CORPORATIONS: Rapture of the Deep

When at age 17 he ventured west from Mount Vernon, N.Y., to seek his fortune, R. Lad Handelman learned quickly that there was more money in diving than in tending a diver's airline, as he had been doing. Says he: "I figured I was on the wrong end of the hose." He became a diver and spent a decade combing the seabed off California for abalone. Today, at 39, Handelman is again topside: this time as president of Oceaneering International, Inc., a Houston-based company that in 6½ years has become the largest publicly owned firm in an arcane but...

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