Henry J. Kaiser was one of the most prominent industrialists of his time. He founded more than 100 companies; among them were Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation, Kaiser Steel, Kaiser Cement and Kaiser Permanente.
Henry J. Kaiser was born in Sprout Brook, N.Y. on May 9, 1882. He left school at age 13 to go to work. When the client of a company he was working for in British Columbia went out of business, Kaiser got a loan and took over the client's company. This was the start of his industrial empire. His company helped build some of the largest dams in the West. During World War II he ran seven shipyards that made 1,490 ships. After the war, he expanded into aluminum and car manufacturing. He ended his auto business in 1953. The health-care plan instituted by Kaiser for his shipyard employees in 1942 was the first health maintenance organization (HMO) in the country and was later used as a model for federal programs. Kaiser died in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 24, 1967.