Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced that K. Michael Ingram, founder, chairman and chief executive officer, El Dorado Holdings, Inc., has been selected for membership in this prestigious organization. Ingram joins 12 other exceptional business, civic and cultural leaders from across North America in receiving 2019 honors in Washington, D.C, April 4-6. For more than 70 years, the Horatio Alger Award has been annually bestowed upon esteemed individuals who have succeeded despite facing adversities, and who have remained committed to higher education and charitable endeavors throughout their lives.
A visionary real estate developer who has created a lasting legacy in Arizona, Ingram is a respected businessman, civic and community leader. With a strong work ethic and passion for business, Ingram turned around a challenging childhood to become a self-made entrepreneur and philanthropist.
The Horatio Alger Association supports Scholars who have faced adversities similar to those Ingram overcame.
“Growing up, I never would have imagined that the adversity I faced would one day be a catalyst for my achievements,” said Ingram. “With the support of my family, friends and mentors, I’ve been able to chase my dreams without fear. It is a tremendous gift to receive this recognition, and I hope that my story will encourage the impressive Scholars that the Association supports to pursue their own goals.”
Ingram was born and raised in a small rural farming community in New Mexico as an only child. From a young age, he worked at The Navajo, a motel his parents owned and operated. At age 11, his father passed away, forcing Ingram to take on more responsibility to support his family. To help his mother pay the mortgage, Ingram held several jobs at the motel, including serving as chambermaid, desk clerk, maintenance man and more. In addition to this, he bailed hay for a local farmer for one dollar an hour and lifeguarded at the public swimming pool. While pursuing his undergraduate degree at New Mexico State University, he worked between 40 and 60 hours a week, yet graduated on time and debt-free.
Following his graduation in 1966, Ingram worked at Merck & Company, Inc., one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, where he was the top veterinary pharmaceutical salesman for four years. In 1972, he took on the role of president at Tufts & Sons of Oklahoma, Inc., a distributor of animal health and home and garden products, which he grew from one salesman to 100 with more than $100 million in annual sales. But when the oil crisis struck, Ingram was forced to sell his company at a loss. Left with nothing, he and his family moved to Phoenix in 1987, ready to start over. That same year, he founded El Dorado Holdings, Inc. with a staff of one and a single escrow property south of Phoenix – John Wayne’s El Dorado Ranch. Now, 30 years later, the company is one of the largest private landholders in the Southwest region, with assets exceeding $1 billion.
As the managing member of more than 110 successful real estate partnerships totaling over 83,000 acres, El Dorado Holdings has been responsible for the entitlement or development of more than 37,800 residential lots and 2,000 acres of commercial and industrial properties. Of significant note, Ingram played a leading role in developing the City of Maricopa, Arizona. To lay the groundwork for growth, El Dorado Holdings spearheaded the drive to have Maricopa Road, then a two-lane country road, accepted into the state highway system. The project included obtaining funding from federal, state and county entities as well as the passage of a $10 million district improvement bond. This undertaking also involved the cooperation of both the Gila River Indian Community and the Ak-Chin Indian Community. El Dorado Holdings has developed Rancho El Dorado, Maricopa’s flagship master-planned community that embraces the area’s ranch and agricultural history and also the growing urbanization. Maricopa has boosted its population by more than 4,000 percent since 2000, making it the fastest growing city in Arizona.
His most recent property ripe for development is Douglas Ranch, a 33,810-acre community in Buckeye, Ariz., with a population expected to grow to 300,000. “An Arizona City of the Future,” Douglas Ranch is one of the largest single-entity owned and entitled developments in the United States. Interstate 11, a planned interstate from Mexico to Canada, will run through Douglas Ranch, opening the West Valley to increased housing and commerce opportunities. Ingram has been a leading proponent of Interstate 11, which will establish a new “Intermountain West Commerce Corridor,” generate thousands of jobs and enhance international freight transportation and trade. It will also connect military bases in the West and provide relief for the congestion of Interstate 5.
One of Ingram’s greatest passions is giving back to his community and his country. He has served on the boards of multiple organizations, including Arizona-Mexico Commission, U.S. Department of Interior International Wildlife Conservation Council, National Rifle Association Hunting & Wildlife Conservation Committee, Safari Club International Foundation, Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) Foundation, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, C.M. Russell Museum Ambassador and Emeritus Board, and Emeritus Boards of Barrow Neurological Institute Foundation, Mayo Clinic Arizona Leadership Council, Goldwater Institute, Arizona Commerce Authority, Joe Foss Institute, Southern Nazarene University Foundation, and Scottsdale Museum of the West. Ingram is also actively involved in Pinnacle Forum, Focus on the Family, and Campus Crusade for Christ and its ministries within. In addition, he is one of the owners of the Arizona Diamondbacks, a Major League Baseball team.
Through its Members, Horatio Alger Association aims to educate young people about the limitless opportunities afforded to them by the free-enterprise system. To further this mission, the organization awards scholarships to outstanding high school students who are committed to pursuing higher education and giving back to their communities. Like Association Members, Horatio Alger Scholars have faced significant adversities, but have also displayed unmatched resilience in overcoming their challenges. Since the scholarship program was established in 1984, Horatio Alger Association has provided more than $159 million to students in need, all of which has been funded solely through the generosity of Association Members and friends.
“An innate quality that we see amongst both our Members and Scholars is generosity,” said Matthew Rose, president, Horatio Alger Association and 2013 Horatio Alger Award recipient. “They care deeply for others and often put the needs of loved ones ahead of their own. Through all of the challenges Michael faced, his family was always a priority for him. His commitment to his mother, his wife and his children, no matter the cost, is admirable. We are honored to induct such a generous individual into our organization.”
“Ingram has faced challenges at many points throughout his life and has overcome them at every turn,” said Terrence J. Giroux, executive director, Horatio Alger Association. “His own personal story mirrors those of our Scholars, and his track record of success, despite setbacks, is a shining example of the American Dream. His induction into the Horatio Alger Association will have a lasting and profound impact on our organization.”
Ingram and the Member Class of 2019 will be formally inducted into the Association, April 4-6, 2019, during the Association’s 72nd Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C. The annual three-day event honors the achievements of both Members and National Scholars, affording both groups the opportunity to meet and interact as well as exchange stories of hardships and triumphs. For more information about Horatio Alger Association and its Member Class of 2019, please visit www.horatioalger.org and/or follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #HoratioAlgerAward.