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Bechtel Corporation
Type Privately held company
Industry Heavy construction
Project Management
Founded 1898
Founder(s) Warren A. Bechtel
Headquarters Blue Shield of California Building
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Area served Worldwide
Key people Riley P. Bechtel (Chairman)
Bill Dudley (CEO)
Products Construction contracting
Revenue Increase US$37.9 billion (2012)[1]
Owner(s) Bechtel family and various internally elected employees
Employees 53,000 (2012)[1]

Bechtel Corporation (Bechtel Group) is the largest construction and engineering company in the United States,[2] ranking as the 5th-largest privately owned company in the United States.[3] Its headquarters are in the Financial District of San Francisco.[4] As of 2012, Bechtel had $37.9 billion in revenue and employed 53,000 workers on projects in nearly 50 countries.[5]


Bechtel has always functioned as a family-owned company. Its founder, Warren A. Bechtel, started as an employee of the burgeoning United States railroad industry in 1898 after his Oklahoma cattle ranch failed. Over the next 20 years, he built up a sizable contracting business that specialized in railroad and highway building.[6] After building the Hoover Dam in the 1930s, the company was a major contractor during World War II building Liberty ships under the leadership of Stephen Bechtel, the founder's son.[6] After the War the Company continued to expand in the energy sector completing projects such as the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System in the 1970s when George Shultz was CEO.[6]


Bechtel is a privately owned engineering, construction, and project management company headquartered in San Francisco, CA.[7][8][9] Bechtel has projects in approximately 50 countries and 53,000 employees as of 2013.[7] The company operates five business units. They are: civil infrastructure; power; oil, gas, and chemicals; mining and metals; and government services.[8] Civil projects include infrastructure, rail, ports, and aviation.[10][11] Bechtel's power unit includes projects in fossil, renewable, and nuclear energy, as well as communications and transmission.[12] The oil, gas, and chemicals unit works on projects including oil refineries, pipelines, and liquefied natural gas facilities.[9][13] Mining and metals projects include aluminum, copper, and coal.[14] The government services unit handles government contracts in environmental cleanup and security and defense, including projects with the U.S. and British governments.[15]

Bill Dudley is president and CEO and Riley P. Bechtel is chairman of the board.[16] Prior to February 2014, Bechtel was CEO and is the fourth generation of the Bechtel family to head the company.[11] Mike Adams has been CFO since 2012.[10]

Financials and rankings[edit]

As a private company, Bechtel does not report profits, but does disclose revenue.[9] Bechtel's revenues in 2012 were US$37.9 billion, a 15% increase from its 2011 revenues of $32.9 billion.[8] Revenues in 2010 were $27.9 billion.[17] New contracts equaled $23.9 billion for the company in 2012.[9]

Bechtel ranked fourth on Forbes 2013 list of America's Largest Private Companies by revenue.[18] It has been named the top U.S. Contractor by revenue by Engineering News-Record for fifteen years in a row and ranked third on the publication's Top 250 International Contractors list by revenue in 2013.[19][20]

Alleged misconduct[edit]

Bechtel's work has been the subject of controversy, including a number of cases of contractor misconduct in the United States in the past decade. These cases have included significant issues at a site in Hanford, Washington where Bechtel was decommissioning a former nuclear weapons site without conducting adequate safety reviews of some of the equipment used, and where the Department of Energy's inspector general alleged that "Bechtel determined that there was a systemic problem and a breakdown in controls over the review of design changes," but that the company had taken steps to correct the problems.[21] Bechtel's failure to conduct safety reviews of the equipment they used led to at least some underground tanks leaking radioactive waste in to nearby groundwater.[22] Senator Ron Wyden has alleged that Bechtel fired a whistleblower at the Hanford site, and expressed concern that this would discourage further whistleblowers from coming forward.[23]

Former US Ambassador to Kosovo and currently a Bechtel Corporation employee Christopher Dell lobbied for the construction of a 820 million euros road connecting Prishtina and Tirana, the capital cities of Kosovo and Albania repsectively. Dell took on the role as an African country manager with Bechtel late 2013, months after ending a three-decade career at the State Department.[24]

Major projects[edit]

Major projects have included:


