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Entrepreneurs

10 Wealthiest Entrepreneurs of All Time

An entrepreneur is not an ordinary person. If you plan to organize and operate a business, you are taking a financial risk to do so — as well as personal risks and an investment in time and effort. But, sometimes the risks and investments pay off, as shown by this list of the ten wealthiest entrepreneurs of all time. The list is ordered by wealth and the focus is in the United States. The businesses created by these individuals range from oil to cars, and from dry goods to lumberyards. The wealth estimates in most cases are based upon several observations from Forbes, mainly based upon modern net worth. You might note that only one person on this list was born in the twentieth century and is still alive — Bill Gates.

1. John Davidson Rockefeller: Rockefeller founded Standard Oil in 1870, which dominated the oil industry and was the first great U.S. business trust. He was 31-years-old at the time, and his pursuits revolutionized the petroleum industry and defined the structure of modern philanthopy. Standard Oil began as an Ohio partnership formed by John D. Rockefeller, his brother William Rockefeller, Henry Flagler, Jabez Bostwick, chemist Samuel Andrews, and a silent partner, Stephen V. Harkness. As kerosene and gasoline grew in importance, Rockefeller’s wealth soared, and he became the world’s richest man and first American worth more than a billion dollars. His peak fortune? $336 billion.

2. Andrew Carnegie: After jobs such as a factory worker in a bobbin factory, a messenger boy, and an upwardly-mobile employee for a telegraph company, Carnegie built Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Steel Company. After he sold Carnegie Steel Company to J.P. Morgan in 1901 ($480 million), Carnegie devoted the remainder of his life to large-scale philanthropy, with special emphasis on local libraries, world peace, education and scientific research. Carnegie slowly accumulated capital, the basis for his later success, through investments. His life has often been referred to as a true “rags to riches” story. His peak fortune? $309 billion.

3. Henry Ford: As founder of the Ford Motor Company and sponsor of the development of the assembly line of mass production, Ford had a global vision of how to run a company and treat employees. Ford astonished the world in 1914 by offering a $5 per day wage ($110 today), which more than doubled the rate of most of his workers. The move proved extremely profitable; instead of constant turnover of employees, the best mechanics in Detroit flocked to Ford, bringing their human capital and expertise, raising productivity, and lowering training costs. His peak fortune? $188.1 billion.

4. Cornelius Vanderbilt: This entrepreneur began working on his father’s New York harbor ferry as a boy and quit school at age 11. He then borrowed $100 from his mother to purchase a boat at age 16, and began to build a complicated shipping business while also fathering 13 children. He also built an interest in railroads, eventually selling all his ships and concentrating on that business. He was the patriarch of the Vanderbilt family and one of the richest Americans in history. He provided the initial gift to found Vanderbilt University, which is named in his honor. His peak fortune? $185 billion.

5. Bill Gates: A contemporary entrepreneur, many people know how Bill Gates built his fortune. Gates is the former CEO and current chairman of Microsoft, the software company he founded with Paul Allen. In 1987, Gates was officially declared a billionaire in the pages of Forbes’ 400 Richest People in America issue, just days before his 32nd birthday. As the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, he was worth $1.25 billion, over $900 million more than he’d been worth the year before, when he’d debuted on the list. He is consistently ranked among the world’s wealthiest people and was the wealthiest overall from 1995 to 2009, excluding 2008, when he was ranked third. In 2011 he was the wealthiest American and the second wealthiest person alive. His peak fortune? $136 billion.

6. John Jacob Aster: As the first prominent member of the Astor family, John (born Johann), was a German-American business man and investor who was the first multi-millionaire in the United States. He was the creator of the first trust in America. Astor arrived in the U.S. American Revolutionary War to build a fur-trading empire that extended to the Great Lakes region and Canada. He later expanded into the American West and Pacific coast. He also got involved in smuggling opium and then began to purchase land in Manhattan, creating a land-rich empire. At the time of his death in 1848, Astor was the wealthiest person in the United States. His peak fortune? $121 billion.

7. Stephen Girard: Born in France, Girard lost the sight in his right eye at age eight, and he had very little education. As an established merchant in Philadelphia, Girard eventually purchased the First Bank of the United States charter. His bank because the principal source of government credit during the War of 1812. Towards the end of the war, when the financial credit of the U.S. government was at its lowest, Girard placed nearly all of his resources at the disposal of the government and underwrote up to 95 percent of the war loan issue, which enabled the United States to carry on the war. He became one of the wealthiest men in America, estimated to have been the fourth richest American of all time, based on the ratio of his fortune to contemporary GDP. Childless, he devoted much of his fortune to philanthropy, particularly the education and welfare of orphans. His peak fortune? $105 billion.

