Editor's note: The Herald & Review each day is listing a reason the Decatur region is loved. We're profiling people, places and history that are special to our region — and that make it a great place to live. See more here.
Few industries move the earth the way Caterpillar Inc. does. For more than 60 years, Decatur has been part of that push.
With the giant off-road dump trucks made at its Decatur facility, Peoria-based Caterpillar is a big part of the area's economy and jobs market and a barometer of the world's economic health.
A sculpture sits at 22nd Street and Pershing road to showcase Caterpillar's historic ties to Decatur. It contains parts of each product that has been manufactured at the Caterpillar Inc. facility in Decatur, ranging from motor graders to large mining trucks, said Martin Mooney, the company's facilities engineering and maintenance manager, when it was unveiled in 2016.
The “DECATUR” lettering on the base is painted in circa 1955 Caterpillar Tractor Co. yellow to symbolize the year the plant opened in Decatur, said Sam Wilcoxen, the tool room and tool design group manager.
When Caterpillar earlier this year announced it would be moving 500 jobs to its Decatur facility for large wheel loaders and compactor production, it was welcome news.
The move was a testament to the quality of employees already in Decatur and a sign that the city can supply the needed additional workers, said Ryan McCrady, president of the Economic Development Corp. of Decatur and Macon County.
“Decatur's a great place and we'll welcome them, and welcome the opportunity to help Caterpillar,” he said in April after the announcement.
As CAT says on its website: "The history of Caterpillar is all about doing: creating, building, problem solving, innovating, testing, servicing and improving."