Stephen Bechtel: Controversial contractor
In December 1998, Time magazine profiled 20 of the most influential builders and titans of the 20th century, innovators who changed how the world works. Stephen Davison Bechtel Sr. was one of them, a "visionary whose imagination was fired by grandiose projects -- the more seemingly impossible the better." Stephen was as large as he was controversial, as cloaked in secrecy as he was shrouded by success. He made difficult decisions facing daunting odds and almost always came out on top. His father, Warren, started W.A. Bechtel shortly after Stephen was born in Indiana on Sept. 14, 1900. Stephen had a front-row seat watching his father's enterprise grow from a single steam shovel into a large corporation that helped build Boulder Dam.