8. Alexander Turney Stewart: Also known as “A.T.” Stewart was a successful Irish entrepreneur who made his multi-million fortune in what was at the time the most extensive and lucrative dry goods business in the world. He received an inheritance of somewhere between $5,000 to $10,000, taking this money to New York and creating a store on Broadway. Along with his successful retail store, Stewart also established himself as one of the wealthiest men in the United States by allowing women all over the country to purchase and order items from his wholesale department store. His peak fortune? $88.9 billion.

9. Frederick Weyerhaeuser: Weyerhaeuser, a German-born son of farmers, emigrated to the U.S. in 1848 and worked in a brewery, on the railroad, and eventually became an upwardly-mobile employee in a sawmill factory. He eventually purchased the sawmill business and formed the Weyerhaeuser-Denkmann Lumber Company with his brother-in-law, Frederick Denkmann. The Weyerhaeuser Company is still the world’s largest seller of timber. His peak fortune? $79.4 billion.

10. Jay Gould: Although being ranked as the eighth worst American CEO of all time by the Conde Nast Portfolio, Jay Gould’s successes made him, at one time, the ninth richest American in history. He was a rail baron and gold speculator, masterminding the 19th-century transportation boom in America. He and financier James Fisk bought up a dominating share of the gold market, enough to directly affect market movements during his lifetime. His peak fortune? $71.2 billion.

Kate Hubbard is content editor for OnlineBusinessSchool.org.

volunteers

John C. Lincoln Desert Volunteers honored

In recognition of the significant difference they make in the community, the Desert Mission volunteers of the John C. Lincoln Health Network have been chosen as a winner of the 2013 American Hospital Association’s Hospital Awards for Volunteer Excellence (HAVE).

The national HAVE Award recognizes volunteers who provide leadership in community outreach, particularly with innovative and measurable programs with external partners to address challenges in the community.

Desert Mission’s volunteers – about 500 of the almost 2,000 Network volunteers – were also recognized for demonstrating measurable contributions to the effectiveness of an existing community outreach and for achieving success by overcoming barriers.       Desert Mission’s volunteers work at the Food Bank, Children’s Dental Clinic, Lincoln Learning Center, Marley House Behavioral Health Clinic, Community Health Center and in Neighborhood Renewal.

“For 30 years, these awards have celebrated the contribution and value of hospital volunteers – women and men who go the extra mile for their patients and communities,” said Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association based in Washington, DC.

Desert Mission, founded in 1927, remains an integral part of the mission of the John C. Lincoln Health Network, and the depth of community outreach offered is unusual among hospital and health care systems in the United States.

That couldn’t happen without the volunteers who provide hours of service along with in-kind donations and monetary donations, said Cindy Hallman, executive director of Desert Mission and a vice president in the John C. Lincoln Health Network. At a minimum each day, volunteers provide the equivalent of 18 full-time positions across the spectrum of Desert Mission services.

“It’s so inspiring to me to see how warm and welcoming our volunteers are with our clients, and just to know they want to be here to support us because they believe in our work at Desert Mission,” Hallman said. “They are here every day with smiles on their faces, helping our clients, and that energizes me and my staff to help our clients meet their challenges.”

Linda Llewellyn, director of Volunteer Services for the John C. Lincoln Health Network, added “I am so proud of our volunteers! Their service improves the quality of life for so many people.”

Phoenix City Councilman Bill Gates noted that “Desert Mission has a long, successful history of partnering with the City of Phoenix to provide the basics for people in need of a little help to get back on their feet. The work has been especially vital during these tough economic times, serving as many as 35,000 people each year. I commend the hundreds of Desert Mission volunteers who dedicate their time to making a difference in our community.”

“To build a healthy community takes an integrated approach,” Hallman said. “You can’t just give a family a food box at Thanksgiving or just give children vaccinations, although Desert Mission does both. You need to get to know each family and work together toward success at every level. Integrated care is positively correlated with improved outcomes and service.

“We work together with our clients to help guide them to the right combination of resources – food, dental help, housing help, behavioral intervention and early childhood education – to meet their needs, including public benefits and other human services programs available in the community, and to pursue self-sufficiency and success,” Hallman said.

Desert Mission clients come from the immediate service area of the North Mountain hospital, where the household income ranges between $16,000 and $123,000, and from 30 to 45 percent of the population is at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Nearly 100 percent of Desert Mission clients are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.”

In recent years, during the economic downturn, Desert Mission has seen significant increases in a different type of client – families in crisis who are from a higher socio-economic and education level and who historically have been self-sufficient. Ironically, this group includes former Desert Mission donors who now turn to Desert Mission for assistance.

phoenix, innovation, efficiency

Phoenix Receives Award For Innovation And Efficiency

The city of Phoenix has received an Outstanding Achievement in Innovation Award from the Alliance for Innovation, a nonprofit organization that promotes innovation among local governments.

