CASE Construction Equipment celebrated the CASE brand’s 175th birthday with a rally and luncheon attended by 800+ employees in Racine, Wis., as well as local dignitaries, elected officials and a descendant of the Case family.
The company was founded in 1842 in nearby Rochester, Wis., as the Racine Threshing Machine Works Co. It evolved into one of the world’s most iconic manufacturers of construction and agricultural equipment.
Speakers included U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, the congressman representing Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district; Richard Tobin, chief executive officer – CNH Industrial; and Kaleb Jerome Case, the great grandson of company founder and Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ Hall of Fame member Jerome Increase (J.I.) Case.
“2017 is the 175th anniversary of Jerome Increase Case’s journey to Racine County and the beginning of his – and our – legacy,” said Tobin. “Not every company gets to celebrate 175 years, and it’s worth taking a moment to recognize that this is a company with significant history and deep roots. To our people in the audience, and our colleagues all around Racine and beyond, I want to say thank you for doing your part to continue this momentum.”
Elected officials in attendance also recognized the pride in craftsmanship exhibited by the plant, and the significance of the milestone.
“I’ve been coming here since 1998, and to travel the countryside, and to travel the world, and to see this equipment all around – it gives us such great pride in what you do,” said Speaker Ryan. “Your reputation as the highest-class producer of the greatest machines that the construction industry and the agriculture industry know – thank you for making us proud and congratulations on this fantastic legacy of 175 years.”
The state of Wisconsin also awarded the company with a special citation recognizing its 175 years in business, presented to the company by a bipartisan coalition of Wisconsin lawmakers from the region: Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly Robin Vos, Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca, Senator Van Wanggaard and State Representative Cory Mason. UAW Region 4 Director Ron McIlroy and Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave also recognized the company – and J.I Case descendant Kaleb Jerome Case brought the event to a roaring close with humorous anecdotes from Case family lore.
“J.I.’s passion was power, speed and durability,” said Case. “J.I.’s love of machines prompted him towards manufacturing. I have a copy of the letter he wrote to his wife Lydia. He had just delivered the last of well under a dozen machines and lamented that he would be out of business – no one would need any machines any more. Wow. He should be here today.”