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Caterpillar executive donates $2,500 to IVCC

Published: Friday, Oct. 11, 2013 5:15 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Oct. 11, 2013 5:20 p.m. CDT

OGLESBY — Caterpillar executive and Illinois Valley Community College alumnus James Blass and his wife Mary, also an IVCC graduate, made a $2,500 donation to the Peter Miller Community Technology Center capital campaign.

Jim grew up in Peru working in his father’s downtown clothing store, Bader-Blass. In 1975, the same year he earned his mechanical technology degree from IVCC, he went to work for Caterpillar.

Today he is director of global product validation and also oversees the global research and development headquarters in Peoria and product test and proving grounds in Peoria, Tucson, Wuxi, China and Britain’s Peterborough and Stafford plants.

With extensive experience in both manufacturing and product design – he holds 14 patents – Blass has flourished in the management of Caterpillar plants.  

Working with Corcoran, fellow IVCC graduates Dan Janka, president of machine tool giant MAG-IAS, and Brian Krzyaniak, Caterpillar-Aurora Power Train Factory manager, Blass has helped strengthen IVCC’s CNC and manufacturing programs. He and Krzyaniak engineered Caterpillar’s donation to IVCC of a machining center and last fall 10 Aurora employees completed “IVCC Machinist Training for Caterpillar.”

Blass and the former Mary Wicks reside in Morton and have three grown children.  Mary is a registered Dietitian and is President of Blass and Associates consulting.

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