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Big Betchel

September 17, 2012

Construction companies have been responsible for the many monumental infrastructures and buildings we see standing today. One of the companies that have been making projects on colossal scales has been Betchel. This company has been around for over 110 years and it takes on projects as large as they come.

It was one of the participants in the construction of the Hoover Dam which was the largest dam ever constructed at that time. The construction began in 1931 and was completed in 1936 two years ahead of schedule. Bechtel’s reputation increased after this project and more large projects were awarded to the company.

The company was started in 1898 by Warren A. Bechtel. It did contracting business specializing in railroad and highway building for over 20 years.  In 1921 Warren Bechtel and his partners won a contract to build the water tunnels for the Caribou Hydroelectric Facility in California. The company was incorporated in 1926 as W.A. Bechtel and won the contract for the Bowman Lake dam in California.

Bechtel has continuously expanded the kind of construction and management projects it has been undertaking. Its portfolio includes transportation, communications, energy, mining, oil and gas, and government services.  For 14 straight years it has been named the top U.S. construction contractor.

Aside for the Hoover Dam, other notable projects of the company include the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), Channel Tunnel & Rail Link (connecting England and France), Hong Kong International Airport, Hurricane Katrina disaster relief, and the Three Mile Island cleanup.

Since its founding the company has done 23,000 projects in 140 nations in seven continents. It is one of the oldest and largest family-owned and family-led companies in the U.S. In 2011 the company had $53 billion in contracts awarded and had revenues of $32.9 billion with 53,000 employees. Today the corporation is headed by Riley Bechtel who is the chairman and CEO. This is now the fourth generation family leading Bechtel.

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