Kim Hauer Named Chief Human Resources Officer of the Year

May 4, 2016

At Caterpillar, we say that progress begins with a road. 

For Kim Hauer, she needed a car before she could even think about getting on the road. 

It was 1997 and Kim was an intern at Caterpillar’s Lafayette, Indiana facility. Like most soon-to-be college grads, she was looking for a fulltime job and landed an interview for our HR Professional Development Program. 

The interview was set to be at Caterpillar’s global headquarters in Peoria, Illinois. Her boss at time, Tom, wasn’t exactly confident her old Ford Tempo could make the 144-mile drive to Peoria – so he got her a rental car on his own dime.  

“I think of that to this day – how he believed in me and believed in my potential,” Kim recalls. 

Needless to say, Kim made it to Peoria and landed the job. That was just the beginning, and she went on to roles in communications, labor relations, succession planning and compensation and benefits before becoming a group & regional HR director. She worked in different locations around the world, like Belgium and Switzerland. 

Externally, Kim represents Caterpillar professionally through membership on boards for the HR Policy Association and the American Health Policy Institute, and she recently helped form the U.S. Health Transformation Alliance (HTA). Her passion for supporting social and environmental challenges like the local Red Cross and Children’s Home Association earned her this year’s Nova Award for community service.

Now, after being a vice president and Caterpillar’s Chief Human Resources Officer for the last five years, Kim was honored by HRO Today Magazine as Chief Human Resources Officer of the Year in the lifetime achievement category. She was nominated along with other HR executives from Tyco, Vail Resorts, Zurich and Aflac. 

“Receiving this award is truly an honor, but winning this is really a reflection of Caterpillar’s amazing HR professionals across the enterprise. It’s the work each of you are doing, every day, despite the challenges we have been faced with in the last year, that’s making a difference for our people – and that’s why we are receiving this honor. Thank you,” says Kim. 

During Kim’s tenure as vice president and CHRO, she’s focused on continually improving how HR and its processes can best support our people, and has led key people-focused initiatives on leadership development, succession planning, engagement, healthcare and talent attraction and retention. 

And to think her career started with a little help to get down the road.