by Ayn Rand
Stockton is yet another Colorado industrialist who stands out for the extended scene we get with him in Atlantis. Let's check it out:
The smiling face that approached her out of the fog was Andrew Stockton's and she saw a grimy hand extended to her with a gesture of confident pride, as if it held all her moment's vision on its palm. . . .
"Then somebody could put you out of business, too?"
"Sure. Any time. I know one man who could and probably will, when he gets here. But, boy! – I'd work for him as a cinder sweeper. He'd blast through this valley like a rocket. He'd triple everybody's production." (18.104.22.1682-90).
Stockton gives Dagny a good rundown of the way people in Atlantis view business. It's a healthy competition among talented people. There's never any shame in losing out to a more talented competitor, since it enables you to keep doing good work more efficiently, and thus to have even more time for yourself. Stockton's healthy view of competition greatly contrasts to the vicious and corrupt world that Dagny left behind.
Stockton also helps confirm what an important figure Hank Rearden is to his fellow industrialists and the strike as a whole. Hank is of course the man he's talking about.