Alfred Escher (1819 – 1882) was a Swiss businessman and politician. He is regarded asa co-founder of modern Switzerland. In 1848 he recognized the danger of Switzerland being cut off from abroad by the lack of railway lines and sparked a boom of new railways being built. This new economic sector promoted the need for well educated workers in technical fields. Escher fought for the foudning of the Federal Polytechnic Institute (now known as ETH Zurich). The many rail projects also needed financial support. Escher did not want to be dependent on foreign institutions and founded the Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (now known as Credit Suisse) which funded many public and private projects and laid the foundation for the financial center in Zurich.