U.S. President George W. Bush visited the Caterpillar manufacturing facility in East Peoria, Ill., Jan. 30. He toured the production facility, spoke to workers and called Caterpillar one of the great American companies.
During the visit, the President highlighted free trade agreements put in place during his administration, which have benefited companies like Caterpillar. Bush commended the company for successfully demonstrating that U.S. companies can successfully compete on the world stage.
“The U.S. and global economy have benefited from the President’s pro-growth tax and free trade policies, which have stimulated strong economic growth,” Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Jim Owens said while introducing the President said.
“I thank Team Caterpillar for representing the competitive American spirit and positioning our company to take advantage of the opportunity created.”
The machines and products made in East Peoria and at Caterpillar facilities across the United States are shipped throughout the world. As a result, Caterpillar exported more than $10 billion in products from the United States in 2006, a record for the company.
Bush also recognized worker training programs, safe workplaces and competitive health care benefits that make up the culture of excellence and accomplishment at Caterpillar.
“Today’s presidential visit was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our employees,” said Bob Williams, the Caterpillar vice president who leads the company’s U.S. Operations Division with responsibility for three of the company’s largest manufacturing operations, which are located in Illinois.
“Many of our employees got to meet the President, and he in turn praised them for their hard work building Caterpillar’s signature product: the track-type tractor. These machines are the workhorse of the world’s greatest construction projects. They are a strong export product for our company and represent American manufacturing at its best.”
Bush talked about how communities like Peoria contribute to the strength of the American economy. The President said he was impressed with the quality of Cat machines that are in demand all over the globe but even more impressed with the American workers who build them.