Giving Back: For 100 years, service has been the story at Fabick Cat
If something big is taking shape in Missouri, it’s a safe bet that Fabick Cat is part of the effort.
In the regions Fabick serves, the company’s dealerships are synonymous with the Caterpillar brand of heavy equipment. Machines from the company helped build the Gateway Arch. They aided the construction of Bagnell Dam at the Lake of the Ozarks. They even helped make Missouri the crossroads of the nation as the interstate highway system was developed.
This year, the company is marking its 100th year in business. With 37 locations in four states, Fabick Cat has grown tremendously since it was founded by John Fabick Sr. However, even with all the changes over the years, the company remains committed to the motto established by Fabick Sr. at the very start: “To ever serve our customers better.”
Current company president Jeré Fabick said the motto “is as true today as it was when my grandfather coined that phrase in 1917.”
In the early years, the company was known for selling brands now regarded as antiques, such as Cletrac Tractors and C.L. Best Tractors.
In 1921, a merger led to the creation of the Caterpillar brand. However, at the outset, the newly formed Caterpillar company chose a competitor of Fabick to sell its tractors.
To fight being frozen out, John Fabick introduced his own line of equipment, Allwork Tractors. This move convinced Caterpillar to reverse its decision and name Fabick its exclusive St. Louis dealer.
The ensuing decades were a time of expansion for the business as the economy developed and technology advanced.
In 1972, the company moved its headquarters to Fenton, where it remains today. Another pivotal moment happened in 1982 when then-president Joe Fabick was chosen by Caterpillar to lead the Fabco Inc. dealerships in Wisconsin and upper Michigan.
With experienced Fabick leaders at the helm, Fabick Cat and Fabco thrived in their respective regions. Then a 2015 merger brought the companies together — the Fabick company was united and larger than ever.
Today, the company remains under strong family leadership.
“It is such an honor and privilege to be a member of the fifth generation and be a part of this legacy,” said Kelli Fabick, a pricing analyst at the company.
While several members of the Fabick family continue to serve in leadership roles, the company gives much of the credit for its success to its staff.
“It doesn’t matter whether you have seven employees or 1,500 like we do now, it’s all about great people,” said current CEO Doug Fabick.
John Fabick IV, senior vice president, said the employees are like members of the family.
“They just need to be acknowledged because I just can’t say enough about how much they mean to myself and the rest of the Fabick family,” he said.
Now, 100 years after its founding, Fabick Cat remains an important member of the Missouri business community and a critical part of many of the biggest building projects happening around Missouri and the nation. The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry honored Fabick as the 2017 Champion of Enterprise during the Missouri Business Awards on Nov. 16 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
A visit from Vice President Mike Pence this year also underscored the company’s importance.
“Hardworking men and women like you are the ones that make companies like this grow,” Pence said during his visit. “You are the strength in the American economy, and you’re going to lead an American comeback.”
But, as always, the heart of the Fabick story is rooted in service. During a special event in August marking its centennial, the company stunned six local St. Louis charitable organizations by donating $100,000 to each group, for a total of $600,000 donated in one day.
“Since 1917 our motto has always been ‘To ever serve our customers better.’ To this day, these words remain the foundation of our success,” said Doug Fabick.