Caterpillar CEO Shares His Story With The New York Times

May 8, 2009
By Cherry Crayton

Jim Owens was named the College of Management's 2009 Person of the Year. (Courtesy of NC State Alumni Association)

Jim Owens

How did Jim Owens ’68, ’70 MT, ’73 PHD — the College of Management’s 2009 Person of the Year — go from being a kid with low expectations to becoming the CEO of Caterpillar, a Fortune 500 company? He tells you in a first-person account that recently ran in The New York Times.

Until my junior year, I was more social than academic. I married, had a son and reassessed my priorities.

Also check out the feature story NC State magazine ran on Owens in 2005. There’s a preview after the jump.

Owens was promoted to chief economist at Geneva, Switzerland-based Caterpillar Overseas S.A, where his work forecasting sales, monitoring the economic-political environment, analyzing costs and conducting pricing studies took him all over Moscow, Johannesburg and cities throughout Europe. He loved it. “It was like being in adult Disneyland.”

But it didn’t last.

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