By Julie Fishman-Lapin, The Stamford Advocate, Conn. Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Jul. 30--You can call Ronald DeFeo many things -- a visionary, a risk taker, a strategist. But above all he's a survivor.
In the 12 years since DeFeo took the helm of a troubled, nearly-bankrupt Terex Corp., the chairman and chief executive has built this Westport-based company into the world's third-largest seller of construction equipment, behind Caterpillar and Komatsu.
Terex today is a far cry from the cash-strapped company DeFeo walked into in 1992. Now, the manufacturer of mining, earth moving and construction equipment is a Fortune 500 company with 2003 revenues of $3.9 billion.
DeFeo began his career at health and beauty aids maker Procter & Gamble before moving to Tenneco, the industrial and auto products company formerly headquartered in Greenwich, where he became the head …