Charles Swigert was a civil engineer, major bridge-building contractor, prominent businessman, and founder of Electric Steel Foundry, predecessor of today's ESCO Corporation. As an owner/executive in the Pacific Bridge Company, he worked to construct numerous West Coast bridges and dams, including the massive piers for both the Golden Gate and San Francisco Bay Bridges. ESCO was born through Swigert's involvement with the City and Suburban Railway Company in Portland. Rather than rely on distant sources of spare parts for trolley cars, Swigert and other investors began a steel foundry in 1913.
In the '20s the foundry began making small shovel dippers and dragline buckets for mining and construction. In the '30s, they expanded the product line to include crushing and conveying products, and tooth systems for earthmoving equipment. Charles Swigert's contracting enterprises helped build the West, while his steel foundry was the foundation for a company that would supply innovative tools to the construction industry for more than 75 years.