Caterpillar celebrates 10th anniversary, 500,000th engine

Sunday, November 22, 2020

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Dalondo Moultrie The Seguin Gazette

As production continues through the pandemic, a local manufacturing plant continues to gear up for celebrations commemorating a pair of milestones.

After recently reaching its 10th anniversary of building engines in Seguin, Caterpillar is preparing for the 500,000th engine to roll off the local assembly line. Section Manager Ascencio Luna Jr., a Seguin native, said the accomplishments make his heart swell for the good that is done in his hometown.

“You think of half a million — 500,000 — that’s a lot of engines,” Luna said. “When you see it day to day, you don’t see that big number; but after all the years we’ve been running and seeing … everything that we’ve powered and helped support, it’s amazing that it’s 500,000 already.”

Caterpillar Inc. boasts itself to be the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives with 2019 sales and revenues of $53.8 billion.

October marked the official 10-year anniversary of Caterpillar in Seguin. The local plant primarily builds diesel engines and generator sets, said Mark Stratton, general manager for industrial large engines.

The plant is remarkably close — though managers won’t reveal exactly how close — to surpassing the 500,000 mark in engines built here.

Since joining the Seguin community, the company has contributed $2 million through the Caterpillar Foundation to Seguin and its surrounding communities, he said. As the plant and its workforce have grown, Seguin has become home to Caterpillar, Stratton said.

“It’s been a really great partnership with us and the local community and the workforce here,” he said. “It’s part of the core values of Caterpillar. It’s something that’s critical for all of us and kind of ingrained in our corporate culture.”

Caterpillar tries to become an integral part of the communities in which its leadership, employees and team members live, work and serve, Stratton said. The company focuses on more than just giving money. Committing time to local areas and organizations also are important, Stratton said.

“The employees in our facilities, we support them,” he said. “There’s a committee for community social responsibility. We have a CSR committee made up of employees from all ranks of our organization. They live here, they work here, they help us set priorities and they help organize their coworkers around support of these local events.”

As part of the community, Caterpillar has been affected by and seen its neighbors battle the novel coronavirus. Employees have pitched in to help Seguinites, Guadalupe County residents and others.

One initiative involved the corporate neighbor hosting a food distribution event in partnership with the New Braunfels Food Bank. Volunteers from the community, members of the national guard and others banded together to pass out boxes of food for people who were struck by the pandemic and in need, Stratton said.

“That was a huge event for us,” he said. “That’s a great example of where the needs of the community are, things that give us a chance to further get involved.”

Luna and other members of the community, his community, feel the love. The Seguin resident has watched over the past decade as Caterpillar settled into the old neighborhood where he went to middle school and drew strength from the area and the people.

It has solidified his confidence in the choice Luna made nine years ago to join the team, he said.

“I like to think just working there is like family away from home,” Luna said. “You become work family. You take care of each other and make sure everyone’s looking after one another, especially safety.”

Remaining safe is a major priority, he said. No one wants to see members of their family hurt. That hurt goes beyond physical pain and Caterpillar continues to help meet needs of its community, Luna said.

“We’re all in this together, trying to complete the task at hand, building quality engines and sending them all around the world,” he said. “I think Caterpillar is doing very well by playing that active role and helping out where needed.”

Dalondo Moultrie is the assistant managing editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at dalondo.moultrie@seguingazette.com

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Category: Newsletter, news, Manufacturing

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