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James Bodman Despain

JIM DESPAIN rose from hourly worker at Caterpillar to Vice President and General Manager of Track-Type Tractors Division in East Peoria, Illinois—one of the company's largest manufacturing facilities. As its leader, he transformed the division's bottom line, cutting its breakeven point in half, while at the same time dramatically improving its historically difficult labor relations. Despain is currently a trustee at Eureka College.


JANE BODMAN CONVERSE was the communications player on Jim's culture-change team, responsible for messages and media to support the transformation at Caterpillar. She is President of Converse Inc., Peoria, Illinois, and has more than 30 years experience in organizational consulting, communications, and marketing.