Phoenix was recognized for its Innovation and Efficiency Task Force, which consists of members of the public and city staff. Under the Task Force’s direction, the city has saved more than $40 million by implementing such strategies as consolidating departments and functions, right-sourcing, eliminating paper pay stubs for employees, and other creative ideas.

“This award acknowledges the tremendous strides our city has made when it comes to streamlining our processes and saving tax payer dollars,” said Councilman Bill Gates, chairman of the Finance, Efficiency, Innovation and Sustainability Subcommittee. “There is no finish line when it comes to innovations and efficiencies. We will continue to explore every opportunity to better serve our residents and business owners while maximizing every dollar spent.”

“The city’s financial crisis in 2009 was an opportunity to galvanize the entire city,” said City Manager David Cavazos. “The private sector, policy makers and city employees worked together to come up with innovations and efficiencies that changed the way we deliver services to our customers.”

Over the next five years, total savings from innovations and efficiencies are expected to reach $125 million.

More than 70 cities and local government agencies applied for the innovation awards, which was presented at the Alliance’s annual conference.

“It was gratifying to see 700 local government professionals excited to recognize and learn about Phoenix’s Innovation and Efficiency Task Force concept. This innovative program, which partners the private and public sectors together to develop creative strategies and solutions, is now being highlighted as a leader in national best practices,” said Ed Zuercher, assistant city manager, who accepted the award for Phoenix at the conference.

For more information about the city’s innovation and efficiency program, visit phoenix.gov/efficiency.

Additional information about the Alliance for Innovation can be found at transformgov.org.

Arizona State University Tech Pioneer Honored

Arizona State University Honors Tech Pioneer As Executive Of The Year

On April 19, Dr. Irwin Jacobs, founding chairman and CEO emeritus of Qualcomm Incorporated, will be honored by Arizona State University for his incredible accomplishments that vaulted us all forward in the technology we use to communicate.

Qualcomm is a leading developer and innovator of advanced wireless technologies, products and services. The company’s portfolio includes thousands of U.S. and international patents on many of the most important inventions and innovations in wireless and related technologies.

“We’re proud to honor Dr. Jacobs for his amazing achievements that link us together through technology and communication,” says Robert Mittelstaedt, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “He is a visionary, who was a key player in satellite communications as far back as the 1960s, but his greatest impact began when he met with colleagues in his den in the 1980s to talk about forming a new company. Today, that company, Qualcomm, is one of the greatest American technology stories — and a publicly traded, Fortune 500 firm.”

Jacobs will become the 29th Executive of the Year chosen annually by the Dean’s Council of 100, a national group of prominent executives who advise the W. P. Carey School of Business. At the awards luncheon, he’ll speak to a Valley audience about his legacy – moving from a professor to an entrepreneur and greatly influencing a world that now has more than 6 billion cellular connections.

In addition to his immense success at Qualcomm, where Jacobs served as chairman and chief executive officer for 20 years, he is also known for his generous contributions to education, the arts and the environment. He and his wife, Joan, took the “Giving Pledge” — along with billionaires Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and others — to give away more than half of their fortune to philanthropy. He has also been involved in global efforts to support small business growth and better health care in emerging economies.

Jacobs taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of California, San Diego. He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Cornell University and master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from MIT, plus honorary degrees from seven other universities. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has received many industry, education and business accolades, including the National Medal of Technology, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Alexander Graham Bell Medal, the Financial Times Lifetime Achievement Award for 25 years in telecommunications, the IEEE and Royal Society of Edinburgh James Clerk Maxwell Award, and the Marconi Society Prize. He currently chairs the National Academy of Engineering and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

The event to honor Dr. Irwin Jacobs will be held Thursday, April 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort in Scottsdale. The W. P. Carey School of Business Dean’s Council of 100 chose Jacobs to follow previous winners, including Michael Dell, chairman and chief executive officer of Dell Inc.; Howard Schultz, chairman and chief executive officer of Starbucks Coffee Company; and Alan Mulally, president and chief executive officer of Ford Motor Company.

The event is part of the Economic Club of Phoenix speaker series. For more information about the club or to reserve seats, call (480) 965-6568, e-mail dc100exec@asu.edu or visit wpcarey.asu.edu/dc100.
National League of Cities Gathering

Phoenix Hosts National League Of Cities Gathering

Phoenix impresses peers as host of National League of Cities Gathering

Inviting municipal leaders from across the nation to spend nearly a week in your city requires great measures of confidence and hospitality. It is bold exercise in peer review, not unlike inviting Martha Stewart and Miss Manners to attend a dinner party you’re hosting, or inviting renowned golf architects Pete Dye and Tom Fazio to play a round on links you’ve built.

So last month, when the City of Phoenix welcomed more than 3,500 mayors, city councilpersons and municipal planners to town for the National League of Cities’ 2011 Congress of Cities and Exposition, it was no small undertaking.

