PODCAST: Life Lessons Under the Hood of a Car

Growing up in New Mexico, Tom's family didn't ever have the newest car or the coolest ride. This led to hours with his father in the grease pit, working on cars. In many ways, what Tom has learned about career and leadership success all started with pistons and crankshafts.

"I grew up working on cars, and I did it beside my father. So I can remember going back to sixth or seventh grade I always wanted to be a mechanical engineer."

Tom's interest in mechanics led to a career as an engineer, but that career shifted to sales and marketing positions as time progressed. 

"If you find someone that's talking a lot, they're probably not going to be a good salesperson or product support person because listening is so important."

Considering global energy demand and economics, Tom sees how the world will balance renewable energy options with the need to use oil and other fossil fuels to get energy to those without it.

"The energy supply side will vary over the coming years, and we've got over a billion people that still don't have access to electricity."

Show highlights are listed in the program guide below.

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Program guide:

  • 1:30 - Tom's upbringing in New Mexico, and working on cars with his dad
  • 6:10 - Lessons learned in sales and marketing at Solar Turbines: "If you find someone who is talking a lot, they're probably not going to be a very good salesperson"
  • 9:10 - On leadership, Tom talks about coaching for growth, timely correction and not "managing by embarrassment"
  • 11:07 - Some difficult experiences of some of Tom's closest friends - including lessons learned from Enron - helped develop his passion for winning the right way
  • 15:12 - Tom talks about career growth and the three-legged stool that Tom views as the driver for success in your career
  • 18:20 - On Caterpillar's new purpose statement and the work we do: "It's about moving the world forward and making peoples' lives better"
  • 22:00 - What makes the Energy and Transportation segment unique, including many brands and alternate distribution methods
  • 24:35 - Global energy demands and growing world population directly impact the Energy & Transportation segment: "The world is going to need an all-in energy strategy"