LeAnne K. Timmerman – Moritz
I made the decision to attend ICC immediately following high school. In fact, I was so excited to get started that I began summer classes within two weeks after graduation. That decision was made 27 years ago, and now my own children will soon be making their own college choices. Back then, I was looking for a smooth transition from a small high school (Minonk-Dana-Rutland) to college life. ICC was the right choice for me.
I met new friends and got to know my teachers and program counselor, Clara Carroll. I took classes that I enjoyed and developed analysis and critical thinking skills. I got a job on campus working in the ICC marketing department and experienced first-hand the role that ICC served for the community and how it served the student body. I moved out of my parents’ home and got an apartment. In May 1989, I graduated with an associate degree in applied science. Could it get any better? Three days later, it did. Caterpillar called and offered me a temporary position in the office, and I took it.
For the next two months, I worked in the office at Caterpillar in temporary roles wherever there was work to be done. I got married during this time. In August 1989, I started my first full time position at Caterpillar. I thought I would work awhile, save some money to return to school, and eventually finish a bachelor’s degree. Nearly 25 years have now gone by, and I’m still working at Caterpillar. I finished that bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois Springfield in 1993 and have since completed graduate work at Bradley University and Stanford University Graduate School of Business. It was hard work in those early days to be employed full time and go to school two or three nights a week and also weekends, but it was worth every ounce of effort. The encouragement received from co-workers at Caterpillar to continue my education was especially noteworthy.
My career at Caterpillar has been amazing journey. The first four years were filled with exciting entry level jobs in HR and Legal Services. I learned new skills and gained valuable experience. My network grew. I was able to continue my education through evening and weekend classes. My first HR manager position came in my fifth year with the company. It was an entry level management role in a new facility. The mountain of work to be done kept me too busy for any reflections. Now, though, I realize how critical that assignment was, as I gained fundamental HR skills that I have used throughout my career. I have been fortunate to receive promotional opportunities and roles in various locations throughout the country. I thrived on taking the toughest jobs. I’ve been given the privilege to be a leader at Caterpillar, and I enjoy working with the people on my team to give them challenging work that is rewarding and develops them for their future.
One of my most memorable assignments took me out of the HR field to a remanufacturing facility in Mississippi. It was a developmental role to experience life in the operations world. It was that and so much more. I learned about reverse logistics, supply chain, manufacturing, and marketing. I learned about living in the Deep South. I learned from the amazing local people about what’s really important in life. After a few years, I returned to the HR field to take on various senior roles. The experiences gained along the way continue to be applied in my work today. In my work, I started traveling the world on a regular basis. My HR and operations work at Caterpillar have taken me to the United Kingdom, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, France, India, Germany, Mexico, Singapore, and many amazing places in the U.S.
As I look back on the past 27 years, I realize that education and career are more of a marathon than a sprint. Take some time for reflection along the way.