From Poverty to President: An Unlikely Success Story

January 15, 2020

Claude Heacock may not be a name many people recognize. But his influence and vision is still felt today at Caterpillar. So how did this Kansas native – who grew up in abject poverty and with no formal education – overcome huge obstacles to become company president in 1930, leading Caterpillar through some of its most historically-significant developments? 

Corporate Archivist Lee Fosburgh digs into history with Rusty Dunn to tell the untold story of B.C. “Claude” Heacock, a man – who as you will see in this video – more than lived up to his nickname as the “colorful accountant.”

From the Vault

Each week we open our vault to share stories of our people and products over the last 90+ years.

Learn More


It’s not often that you can mention the likes of Charles Lindbergh, John Wayne, a famous Russian Czar or a motorcycle daredevil by the name of Evel Knievel in the same conversation.

Full Story