Eric Petti (left), Taylor Petti (right), Ohio CAT – Cincinnati, OH
Throughout the month of August, I Build America – Ohio is celebrating the role of family in the construction industry. In the world of construction, “family” means a lot of things. In some cases, there are multiple family members working together: mothers and sons, fathers and daughters, uncles and nephews working side by side. In other crews, the impact of family comes from working for a family-owned company. And, in other cases, a new family is formed through the bonds of working with a great team. One of the biggest drivers of new individuals to the construction industry is influence from a respected family member or friend, and we’re here to help share the stories of what family looks like in construction.
How many years have you been working in the construction industry?
Eric Petti has been working in the construction industry, for Ohio CAT, for close to 25 years. And his daughter, Taylor Petti, has been with the company for almost 4 years.
What role did family play in your decision to join the construction industry?
Eric said, “My father (Generation 1) Louis E Petti Jr. started at Ohio CAT in 1979. I was 8 years old. My earliest memories go back to my dad working in Cleveland parts. I would wear his CAT hat; you know the old school one Jerry Reed wore in Smokey and the Bandit!
Louis Petti Jr. (left), Eric Petti (right)
I thought Ohio CAT was cool and the machines were fascinating and huge! I would read the Scoop articles (internal company magazine) and bug dad with questions. My father would tell me stories about the road mechanics in Cleveland and how they could fix anything. I knew I wanted to be a mechanic, nothing else. As a child, I did not have access to the yellow brutes; I did have access to bikes and cars. I tore everything apart as a youngster fixing neighborhood bikes and my parents well used cars.
I followed my passion. I spent my first 11 years in the auto industry. One day I received a call from Al Wiley. He asked me if I would be interested in coming to Ohio CAT.I was emotional and somewhat blown away. I called my dad telling him I felt this was destiny. I had so much to learn! I took the opportunity excited and never looked back!”
Taylor shared, “The role that my family played in my decision to join Ohio CAT was the fact that it was always spoken very highly of from my grandfather and my dad. My grandpa retired back in ’94 and worked here for 15 years. My dad later joined back in ’98 and still works here to this day. I remember when my dad would bring me to work and I would be amazed at how huge the machines were and how nice the work environment was!”
How have you incorporated family into your job/work/passion?
Eric said, “I talk about equipment all the time. My family friends all know those machines, and engines keep Ohio’s intricate infrastructure moving, and affect so many lives in a positive way. I beam with pride when I say I work at Ohio CAT. It is very important work. I think for my daughter Taylor (Generation 3), a lot of that was incorporated into her growing up also.”
Taylor said, “Family has always been incorporated into my career. When I first started, I was often asked if I was related to Eric or Louis Petti.”
In what ways do you see “family” show up in the industry? This could be literal family relationships or a broader sense of the “family” within your organization/industry?
Eric shared, “One thing I admire about Ohio CAT is the sense of fellowship between all of us. We all have careers, not jobs. It is up to you on how you want to develop. The opportunities to develop interpersonally and technically are abound. We know each other. We go through many emotions together. Alumni between all of us connects us. Bad days happen, however that fellowship makes the next day exciting.”
Why do you believe family plays an important role in building the future of construction?
Eric said, “Well this one goes back to the ages. Your last name many times has something to do with the type of work your ancestors performed. A blacksmith may have a last name Smith and so on. As in my case, the lingo, and core principles of the earthmoving industry have been in my DNA since I was a child. I felt I belonged to something larger than myself. It is really a great feeling to know Taylor works here and is growing! Her grandpa would be so proud of her.”
Taylor agreed that “family plays a huge factor in building a company in the industry because it builds a solid foundation. When you have a strong role model to look up to, it can lead to a great impact towards the future. Growing up, I was extremely lucky to have a grandfather and dad that I could look up to. My family taught me hard work and dedication, while also learning to be a little goofy too!”
Taylor Petti (left), Louis Petti Jr. (right)
Taylor concluded, “I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to follow in my family’s footsteps. Though they’re big shoes to fill, I know I am making them proud by the strong work ethics that they instilled in me.”