Kaiser, Henry John, 1882–1967, American industrialist, b. Sprout Brook, N.Y. He organized his first construction company in 1913, soon entered the road-paving business, and by 1930 was a leader in the field. In 1931 he was named chairman of the executive committee of the company formed to build Hoover Dam. He also participated in the construction of Bonneville, Grand Coulee, and Shasta dams and the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge. During World War II he and his corporations made exceptional contributions to the war effort, producing ships, planes, and military vehicles in vast numbers. From 1945 until his death he served as chairman of Kaiser Industries, an enterprise involving steel, aluminum, and home building. His effort to become an automobile manufacturer after World War II was not successful, but he did have a lasting impact on the health care industry by establishing (1938) a prepaid health plan for his workers. After the war the plan was opened to the general public and it became a model for health maintenance organizations (HMOs), which provide heath care to patients for a set fee.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.