Winton M. "Red" Blount, former U.S. Postmaster General and founder of Blount Inc., died Oct. 24 at age 81.
Blount formed a company in 1946 with four war-surplus bulldozers and took it from building fish ponds in rural Alabama to building internationally recognized projects. The company, based in Montgomery, Ala., helped build the Superdome in New Orleans and King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. It built many projects for NASA, including a platform at Cape Kennedy used for space shuttle launches. It became a $1- billion company in the early 1980s, and for a while consistently ranked near the top of ENR's list of Top 400 contractors.
Blount placed his conglomeration of companies in a blind trust in 1969 when he became a member of President Nixon's cabinet. "He was always involved in politics. But his real love was the construction business," says John Caddell, who took over as president of the construction company when Blount left Alabama for Washington.
Blount was known for his philanthropy. "He made it and he shared it. He said it brought him great joy to be able to give," says Caddell. He was cited by ENR in 1965 for speaking out for responsible handling of race relations in Alabama and in 1968 for serving as the catalyst for improving construction's labor relations as president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.