Caterpillar Inc. Supplier Symposium Reaches 75 Companies

The Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) and Congressman Adam Kinzinger welcomed Caterpillar Inc. to Rockford to foster connections with 75 northern Illinois companies at a supplier symposium held at the Chicago Rockford International Airport.

Congressman Kinzinger addresses attendees during the Caterpillar Inc supplier symposium Caterpillar Inc. is a leading global provider of construction and mining equipment, engines, turbines and locomotives. The company operates through three product segments – Construction Industries, Resource Industries, and Energy & Transportation.

The purpose of the symposium was to connect the capabilities of regional manufacturers to the opportunities at Caterpillar Inc. to increase sales for local companies. In addition to a 30-minute presentation detailing the lengthy process of becoming a supplier for a large complex company like Caterpillar Inc., the morning included individual supplier meetings for businesses with Caterpillar procurement representatives.

Dean Svarc, President of JC Milling Inc. attended the event saying, “The Caterpillar Inc. supplier symposium was a great experience. We are striving to build relationships among the community, and this symposium provided a window to learn more about the needs and opportunities at Caterpillar Inc., as well as network with other companies in the community. It was great to have an opportunity to learn about Caterpillar’s requirements to become a certified vendor. We are glad that they are trying to keep business within the community.”

Congressman Kinzinger has hosted supplier symposiums in the past which have provide northern Illinois companies to connect with companies they may not have the opportunity to meet with otherwise. These include the 2014 Lockheed Martin and Boeing symposiums in addition to the Northrop Grumman symposium in 2015.

“I was very pleased with both the attendance and the response from our most recent Manufacturing Symposium with Caterpillar,” Kinzinger said. “This symposium series has proven to be very successful in connecting local manufacturers with some of the world’s largest manufacturers. Whenever a local manufacturing company can enter the supply chain for Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and now Caterpillar, the benefits can be felt throughout the entire region. It is my hope that the Caterpillar Supplier Symposium will continue to promote the manufacturing industry in northern Illinois and create new, well-paying jobs in Illinois’ 16th congressional district.”

The symposium was organized through the Business Retention and Expansion Team at the RAEDC, as part of the Align and Serve components for the Rockforward20/20 strategic plan. The RAEDC seeks to ensure regional stakeholders succeed by identifying assets and needs and responding quickly to cultivate opportunities for regional growth.

“For some of the companies, this was a starting point and for others it was building and expanding an already existing relationship with Caterpillar,” said Stacy Bernardi, Vice President for Development, Rockford Area Economic Development Council. “Overall, becoming a supplier to an international company such as Caterpillar is a process similar to a journey – it takes time to reach that destination. We are proud that Caterpillar recognizes the Rockford Region and its companies as a place to explore business opportunities. Rockford’s unique strength is the presence of diverse companies at all levels of the supply chain, including assembly, inspection, testing, repair and software.”

For 90 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. Customers turn to Caterpillar to help them develop infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. With 2015 sales and revenues of $47.011 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three product segments – Construction Industries, Resource Industries and Energy & Transportation – and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment.

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger is the Representative for the 16th Congressional District of Illinois. Congressman Kinzinger was first elected to Congress in 2010 and has represented the Rockford Region since 2013. He serves on the House Energy & Commerce Committee with seats on three subcommittees, including the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade. Kinzinger is committed to supporting policies that promote manufacturing and workforce development to ensure that the Rockford Region remains a key supplier to the U.S. military, especially in the aerospace sector. As a member of the U.S Air Force and Air National Guard, Kinzinger has flown the KC-135 Stratotanker and the RC-26 surveillance aircraft. He was born in Kankakee, grew up in Bloomington and now resides in Channahon.

The role of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) is to collaborate with regional stakeholders to cultivate opportunities for primary job growth that increase the economic well-being of our region. The RAEDC markets the region to attract new capital investment, while assisting existing business with resources for sustainable growth. The RAEDC works closely with many partners to improve the competitiveness of the region by taking what it learns from the region’s employers and engaging the community in the daily work of economic development. As the economic development organization for the region, the RAEDC also serves as the area’s data collection agency on all new capital investment, retained and created quality jobs, and renovated commercial/industrial space.