Doug Oberhelman, Caterpillar Inc. Chairman and CEO, to be honored as 2015 Distinguished German-American of the Year™
The German-American Heritage Foundation, or GAHF, – America’s largest German ancestry organization – is pleased to announce that Doug Oberhelman, the chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial turbines and diesel-electric locomotives, will be honored as the 2015 Distinguished German-American of the Year™. This award will be presented during the 29th Annual Award and Fundraising Gala at the National Press Club on Thursday, October 29th.
The award, which the GAHF has bestowed since 1987, provides national recognition for outstanding leadership, contributions and achievements by Americans of German-speaking ancestry in diverse areas of society, including business, science, politics, the arts and education. Among the honorees have been such prominent German-Americans as former World Bank President Robert Zoellick, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Paul Volcker and former General Norman Schwarzkopf.
Mr. Oberhelman, whose German roots go back to the industrial region of Westphalia in northwestern Germany, was chosen this year because of his outstanding leadership of Caterpillar, an icon of American industry, where he has concentrated on managing through accelerated business cycles, implementing cost-efficiencies and expanding Lean manufacturing. He has renewed the company’s promise to focus on the customer first, and reinforced its dedication to quality, innovation and sustainability.
Mr. Oberhelman first joined Caterpillar in 1975 after graduating from Millikin University in Decatur, Ill. with a B.A. degree in finance. He has since worked in a wide variety of businesses across Caterpillar and has lived in North America, South America and Asia. Under his leadership, Caterpillar further expanded in the German market by acquiring Motoren-Werke Mannheim Holding, which allows the company to play a bigger role in the rapidly growing sustainable power generation solutions market. Caterpillar has about 4,500 employees and nearly 20 facilities, offices and service centers throughout Germany. Additionally, Oberhelman serves on the Board of Directors of Exxon Mobil, is a member of the Business Council and the Business Roundtable. From 2013-2014, he served as the Chair of the Board of the National Association of Manufacturers. His environmental and community service commitment is reflected through his vice presidency of the Wetlands America Trust, membership in the Nature Conservancy’s Latin America Conservation Council, and chairmanship of the board of trustees for the Easter Seals Foundation of Central Illinois.
The annual gala helps fund the GAHF’s educational and outreach work about the important contributions of German-speaking immigrants to the U.S. This year’s keynote award dinner address will be delivered by former U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab; the German Ambassador H.E. Peter Wittig, his wife, Huberta von Voss-Wittig, and other dignitaries are expected to attend as well.
The gala will begin at 6:30 pm with a cocktail reception, followed by a formal dinner at 7:45 pm. Tickets can be reserved now for $195 ($100 suggested tax deduction) per person by calling 202.467.5000 or online at www.gahmusa.org under “About”. Sponsorship opportunities, including gala tables, remain available.
Courtesy German-American Heritage Foundation