person by person. No matter what their role is and no matter how long they stay at Caterpillar, each employee contributes to the culture and builds a legacy that will last. 


Tom Hunt in 1950 at 19 years old.


Caterpillar Thirty-five Tractor and Thirty-Five Leaning Wheel Grader cutting ditches on county roads in northern Alabama in 1932.


Caterpillar’s East Peoria plant in 1955.

Young man in sailor outfit circa 1950
Man on Cat construction equipment cutting ditches in 1932
East Peoria, IL Caterpillar manufacturing facility façade