The crowd begins to grow.
And by sea it came to Peaks. But the quaint and usually quiet Casco Bay, Maine island was ready. Hundreds of visitors had gathered to celebrate the surprise victory of one of their own in the hotly contested 2011 Caterpillar “Win a Cat Truck” contest. Aboard a decorated, water-gun saluted barge (courtesy of the Portland Fire Department), the grand prize, a brand new Cat CT660 vocational truck, arrived in Peaks June 13. There were cheers at the LPA Marine landing when it slowly rolled down the ramps and set wheel ashore.
According to Caterpillar sources, the contest had been open and the public was asked to help choose the best, most deserving business case among more than 300 entries explaining why and how each company would put the new Cat truck to work. When results were tallied, from a grand total of 50,000 votes, 3,000 were from customers, friends and fans of local company LPA Marine, making it a clear winner.
“We were very excited when we heard the news because for us it has a lot of meaning,” commented Chris Milton, president of Northeast Caterpillar dealer Milton CAT. “LPA represents the type of business that’s at the core of our regional economy; family-owned companies that build their reputation one day at a time, one job at a time, delivering their very best to their customers through thick and thin; every single member of my team is proud to play a role supporting them.”
More than 50 employees from the Milton CAT Scarborough, Maine, location accompanied the truck on the barge when it crossed the bay to its new owner.
Handing the keys to the truck to LPA’s Vice President Coley Mulkern, George Taylor, director of Caterpillar’s global on-highway truck group reminded the enthusiastic audience that the contest had been a tough one.
“The large number of entries made it very competitive, but in addition, the level was impressive, detailing business operation, challenges, goals and plans; definitely not an easy win.”
According to Taylor, Mulkern’ s explanation of the challenges faced by his family’s island transport and construction business painted a complex picture where reliability was key. All materials used on the islands — drainage stone, seawall rip-rap, road gravel, winter sand and salt, waste-water drainage sand, topsoil, and landscaping material — need to be imported from the mainland.
“The Mulkerns reminded us that a truck needs to be tough enough to carry those heavy loads, and also able to negotiate the rough landings, steep angles and rugged travelways that barging to the islands entails, as well as meeting all DOT regulations to run on mainland highways,” said Taylor.
“And most of all, an island transport truck needs to be dependable so as not to have expensive failures in remote locations, since a lot of people, businesses and families, depend on their work.”
But what people really wanted to hear were Coley Mulkern’s words, and they were short and simple.
“This is a win for Maine,” said Mulkern, “for a way of working, of coming together, and getting things done.”