Companies Do Their Part — and More — for Community

Mon August 05, 2019 - National Edition #16
Katie Kohler – CEG CORRESPONDENT


Team Rubicon is a veteran-led disaster response organization with more than 100,000 volunteers — primarily veterans and first responders — who respond to natural disasters globally.
Team Rubicon is a veteran-led disaster response organization with more than 100,000 volunteers — primarily veterans and first responders — who respond to natural disasters globally.
Team Rubicon is a veteran-led disaster response organization with more than 100,000 volunteers — primarily veterans and first responders — who respond to natural disasters globally. When an EF3 tornado hit Columbus, Miss., in March 2019, debris blocked roads making it difficult for life saving personnel to navigate. The First Response Team of America and Caterpillar took action to clear the roads for ambulances, fire trucks, police and other disaster responders. Here a Cat BHL aided in the cleanup. In the recent Columbus, Miss., tornado, Thompson Machinery lent the First Response Team of America a 415F2 backhoe and a 249D CTL from its rental fleet. Caterpillar isn’t limiting its work to just planet Earth. The Deerfield, Ill.-based company was one of the sponsors of NASA’s Centennial Challenge — the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge. On display was a Cat HEX. Case Construction Equipment helps support the training in the safe use of heavy equipment which aides Team Rubicon’s work. It provides the volunteers — most often veterans — with skills they can use in their civilian work life. Team Rubicon was on the ground to help with the cleanup after Hurricane Harvey. In the fall of 2015, Case Construction Equipment began the development of a heavy equipment-training program that helped serve as a force multiplier to Team Rubicon’s work.

Some say there is nothing more satisfying than a job well done.

Many top construction equipment companies would agree but add a caveat — nothing is more satisfying than a job well done while also being able to make a positive impact on the community, and sometimes the world.

For some of the most respected names in construction equipment, charity, sustainability and a culture of caring is a deeply embedded core value.

(Editor's note: CEG will be spotlighting more companies and their charitable efforts in upcoming issues.)

Volvo Construction Equipment

Volvo Construction Equipment's approach to social responsibility is directly tied with its focus on sustainability.

Highlights of Volvo's commitment to sustainability include:

  • Volvo Group hosts the Construction Climate Challenge, where they invite stakeholders and decision makers from all areas and levels of the construction industry to unite around sustainability research and development.
  • Volvo's traffic safety campaign "Stop, Look, Wave" focuses on professional drivers, school children and local communities. The program promotes safety awareness for children in their immediate environment, with the help of specific training kits. More than 260,000 people under the age of 19 die in traffic accidents every year. Many of the accidents involve trucks and buses. In 2015, Volvo Trucks aimed to better the statistic by launching the campaign
  • As a signatory of the United Nations (UN) Global Compact, partner in the WWF Climate Savers program, and supporter of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Volvo considers global trends and challenges, international norms of responsible business behavior and stakeholder expectations when developing their work.

Volvo isn't just committed to environmental sustainability. It is serious about the future of the construction industry's workforce.

Volvo Group has made a commitment to support vocational training schools in Africa in collaboration with strategic partners and has established schools in Morocco, Zambia and Ethiopia.

Volvo Construction Equipment has a history of investing in programs that encourage youth to pursue careers in manufacturing and engineering. In the United States, it is involved in a partnership with SkillsUSA.

In 2018, Volvo celebrated the performance of its welding fabrication engineering intern, Natalie Rhoade. During the SkillsUSA 2018 Championship season, Rhoade, a 20-year-old student, was part of an all-female welding fabrication team from the Pennsylvania College of Technology. The team won gold at both district and state levels in Pennsylvania. At the national event in Louisville, Ky., Rhoades and her team ranked 7th out of 23 competitors from across the United States.

According to SkillsUSA Executive Director Timothy Lawrence, millions of new skilled trade workers will be needed by 2020. The lack of qualified employees and the skills gap is affecting companies' ability to implement new technologies and increase productivity.

"It's fantastic to have such talented and dedicated young professionals as Natalie launching their careers with Volvo CE, and we want to congratulate her and her team for their performance," said Gustavo Casagrandi, vice president of Shippensburg operations at Volvo CE. "We believe that supporting young talent will help benefit the entire construction equipment industry and we are happy to play any part we can in helping young people pursue a career in the manufacturing fields."

Caterpillar

The Caterpillar Foundation was launched in 1952 as a natural extension of the company's values and culture. Since its founding, the Caterpillar Foundation has contributed to helping improve the lives of people around the world.

As a company, Caterpillar works alongside its dealers and customers to build the societal infrastructure needed to make the world run. As a foundation, it focuses on the complementary human, natural and basic service infrastructure needed for individuals to thrive and communities to be resilient. To date, the Caterpillar Foundation has invested more than $740 million in organizations and programs all geared towards creating sustainable progress for all.

