Dennis R. Washington
2007 Inductee into American Mining Hall of Fame
Dennis Washington was born in Spokane, Washington, in 1934 and spent his formative years primarily in Missoula, Montana, and Bremerton, Washington, with short stints in California. Coming from a broken home, Dennis became self sufficient by the age of 14, at which time he was living with his grandmother, whom he credits with providing him the love, stability, and guidance to follow his dreams. He graduated from Missoula High School in 1951 at the age of 17. After graduation, Dennis began his career in the construction industry doing heavy labor in Alaska. With two years experience under his belt, Dennis returned to Montana to work in his uncle’s construction company. His dedication and savvy propelled him to the position of Vice President of the largest construction company in Montana by the age of 26. By the age of 30, he was in business for himself, building roads for the U.S. Forest Service. By 1969, his construction company was the largest in Montana and within ten years was one of the largest in the U. S.
It was in the growth period of the 1970s that Washington Construction became a serious player in the mining business. Most notable, and for which we honor Dennis Washington, was the purchase of the dormant Anaconda Copper Company/ARCO Continental and Berkley mines in Butte, Montana. Through the passionate efforts of a dedicated team, the mining operation, now known as Montana Resources L.L.P., is a viable and profitable enterprise providing local employment, a sound tax base for Montana, and the internal resources for further expansion of holdings in the Washington Companies headquartered in Boise, Idaho. The Washington Companies comprise over a dozen affiliated companies in mining, construction, heavy equipment sales, aviation technology, real estate development, and the largest privately owned railroad in the U.S., as well as the largest marine transportation company in Canada.
In 1996, Dennis merged his Washington Construction Company with that of Morrison Knudsen and morphed into Washington Group International Inc. with headquarters in Boise, Idaho. The combined organization, which now includes acquired components of Westinghouse and Raytheon, is one of the largest design and build construction companies in the U.S. Washington Group International recently established an Arizona presence with the award of the management of the Pinto Valley copper property by BHP Billiton. An ardent philanthropist, Dennis and his wife Phyllis established in 1998 the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, which focuses on promoting education, health, and human services community service and the arts and culture throughout Montana and the nation. Washington believes strongly that by reaching out to young people in their formative years and by presenting opportunity to the disadvantaged, our society will see great benefit. “Every person will get a break at some time in their life”, says Washington, “but not everyone will recognize it or have ability to use it. The best you can do is be prepared”. Dennis R. Washington is listed in the Forbes 400, has received the “Ellis Island Medal of Honor”, the American Academy of Achievement “Gold Plate Award” the 2001 “Mole Award”, and was inducted into the “Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans” in 1995.