The event, held at the Phoenix Convention Center, featured four concurrent conferences―Green Cities, Economic Development, Infrastructure and Your City’s Families. Civic-minded attendees heard from prominent speakers and issue experts, participated in leadership training sessions, attended leadership training sessions and visited mobile workshops across metropolitan Phoenix.

“Mobile workshops highlighted everything happening in Arizona cities, from sports to sustainability,” Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said.

When all the educational sessions and site tours and were over, Phoenix’s peers left impressed.

“We had a great time in Phoenix,” said Bluffton (Ind.) Mayor Ted Ellis, who was elected as the new president of the National League of Cities during the congress. “Coming to Phoenix allowed our members a number of opportunities to explore innovative ideas and programs in the city and the surrounding area. Between various workshop sessions and mobile tours, the city and the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau provided an in-depth exploration of the most pressing challenges cities are facing today.”

The mobile workshops took participants to the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, Civic Space Park and Downtown Public Market, and several City of Phoenix leaders leant their voices and expertise to the cause. Mayor Gordon and Councilman Michael Johnson spoke at the opening general session, Councilman Bill Gates spoke at Green Cities Conference opening session, and Deputy City Manager Rick Naimark spoke at the biomedical campus mobile workshop.

Phoenix Art Museum hosted 300 attendees at the Board of Director’s Dinner, and the Arizona Science Center was the site of the congress’ closing event on Nov. 12. Spouses of attendees were treated to tours of Desert Botanical Garden and downtown, and youth delegates experienced “Zoo Lights” at the Phoenix Zoo.

Attendees also got an up-close look at some of downtown’s newest developments, including the expanded Phoenix Convention Center, METRO light rail, Arizona State University’s Downtown Campus, CityScape, and the Sheraton and Westin hotels.
“This event was almost a decade in the making, and what better time to showcase downtown Phoenix than right now?” said Councilman Johnson, who, as the President of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, led tours and spoke at a number of events. “The feedback I received from conference attendees has been overwhelmingly positive. National League of Cities attendees were impressed with the quality of conference workshops, tours and other amenities Phoenix offers our visitors.”

The 2011 Congress of Cities generated an estimated $8.7 million dollars in direct spending for the city. It also gave city leaders the opportunity to demonstrate to their peers that Phoenix is a diverse and welcoming destination for meetings and conventions―a fact that has been clouded by the national debate over Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law.

The National League of Cities expressed opposition to Arizona’s SB1070 immigration law last year, and the group had felt pressure from some corners to pull the 2011 Congress of Cities out of the state. Instead, it chose to conduct the event in Phoenix as planned, and took the opportunity to add Immigrant Integration training seminars to the agenda. These seminars allowed attendees to learn about different programs and policies to integrate immigrants into the community―economically, socially and culturally.

Rebuffing critics who called for a boycott, the National League of Cities reaffirmed its decision to host the Congress of Cities in Phoenix, citing the following reasons:

To support Phoenix and Arizona cities and towns. The City of Phoenix and Arizona cities and towns have actively opposed to the state’s actions. As the nation’s oldest and largest organization representing cities nationally, we are going to Phoenix to support the efforts of the City and other Arizona cities and towns.

To promote and encourage constructive local action to integrate immigrants into the economic, social, and cultural fabric of cities through conference programming, training, and education.

As a continued call for comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level.

For more information about the National League of Cities, nlc.org.

Photo: TED / James Duncan Davidson.

TEDxPhoenix Brings Together Local Minds

TEDxPhoenix is bringing together Arizona’s thinkers and doers on Nov. 6 in the hopes of finding solutions to our local and global community’s problems.

The TEDx program aims to provide communities with an experience similar to the international TED conference.

TED began as a “Technology, Entertainment and Design” conference but has since become a forum for people to discover new ideas and possibilities and receive inspiration. The TED conference has been bringing together scientists, educators, adventurers, entrepreneurs, social activists and business leaders since 1984.  TED has drawn such big-name speakers as Bill Gates, Al Gore, Sir Richard Branson and Jane Goodall.

A staff of local volunteers, speakers and sponsors organized the nonprofit TEDxPhoenix event. Like the international TED conference, the second annual TEDxPhoenix lineup of speakers includes educators, innovators and community activists.

The list of speakers includes Lawrence M. Krauss, director and founder of Arizona State University’s Origins Initiative; Jany Deng, program manager of the Arizona Lost Boys Center; Kimber Lanning, community activist and Local First AZ founder; and Dry River Yacht Club, an acoustic symphony indie rock band; among others.

If You Go:
Tickets: $50
Date: Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010
Time: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Venue: Eight KAET Arizona PBS Studio A, 555 N. Central Ave.
Website: www.tedxphoenix.com