"The Caterpillar Foundation believes that no one organization or individual can solve global social challenges," said Caterpillar Foundation President Asha Varghese. "We focus on working together across sectors to build solutions in our communities. Together, Caterpillar and the Caterpillar Foundation are helping to build stronger individuals, stronger communities and stronger economies."

In 2018, Caterpillar was named one of America's Most JUST Companies, according to Forbes and JUST Capital, a nonprofit that ranks the largest publicly-traded corporations in the United States on the issues Americans care about most. Caterpillar earned its spot on the list by outperforming its peers on key issues such as fair pay and good benefits, customer treatment and privacy, beneficial products, environmental impact, job creation, community support in the United States and abroad, and ethical leadership and long-term financial growth.

Caterpillar isn't limiting its good work to just planet Earth. The Deerfield, Ill.-based company was one of the sponsors of NASA's Centennial Challenge — the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge. The competition was created to entice America's most talented to come up with innovative ways to design and print a habitat that could be used for deep space exploration, including the agency's journey to Mars and beyond. The multi-phase competition was geared to advance the construction technology needed to create sustainable housing solutions for Earth and beyond.

"Knowing the improvement in technology we've seen in our work with NASA, we're excited for what this competition could mean for our customers," said Excavation Machine Design Department Director Justin Speichinger. "3D printing is a disruptive, transformational technology that can significantly affect the productivity capability of the construction industry."

Caterpillar's purpose statement is, "our solutions help our customers build a better world." When disaster strikes, it takes action to rebuild a better world.

When an EF3 tornado hit Columbus, Miss., in March 2019, debris blocked roads making it difficult for life saving personnel to navigate. The First Response Team of America and Caterpillar took action to clear the roads for ambulances, fire trucks, police and other disaster responders.

Caterpillar and its dealers have supported the First Response Team of America for years, which has included heavy equipment donations. The Caterpillar Foundation also has provided funding to the organization in past years. In the recent Columbus tornado, Thompson Machinery lent FRTA a 415F2 backhoe and a 249D CTL from its rental fleet.

"Communities can count on us because we can count on dealerships like Thompson Machinery and Caterpillar equipment," said Tad Agoglia, FRTA founder and longtime Caterpillar customer. "It's in times like these, when so much has gone wrong, that communities are looking for things they can depend on. That's when we come in with the right equipment to clear the path for recovery, so people can have hope again. We can't solve all the problems caused by a storm, but we can make a contribution."

Caterpillar and FRTA have been a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Best Partnership Finalist.

"The FRTA crew can be on the road for 10 months of the year, responding all over the country at no cost to the local community," said the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation summary of the partnership. "They never know exactly what equipment will be needed, but they can depend on local Caterpillar dealers to provide the equipment for the task at hand."

The Caterpillar Foundation also supports disaster relief efforts through the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program. The program provides a funding base that allows the Red Cross to respond immediately to the needs of individuals and families impacted by global disasters.

Case Construction Equipment

Team Rubicon is a veteran-led disaster response organization with more than 100,000 volunteers — primarily veterans and first responders — who respond to natural disasters globally. In the fall of 2015, Case Construction Equipment began the development of a heavy equipment-training program that helped serve as a force multiplier to Team Rubicon's work. Communities are extremely vulnerable after hurricanes and tornadoes. Team Rubicon assists the effected communities in the cleanup of debris, structure demolition, and rebuilding.

"We have focused extensively on community building when it comes to our work with charitable and non-profit organizations, and we've done that in a number of ways — one of the most rewarding is our work and relationship with Team Rubicon," said Debbie Townsley, director of marketing, North America, Case Construction Equipment

"[Team Rubicon] provides peace of mind that the greater community cares about what they are going through," said Townsley. "Through this partnership, we've been able to affect great change in numerous communities throughout North America."

Case Construction Equipment helps support the training in the safe use of heavy equipment which aides Team Rubicon's work. It provides the volunteers — most often veterans — with skills they can use in their civilian work life.

"The work ethic, commitment and dedication that veterans show as public servants works extremely well within the construction workforce," added Townsley.

Case Construction Equipment recognizes that one of the greatest threats to the construction industry is the shortage of skilled technicians who can troubleshoot and repair diesel engine technology in heavy off-road earthmoving equipment.

In June 2019, Case Construction Equipment donated a 521F wheel loader and CX17C mini-excavator to Pittsburg State University's diesel and heavy equipment bachelor's of applied sciences program. With the donated equipment, students can train for careers such as off-road diesel engine technicians and engineers.

"These are great careers that pay well, and yet generations of kids now have forgone work in this field in favor of going to four-year colleges to pursue more white collar professions," said Townsley. "We as an industry need to be champions of the schools and training outlets that will feed the demand for diesel engine technicians and heavy equipment engineers for years to come. If we don't, we'll continue to see labor shortages that will have massive, long-term effects to the success and viability of contractors, equipment dealers and manufacturers alike."