Q&A with Finance Services VP Joe Creed

April 11, 2018

Joe Creed, Caterpillar vice president of Finance Services Division (FSD), joins the Caterpillar Podcast to choose “this or that,” and talk about profitable growth. Check out the highlights in the following Q&A and listen to the whole episode below.

Joe, you're a vice president at Caterpillar right now, but tell us a bit about your background and your 20 years at the company.

I'm a central Illinois guy and I went to school at Western Illinois University; I went straight to Caterpillar. I graduated with an accounting degree, passed the CPA exam and started in Finance Services Division. It's been a great career – 20 years, spending about half my time in corporate roles and the other half of my career mainly in the engine business. I love all our products, but I'm an engine guy at heart.

Caterpillar's purpose statement is: "Our solutions help our customers build a better world." How does the purpose statement influence the way you make your decisions and interact with others?

It's a privilege and honor to drive down the highway or travel to any corner of the world and see our equipment, whether it be gensets or machines or turbines. It's used by our customers to improve people’s standard of living. It's a great thing to get behind and inspire yourself to do. 

Some of our employees are far removed from the actual iron and the customers – but when we do our jobs really well, we take things off the plate of the business units, which allows them to focus on the things they need to do to help the customer. If you follow the chain, we all get back to this purpose statement.

In the center of Caterpillar's refreshed strategy is profitable growth, which is surrounded by how we make that happen. How are we pursuing profitable growth?

Simple – make our customer more successful with our equipment than they can be with anyone else's. Our customers want the same convenience that they get in their personal life. That's the heart of it. But beyond that, expanded offerings is a good example, with things like the new GC line of machines. It includes expanding into adjacent spaces and being more solutions-based in the Energy & Transportation side, as one example.

We all can find ourselves in the strategy. In FSD, we're a service organization that runs the corporate functions, but operational excellence is very important to us. We have to be very cost-effective at what we do and we have to provide terrific services to the businesses so they can focus on designing and selling superior solutions. 

Talk about what you're trying to build as far as relationships between disabled people and Caterpillar employees via your sponsorship of the employee resource group, Abled and Disabled Employees Partnering Together (ADEPT).

We're trying to make sure we have an environment that's inclusive for people that have disabilities to be able to come here and enjoy a successful career at Caterpillar. A lot of what you find is there's just discomfort on the part of peers, employees or supervisors about what's appropriate and how to approach this type of situation. 

Having that inclusive environment is good for us, good for business and good for our employees.


Listen to the podcast to hear more from Joe Creed. Show highlights are listed in the program guide below.

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Program Guide:

  • 1:35 - Starting at Caterpillar as an accountant, opportunities in corporate roles and engine divisions
  • 3:45 - Change is tough - the pace of change and how Caterpillar is responding
  • 6:10 - Community involvement, including Easterseals and how Joe's daughter receives special services there
  • 9:00 - On his sponsorship of the Abled and Disabled Employees Partnering Together (ADEPT) employee resource group
  • 11:40 - The value of reverse mentoring.  Plus, Joe picks any job for one day...turning the tables on our host!
  • 15:10 - THIS OR THAT SEGMENT - Joe takes rapid-fire questions where he chooses "this" or "that"
  • 17:10 - On Caterpillar's strategy refresh and role of service organizations, like Finance Services Division, within Caterpillar in driving profitable growth.
  • 19:30 - What we're doing differently to make profitable growth happen; connecting to our purpose statement
  • 23:45 - How Joe's father - the high school principle - taught him an important lesson about values and leadership...by suspending him!

Listen to other episodes of The Caterpillar Podcast