July 27, 2017
Two bright-eyed and inquisitive young professionals walked the halls of Caterpillar in early June. With Caterpillar badges clipped to their dresses, the girls walked hand-in-hand with their mom, learning what it really means to be a part of Team Caterpillar.
"I've always wanted to see where my mom works," said seven-year-old Kenley Graham.
As Kenley's mom, and long-time Caterpillar employee Amanda Graham, battles against an aggressive cancer prognosis, Amanda's co-workers in the Dealer Growth & Profitability (DGAP) team set out to make Kenley's dream come true.
"When we heard about Kenley's dream, the team sprang into action," said Andy Robertson, a DGAP team member. "In just a few short days, our global team made several personal donations that would end up funding a very memorable experience for the Graham girls."
The girls' day started with door-to-door limo service and a six-floor escalator ride to mom's desk. Decked out with a welcome sign and words of encouragement, the girls went on an office treasure hunt and met their mom's co-workers along the way. A tour of the Caterpillar television studio was also arranged for Kenley and her four-year-old sister Karly Graham. During the tour, video footage of their mom played in the background and the girls cackled because their mom was comparing ice cream to the options available on a piece of Caterpillar equipment.
The morning ended with an elevator ride to the seventh floor of the Administration Building in Peoria, Illinois and a very special interview.
"To participate in this experience was very important," said Rob Charter, Group President of Customer & Dealer Support. "While meetings are always constant, making memories for two very special girls was a once in a lifetime opportunity."
After sitting behind Rob's desk and talking tractors, the girls were joined by Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby. The group posed for a few snapshots and as they were getting ready to leave he gave each girl a business card and wished them luck on their professional careers.
As the girls pulled away from Caterpillar, they still had a full day of activities planned. The family was treated to lunch, followed by a visit to Build-a-Bear and finally some time to relax at the spa.
Later in the day, a DGAP team member received a text message. It was from Amanda. She just overheard her oldest say, "This was one of the best days of my life!"
Team Caterpillar couldn't agree more!