A Publication of WTVP

40 Leaders Under Forty

As quality and technical group manager, Riley J. Kerestes is responsible for managing quality, technical support, advanced engineering, capital planning, pattern shop, experimental micro-foundry and metallurgical/sand labs activities for Caterpillar’s Mapleton foundry operations. Among his major accomplishments, he directed a massive, multi-year quality improvement initiative which led the facility to achieve Caterpillar Quality Management System certification for the first time. His team also led a safety project to eliminate the use of sulfur dioxide at the Mapleton facility, and he completed an international assignment which led to a three-year, 85% scrap reduction and $2 million reduction in annual scrap produced.

For the past two years, Kerestes has served as the facility champion for the Caterpillar United Way Campaign, coordinating events to raise funds for the Heart of Illinois United Way. He has twice served as the facility leader and coordinator for the Greater Peoria CareerSpark event, which presents potential career opportunities to students at an early age. He helped plan the two-day event, coordinated a team from Mapleton to attend, and ensured their message was fun and engaging for the students.

In 2020, Kerestes volunteered for the Engineer in the Classroom Competition at Glendale Elementary School in East Peoria, delivering small lectures on a variety of engineering topics. He then coached and mentored small groups of students as they built a Rube Goldberg machine utilizing materials they brought from home. Under his leadership, the team took second place at the Peoria competition and would have advanced to the state competition had it not been cancelled due to COVID-19.

In 2018 and 2019, he led the “Foundry in a Box” demonstration at Mapleton in support of Manufacturing Day, communicating with schools, setting up the interactive display, securing coworkers to help run the event, and serving as the keynote guest speaker. He has also been an active committee member with the American Foundry Society. PM