Former CAT Employee Atterbury: "Peoria Will Survive... Caterpillar... I Don't Know"

Caterpillar’s decision to move its headquarters to Chicago may have a bigger impact on the company, than the City of Peoria.

WMBD/WYZZ talked with Rennie Atterbury, retired Caterpillar employee, about the Caterpillar culture in Peoria.

“We wanted the company to do well,” said Atterbury. “And we would do anything to make the company successful.”

Rennie Atterbury took on many positions at Caterpillar.

From general counsel, to vice president, to corporate secretary, he’s seen it all.

But Atterbury didn’t always work for Caterpillar.

He grew up on the east coast.

After graduating from law school, Atterbury decided to join a Wall Street law firm.

But it wasn’t exactly what he had in mind…

“I got a job on Wall Street and hated it,” said Atterbury. “I came out to Caterpillar, and love it ever since.”

Atterbury left Wall Street seeking somewhere that would allow him to have both a job, and a life – and that was Peoria.

“People they hired would come here and they all took a pay cut,” said Atterbury. “But living in Peoria, their wives could stay home with the children.”

And Atterbury said that’s what attracted people to the area.

“You’re able to be involved in your children’s lives,” said Atterbury. “You were able to coach Little League, you got home in time to do that, and that, I think, was important.”

For Caterpillar employees, Peoria was filled with hard-working people that would do anything to help their company prosper.

“The real secret behind the success of a business: aside from enjoying the work and the people, you knew the company was backing you,” said Atterbury. “And you knew that if you did well, the company would take you and promote you from within.”

With the company calling Peoria home, Atterbury had the chance to get to know head executives.

“If you take care of your people, they take care of you,” said Atterbury. “And they won’t go out and look for another job because they have loyalty to you.”

But with the global headquarters moving to the Chicago-area, Atterbury is discouraged for the future of Caterpillar.

“If I don’t know you, all I can manage by is numbers or you went to a nice school so you must be smart,” said Atterbury. “That doesn’t always translate to success.”

And when asked if Caterpillar will survive after the move…

“I don’t know,” said Atterbury. “I don’t know if it continues the way it’s going right now … I don’t know.”

But Atterbury does know one thing…

“Peoria… Peoria will do well… Peoria will survive,” said Atterbury.

Atterbury had so many fond memories of his time at Caterpillar and wishes nothing but success for the future of the company.


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