The Master Builders from Bechtel

A secretive construction giant enters the limelight

The California-based engineering and construction firm from which Secretary of State-designate George Shultz resigned as president two weeks ago is one of the true anomalies of American business, a globe-girdling behemoth that operates throughout the U.S. and 20 foreign countries, but a company so private and unobtrusive in its ways that most people have never even heard of it. Yet the privately owned and operated Bechtel Group Inc. of San Francisco (1981 billings: $11.4 billion) has probably done more to transform the landscape of America and the world than any other company of this century....