Cofounder of Bechtel & Santo; Now Bechtel Santo & Severn


Betty Bechtel graduated with honors from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.S. in business in 1967. While her husband, Joel, attended medical school, she worked as a statistician for the telephone company, then attended Lewis and Clark College, Northwestern School of Law, attaining her J.D., cum laude, in 1978. From 1979-1980, she worked in the employment law section of Dykema Gossett law firm in Detroit, Michigan. Returning home to Colorado in 1980, she practiced primarily employment law for 25 years with Dufford, Waldeck, Milburn & Krohn, in Grand Junction. In 2005, she and Michael Santo founded Bechtel & Santo, which became Bechtel Santo & Severn in 2018. Betty retired from active practice in 2011, but still contributes to the firm's quarterly newsletter, The Employer's Advisory, published since 1994.

Betty has served as board member and chair of several nonprofit organizations including Mesa County Economic Development Council (n/k/a/ Grand Junction Economic Partners); The Business Incubator Center; Hilltop Rehabilitation Hospital; Hospice of the Grand Valley (n/k/a HopeWest); The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce; Vice President of the Art Center Board; and as board member of Cinema at the Avalon; Mesa County Pro Bono Association; Western Colorado Area Health Education Center; and BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services).  She is currently Chair of Colorado Mesa University Board of Trustees.

In 2013, Betty was honored by the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce when they named her Citizen of the Year.