Most people remember the first tooth they lost, their first significant other or the first time they started a car after getting their driver’s license. This fall, Levi Higdon experienced another first – seeing a brand new Cat® D6T on the line at the East Peoria dozer facility that he would operate (and getting to start it up right on the factory floor).
Upon turning the key, Higdon smiles and shouts from the top of the machine, “Sounds good, doesn’t it?”
Higdon, Regional Manager for Santek Environmental (a waste, landfill design and construction company headquartered in Cleveland, Tennessee), was invited to Peoria by Matt Dillard to learn more about our manufacturing processes. Dillard, now Executive Vice President of Operations and Santek Environmental’s very first employee, remembers his first trip to Caterpillar fondly. That was more than 20 years ago and he will be the first to tell you a lot has changed since then.
“I’m most impressed with how far the technology has come. It’s a big learning curve for us out in the field but it’s worth it. It makes our work easier,” says Dillard.
Santek is a long-time Caterpillar customer with a significant fleet of D6 tractors used in its various landfill operations across Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Ohio, Arkansas, Alabama and Texas.
“Usually we would buy a D6 and customize it to move material at our landfills. Right now we have a fleet of eleven D6s. Just recently we started to transition to wheel loaders. We just got an 826K a couple months ago and the technology is amazing,” says Dillard.
Stowers Machinery Sales Manager Ed Rottmann is no stranger to Caterpillar’s customer tours program and he takes advantage of the opportunity to bring customers to our facilities as much as he can. “There is nothing like bringing the customers on tour so they can see the quality they get when they buy a Cat.”