"I'm like a little kid. I've got my trains, I've got my big dump trucks. They're all just toys."
Young Dennis Washington was still recovering from polio when his parents divorced, and the boy moved frequently from the home of relative to relative. Bored in school, he dreamed of running heavy machinery. After graduating high school, he left his home in Montana to work construction in Alaska.
By age 29, he had learned enough about highway construction to start his own company. By the time he was 34, he was the largest contractor in Montana. He expanded into mining, bought the Anaconda Copper mine, and then Burlington Northern's southern Montana rail system, renaming it Montana Rail Link. He moved to the front of the pack in the heavy construction industry with the acquisition of the national firm Morrison Knudsen, while expanding into shipping, shipbuilding, and environmental remediation.
Today, Dennis Washington is a billionaire whose fleets carry cargo by land, sea and air. He travels between his many homes and businesses in a private jet and spends leisure time on a 330-foot yacht, entirely rebuilt to his specifications. His gifts to education have made him one of Montana's best-loved citizens.