April 28, 2016
The creativity and skill of current and former East Peoria team members was on display once again as hundreds gathered on Wednesday night, March 16, 2016, to celebrate the retirement of Resource Industries Group President Ed Rapp.
Ed announced late last year that he would retire in early 2016 after being diagnosed with ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
At Ed’s retirement celebration, current Resource Industries Group President Denise Johnson explained how Ed’s dynamic personality leaves a lasting effect on those he meets.
"Ed is loved by employees worldwide. He has the ability to connect with people and show he really cares,” Denise said.
Ed was the Executive Office sponsor for our Production Employee Engagement global initiative and one of the engagement initiatives from our East Peoria team from 2015 was the challenge to use scrap material to create industrial sculptures.
“They made some amazing pieces as part of that initiative,” Denise said. “So, when the team learned Ed was leaving, they wanted to pay special tribute to him from the worldwide production team. And “special” does not even begin to express the work they have done.”
"It was a privilege and honor to be part of this team,” said Cori Harkness, a former East Peoria welder and current parts illustrator.
“I’ve never worked with a group of people that are as engaged as these guys were about doing this for him,” said Section Manager Andrew Schafer. “That says a lot about him.”
This team created a Life Sculpture especially for Ed. It highlights and captures the essence of Ed Rapp and his passion for Work Life Balance.
The base started as a common pallet and was transformed, using special steel sheeting, into what could stand alone as art. One of the team members came up with the idea to flash rust the platform. This process uses extreme heat and saltwater to create instant rust. Surrounding the base are twelve products from Caterpillar’s product line laser cut from stainless steel plate.
The base represents the foundation on which lay the building blocks of a strong family and successful career.
The Bucket and the Blade
The blade is a 1979 D7 replica, signifying the year Ed hired on at Caterpillar. The blade and the bucket were both fabricated entirely from scrap metal. The blade was then painted Caterpillar yellow and signed by the entire team. It also includes a personal quote from Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman for his dear friend and colleague.
The bucket represents Construction Industries and the blade represents Resource Industries; the two divisions in which Ed served as Group President.
The tree is made up of square two inch steel tube fabricated into multi-colored boxes along with a few artistically placed scrap clutch plates. Ed is known for his quotes or “Ed-isms”. Four of these meaningful quotes were provided by Ed's son and placed in various locations on the tree.
The tree represents the balance in all aspects of Ed’s life which allowed him to achieve great success in both his personal and professional life.
The aluminum globe is the most intricate part of the sculpture. It was cut on a water jet, snapped together like a puzzle and then welded together.
Both sides of the globe display images of Caterpillar service pins. One side is a current service pin while the other side is what a pin would have looked like 37 years ago, when Ed started at Caterpillar.
The blades around the globe represent mining and replicate an underground cutting wheel.
The globe includes Ed’s family vision along with his favorite hobbies, some of his work history, the university he attended and his home town.
The entire sculpture is coated with clear coat to allow it to withstand the elements for years to come.
The sculpture is currently on display at the Caterpillar Visitors Center before being moved to Ed’s new home.