  1. ^ a b "Annual Report". Bechtel. 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  2. ^ ENR Top 400
  3. ^ Forbes 2011 - America's Largest Private Companies
  4. ^ David Streitfield; Mark Fineman. "Bechtel Corporation Receives Iraqi Reconstruction Contract". The Los Angeles Times.  posted in The Tech. vol. 123, Issue 20. Friday, April 18, 2003. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  5. ^ "Annual Report". Bechtel. 2012. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c "A Brief History of Bechtel (1898–1980)". Dispatches from Coconut Grove. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Dipietro, Ben (January 15, 2014). "Bechtel's Higgins Stresses Ethics". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c Dickinson, Virgil (October 1, 2013). "Newsmaker: Charlene Wheeless, Bechtel". PRWeek. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c d Reddall, Braden; Adler, Leslie (May 17, 2013). "Bechtel revenue grows 15 pct in 2012, backlog shrinks". Reuters. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "The bigger picture: Peter Dawson interview". New Civil Engineer. December 13, 2012. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "People". Engineering News-Record. June 25, 2008. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Feature: Jack Futcher". World Generation Magazine. January–February 2010. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Bechtel Corp., Industry Partnership Award". Mining Engineering (magazine). November 1, 2008. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  14. ^ Sambidge, Andy (September 13, 2013). "Bechtel sets up mining, metals HQ for GCC growth". Arabian Business. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  15. ^ Williamson, Elizabeth (July 18, 2004). "Frederick Jobs Grow At Brisk Tempo; County Is 10th in U.S., Labor Dept. Reports". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  16. ^ Brown, Steven E.F. (February 4, 2014). "Bechtel Corp. names first non-family CEO". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved February 10, 2014. 
  17. ^ Reddall, Braden (April 25, 2011). "Bechtel revenue down 9 percent in 2010". Reuters. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  18. ^ Murphy, Andrea; DeCarlo, Scott (December 18, 2013). "America's Largest Private Companies 2013". Forbes. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  19. ^ "The Top 400 Contractors". Engineering News-Record. 2013. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Bechtel Named One of World's Top Contractors". Journal of Engineering. September 11, 2013. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  21. ^ Mufston, Steven (3 October 2013). "Feds: Bechtel not doing safety checks at Hanford". The Washington Post. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  22. ^ LaFlure, Rebecca (18 November 2013). "Hanford nuclear site clean-up: The mess gets worse". The Center for Public Integrity/NBC News. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  23. ^ Geranios, Nicholas (9 October 2013). "Hanford whistleblower loses job". The Associated Press. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  24. ^ Paul Lewis; Lawrence Marzouk; Besar Likmeta; Petrit Collaku; Erjona Rusi (14 April 2014). "US Ambassador to Kosovo Hired by Construction Firm He Lobbied For". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  25. ^ Historic Construction Projects
  26. ^ Mead, p. 207
  27. ^ Bechtel has ties to Washington, and in Iraq New York Times, 2003
  28. ^ Bechtel in Iraq
  29. ^ Bechtel and GE file arbitration over Dabhol Power Company Bechtel, 22 September 2003
  30. ^ Bechtel: Kuwait Reconstruction
  31. ^ Bechtel: Channel Tunnel
  32. ^ Bechtel: Hong Kong International Airport
  33. ^ Tengiz field expansion project awarded to Bechtel-Enka Joint Venture Alexander’s Gas & Oil Connections, 29 July 1997
  34. ^ Bechtel National team awarded $306m contract to design , build and operate chemical agent disposal facility in Maryland Bechtel, 6 October 1998
  35. ^ Intergen and Enka complete $1.5bn financing of major power plants in Turkey Businesswire, 28 September 2000
  36. ^ US official says Mayak Warhead storage facility to open in November Bellona, 19 June 2002
  37. ^ Ex-Im Bank to loan Bechtel $178m for Araucaria BN Americas, 8 October 2001
  38. ^ Joge Chávez International Airport
  39. ^ Bechtel and Parsons Brinkerhoff reach settlement in Big Dig Bechtel, 23 January 2008
  40. ^ Ex-Im Bank finances $250m in US exports to build Croatian highway Ex-Im Bank, 22 October 1998
  41. ^ Bechtel: Transformation of Oak Ridge
  42. ^ Albania and Kosova: Connected Again
  43. ^ Bechtel: New Doha International Airport
  44. ^ Oman Airports Management Committee
  45. ^ Bechtel drives a highway through the heart of Transylvania Der Spiegel, 1 August 2008
  46. ^ Dulles Transit Partners

Further reading[edit]

  • Mead, Robert Douglas. Journeys Down the Line: Building the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, Doubleday, 1978.
  • McCartney, Laton. "Friends in High Places", Ballantine Books, 1988.

External links[edit]