On Friday, November 22, Charlie Pittman, a 95-year-old Caterpillar employee, was joined by his fellow employees, family members and longtime friends to receive his 65-year service pin—the first individual to accomplish such a feat in company history.
Pittman, currently a maintenance mechanic, received his 65-year pin from Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman during a ceremony to celebrate Pittman's milestone.
Pittman began work for Caterpillar as a hand trucker in 1948, earning $1.19 an hour on second shift. During that year, C.L. Best, Caterpillar's first chairman, was in position and the current Peoria Proving Grounds (PPG) opened.
Before coming to Caterpillar, Pittman was working as a mechanic in Missouri and owned his own business. World War II was still lingering on when suddenly, like many others, Pittman was drafted into the war. He closed his business and was ready to go into the service when his fate took an unexpected path; the war ended and Pittman was left with no job and no plans for the future.
Realizing that he had no ties in Missouri, Pittman decided to head north. On the way, however, he decided to visit a friend of his who was working in East Peoria, Ill. During the visit, his friend filled out a job application for him without him knowing. Pittman agreed to give the job a try, and started work in November of 1948.
Throughout his 65-year career, Pittman built up a 145-page history folder, notably being qualified for over 50 jobs at one point in his career. Remarkably, a supervisor in the 70s noted in Pittman's history folder that he was considering retirement. Pittman's decision to continue working six decades later corresponds with a common theme that many of his coworkers see every day—he takes countless pride in his work.
Before presenting Pittman with his pin, Oberhelman closed the celebration with congratulatory remarks.
"I suspect you take a great deal of pride in your work, you care a lot about your fellow coworkers, I suspect you care a lot about Caterpillar, and that's what has kept you going for 65 years," Oberhelman said. "I want to thank you for a tremendous career with us."