Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr., chairman emeritus of Bechtel Group Inc., was honored as an Engineer of Distinction by the University of Colorado at Boulders College of Engineering and Applied Science at the 35th annual Engineering Awards Banquet on April 14.
The award, established in 1997 and presented by Ross B. Corotis, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science, recognizes his lifetime achievements in the engineering profession.
Bechtel was at the helm of the Bechtel Group, an engineering and construction company with worldwide operations, for 30 years. He has won the National Medal of Technology, the Herbert Hoover Medal and numerous other prestigious awards in engineering, technology and construction.
He has served U.S. Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Ford in six national appointments ranging from the President's Committee on Urban Housing to the National Commission on Productivity to the Labor Management Committee. He received the National Medal of Technology from President Bush in 1991, in recognition of his outstanding leadership in the engineering profession and for developing and applying advanced management techniques to world-class industrial projects.
Bechtel began his engineering education in 1943 at CU-Boulder but was transferred by the Marine Corps to Purdue University after completing two academic years at CU. He holds a bachelors degree in civil engineering from Purdue and a masters in business administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He has been honored as a distinguished alumnus of both schools, and holds honorary doctorates from CU-Boulder and Purdue.
First employed by one of the Bechtel engineering and construction companies in 1941, he held a wide variety of positions, both in the field and in the company's headquarters before being elected president of the parent company in 1960. In 1965, his father retired as chairman and in 1973 he was elected chairman. Since 1990, when he reached the age of 65, he has served as chairman emeritus of Bechtel Group and of Fremont Group, a separate, affiliated private investment and securities management company.
Established in 1898 as a small Western railroad construction firm, Bechtel has worked in 140 countries over the course of its first century. The company provides comprehensive services to develop, finance, engineer, construct and manage private and public sector capital projects and facilities, including power, petroleum, chemical, civil infrastructure, water, industrial, e-business, telecommunications, pipelines, mining and metals, and environmental remediation.
A registered civil engineer, Bechtel also is former chairman of The Business Council and the National Academy of Engineering, where he served two, two-year terms. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a foreign member of the United Kingdoms Royal Academy of Engineering, and an officer of the French Legion of Honor.