by Long Hwa-shu
Caterpillar Inc., the world’s leading heavy equipment maker known worldwide for its yellow earthmovers and bulldozers, said it will move its corporate headquarters from Peoria to Deerfield, pointing to its proximity to O’Hare International Airport and access to Chicago Metra.
The company said it has signed a multi-year lease with Corporate 500 Office Park for a building formerly occupied by Beam Suntory, maker of premium liquor, which will move its corporate offices to the Merchandise Mart in Chicago where Caterpillar maintains an office for its digital and analytics department.
Caterpillar joins several other well-known national and international companies which enjoy the amenities and ease of access to transportation that Deerfield has offer.” – Deerfield Mayor Harriet Rosenthal
Initially, the move by Caterpillar will involve about 100 employees who will relocate there later this year. About 300 more will move in the new headquarters in mid-2018.
“Following a thorough site selection process, we chose this location because it is approximately a 20-minute drive to O’Hare airport and convenient to Chicago via commuter train, achieving our goal to be more accessible to our global customers, dealers and employees,” said Donald James Umpleby, Caterpillar chief executive officer. Umpledby, who is affectionately called “Jim,” started as CEO in January.
Caterpillar, a publicly-traded company which posted $38.5 billion in sales last year, makes construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. It traced its roots in Peoria in 1904 as a maker of farm equipment.
The new corporate headquarters “gives our employees many options to live in either an urban or suburban environment,” Umpleby pointed out.
“We know we have to compete for the best talent to grow our company, and this location will appeal to our diverse, global team, today and in the future,” he added.
Deerfield Mayor Harriet Rosenthal, in welcoming the company, said, “Caterpillar joins several other well-known national and international companies which enjoy the amenities and ease of access to transportation that Deerfield has offer.”
The vast majority of the company’s employees will remain in Peoria. Caterpillar employs 12,000 people in central Illinois. Caterpillar opened its Digital & Analysis Hub at the Merchandise Mart last year.
Lake County Board chairman Aaron Lawlor called Caterpillar’s decision to move its headquarters to the county “demonstrates that our innovative plan to grow jobs and run local economy is working.”
Lake County, he said, “has made it our mission to invest in our people and develop the talent pipelines that our employers need.”