Ed Rapp, Stay Strong vs. ALS

Our Mission

Joining the ALS fight by raising awareness and securing funding needed to bring better assistive technology to those suffering from the disease and to support collaborative and dedicated institutions in search of a cure.

Ed’s Story:

Family

I feel very fortunate to have been blessed with an incredible life. I’m one of seven kids. I have three older brothers and three younger sisters. As I always explained to my mom, I am the neglected middle child. Her response was always the same, “With seven kids you are all neglected; get over it.” The reality is there was no neglect. I loved my life growing up. Yes, it was a bit crowded; in the early days it was seven kids in a two- bedroom, one-bath house, but we had a warm place to sleep, plenty to eat, and we knew we were loved. We are a family of strength and numbers – for my mom and dad, the seven kids led to 23 grandkids and, today, more than 30 great grandkids with more on the way. At the time of our last family reunion, there were 84 direct descendants of my parents and all 84 showed up.

“We are a family of strength and numbers.”

Ed’s Story:

Education


Upon graduating from Pilot Grove (population 701) High School, I went 30 miles down the road to the University of Missouri. It was a good combination that worked for me – great university and close enough to home to work on the farm on weekends and summers. I started college with a plan to be a high school basketball coach but switched my major to finance after my freshman year. Professor Bunge convinced me I could always coach as a volunteer; he felt I should push myself to do more.

“I started college with a plan to be a high school basketball coach…”

Ed’s Story:

Caterpillar Years


As always is the case, time went too fast and, before I knew it, I was a senior at Mizzou going through the job interview process. With a finance degree a lot of the interviews were with banks, but I was most intrigued by an opportunity at Caterpillar, primarily due to their global footprint. I’m not sure what piqued my global interest coming from a small town in central Missouri, but when I asked the recruiter the question, “Can you really experience the globe working for a company like Caterpillar?,” his answer sealed the deal for me. He said, “Young man, Caterpillar is a company where, if you work hard and apply yourself, you can see the world and get paid to do it.” That is exactly what I did for my 37-year career with stops along the way in Peoria, Illinois; San Francisco, California; Johannesburg, South Africa; Geneva, Switzerland; Raleigh, North Carolina; Peoria, Illinois; Singapore and then back to Peoria, Illinois. Through the process, I was blessed with new and challenging opportunities that led me to become a member of the Caterpillar Executive Office.

Throughout my career, I have also been very focused on balance: having a great career, but also a great personal life. And, while I take great pride in my career at Caterpillar, it pales in comparison to the pride I take in what Ann and I have created in our personal lives. I went in to buy a new car in 1981, and I’ve now been married to the loan officer for more than 33 years – best loan I ever took out. As we moved around the world, it allowed our three kids – Jay, Ali and Stef – to also “see the world.” And while there were challenges with moving around, when we get together as a family and reminisce about our days abroad, the one word that never comes up is “sacrifice.” We’ve also since added three new members to the family – Katy, a daughter-in-law, Cole, our first grandchild, and Ryan, our son-in-law. Jay and Katy are also expecting a second child in June. One more reason to keep fighting the good fight. We have been so blessed and have enjoyed the journey every step of the way – no regrets.

Ed’s Story:

Balance


My discussion focuses on three key steps – making a plan, improved efficiency and being a corporate athlete. Balance has served me well through my life, allowing me to have both a great career and great family. I recorded a live version on March 15, 2016, that is available under the “Balance” section of this website, and there is supporting material as well. I remain a student of what it takes to strike great balance in life and share my journey when opportunities arise. The key message is at some point life throws all of us a curve ball and the time to start preparing is not when it leaves the pitcher’s hand.

“My discussion focuses on three key steps…”
  • Family
  • Education
  • Caterpillar Years
  • Balance

Ed’s Story:

Family

I feel very fortunate to have been blessed with an incredible life. I’m one of seven kids. I have three older brothers and three younger sisters. As I always explained to my mom, I am the neglected middle child. Her response was always the same, “With seven kids you are all neglected; get over it.” The reality is there was no neglect. I loved my life growing up. Yes, it was a bit crowded; in the early days it was seven kids in a two- bedroom, one-bath house, but we had a warm place to sleep, plenty to eat, and we knew we were loved. We are a family of strength and numbers – for my mom and dad, the seven kids led to 23 grandkids and, today, more than 30 great grandkids with more on the way. At the time of our last family reunion, there were 84 direct descendants of my parents and all 84 showed up.

Ed’s Story:

Education

Upon graduating from Pilot Grove (population 701) High School, I went 30 miles down the road to the University of Missouri. It was a good combination that worked for me – great university and close enough to home to work on the farm on weekends and summers. I started college with a plan to be a high school basketball coach but switched my major to finance after my freshman year. Professor Bunge convinced me I could always coach as a volunteer; he felt I should push myself to do more.

Ed’s Story:

Caterpillar Years

As always is the case, time went too fast and, before I knew it, I was a senior at Mizzou going through the job interview process. With a finance degree a lot of the interviews were with banks, but I was most intrigued by an opportunity at Caterpillar, primarily due to their global footprint. I’m not sure what piqued my global interest coming from a small town in central Missouri, but when I asked the recruiter the question, “Can you really experience the globe working for a company like Caterpillar?,” his answer sealed the deal for me. He said, “Young man, Caterpillar is a company where, if you work hard and apply yourself, you can see the world and get paid to do it.” That is exactly what I did for my 37-year career with stops along the way in Peoria, Illinois; San Francisco, California; Johannesburg, South Africa; Geneva, Switzerland; Raleigh, North Carolina; Peoria, Illinois; Singapore and then back to Peoria, Illinois. Through the process, I was blessed with new and challenging opportunities that led me to become a member of the Caterpillar Executive Office.

Throughout my career, I have also been very focused on balance: having a great career, but also a great personal life. And, while I take great pride in my career at Caterpillar, it pales in comparison to the pride I take in what Ann and I have created in our personal lives. I went in to buy a new car in 1981, and I’ve now been married to the loan officer for more than 33 years – best loan I ever took out. As we moved around the world, it allowed our three kids – Jay, Ali and Stef – to also “see the world.” And while there were challenges with moving around, when we get together as a family and reminisce about our days abroad, the one word that never comes up is “sacrifice.” We’ve also since added three new members to the family – Katy, a daughter-in-law, Cole, our first grandchild, and Ryan, our son-in-law. Jay and Katy are also expecting a second child in June. One more reason to keep fighting the good fight. We have been so blessed and have enjoyed the journey every step of the way – no regrets.

Ed’s Story:

Balance

My discussion focuses on three key steps – making a plan, improved efficiency and being a corporate athlete. Balance has served me well through my life, allowing me to have both a great career and great family. I recorded a live version on March 15, 2016, that is available under the “Balance” section of this website, and there is supporting material as well. I remain a student of what it takes to strike great balance in life and share my journey when opportunities arise. The key message is at some point life throws all of us a curve ball and the time to start preparing is not when it leaves the pitcher’s hand.

The story behind the journey

Life was good; a great family, working for a great company and in a position where I could really make a difference.

 

Unfortunately, on November 5, 2015, life threw us a curve ball – I was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

 

Make a donation to join the fight against ALS.

 

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