El Paso Family Owned Businesses
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Born 1915 in El Paso; 2nd son of Robert E. and Evelyn McKee; Engineering Degree NMSU 1939; started working in his father's business, Robert E. McKee Construction Company in the 1930s; directed activities of the Zia Company which built military and civilian installations at Los Alamos, N.M. during World War II when the A Bomb was being developed; He and brothers continued the Robert E. McKee General Contractor, Inc. until its merger with Santa Fe Industries, Inc. in 1973.
Summary of Interview
Tapes 1 and 2: Family genealogy and background; father Robert E. McKee grew up in St. Louis and New Mexico, started his construction company in El Paso in 1911, the same year he married Evelyn Woods McKee. Recounts childhood memories; names the 8 children of Robert E. McKee and Evelyn McKee; tells of his father's early career; how Robert E. McKee Company acquired the contract for Los Alamos in 1943; his personal experiences at Los Alamos (security regulations, acquiring of construction materials, his responsibilities); service in Marine Corps in Panama Canal zone when Pearl Harbor was attacked; tells of his meeting and marrying Martha Louise Carter.
Tape 3: Discusses Los Alamos after WWII( 1946-1950) and the role of Zia company; major projects of McKee Construction during 1950s and 1960s; changes in the company after the death of the company founder, Robert E. McKee; the influence of his family members on company management; labor relations; use of unions; company's emphasis on doing good work.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
2 hours and 25 minutes
Length of Transcript
Interview with David C. McKee by Rebecca Craver, 1992, "Interview no. 786," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.