Close Close

Practice Management > Building Your Business

50 of the wealthiest people in America, by state: Part 1

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

However, the blog also mentions how most of the people on this list have “some sort of college degree, but years spent studying on campus isn’t necessarily a prerequisite to striking it rich.” One example is Bill Gates, who dropped out of college, and ranks as the wealthiest of them all.

Another good point that the post highlights is the extreme wealth gap between the “mega wealthy and the average American.” An interactive map presents the division between the mega-wealthy and the average wealth of regions around the country.

Keep on reading to find out who is the richest person in your state in this five-part article series, listed from the “least super-mega rich” to the “king of the super-mega rich.”

Disclaimer: Some numbers can be different from Forbes, but this article follows the numbers provided by Movoto’s map.

alaska aurora borealis


50. Alaska: Robert Gillam; financial guru – $700 Million

Founder of McKinley Capital Management, LLC, Robert Gillam is a successful businessman who is currently the president and CEO of his company. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Wharton School of Business and an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles. With more than 40 years of experience in the financial industry under his belt, he was a General Partner of Boettcher and Company and an Allied Member of the New York Stock Exchange, and has held other prominent positions in the industry.  

Sources: McKinley


49. Delaware: Robert Gore; co-inventor of Gore-Tex – $830 Million

Robert Gore and his father Bill Gore invented a waterproof yet breathable fabric called Gore-Tex. Born in Salt Lake City, UT, Robert went to the University of Delaware where in 1957 he discovered a way to insulate wires with PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) while he was still a sophomore. In 1958, his father, Bill, founded a company in the basement of his home that specialized in manufacturing flouropolymers called W.L. Gore & Associates. Meanwhile, Robert completed his graduate studies at the University of Minnesota with an MS and PhD in chemical engineering. He created the Gore-Tex fabric in 1969 by expanding the PTFE wires. From 1976 to 2000, Robert was president of W.L. Gore & Associates and currently is the chairman of the board of directors. The company makes everything from clothes for specific environmental conditions, shoes, to guitar strings and medical devices.

( Photo: In this Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, photo, Cynthia Amon holds footwear with Gore-Tex Surround product technology at the Outdoor Retailer’s summer show, in Salt Lake City. The biannual show brings thousands to Utah. The world’s largest outdoor-gear trade show runs Wednesday through Saturday at the Salt Palace Convention Center. AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Sources: Forbes,, University of Delaware

leon gorman

48. Maine: Leon Gorman; the L.L. Bean legacy – $860 Million

Grandson of the founder of the retail empire L.L. Bean, Leon A. Gorman headed the company for many years until 1999. Gorman is credited for taking a $2 million business and turning it into a billion-dollar enterprise. They have kept their customer service promise they made since their beginnings and specialize in catalog sales, rather than brick-and-mortar stores. His grandfather is credited with inventing in 1911 the Maine Hunting Shoe, a boot that would keep feet comfortable and dry.

(Photo: Leon A. Gorman, who is stepping down as president and chief executive officer of L.L. Bean, sits outside one of the company’s stores in Freeport, Maine, in May 1999. AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Sources: Forbes, L.L. Bean

theodore roosevelt national park


47. North Dakota: Gary Tharaldson; hotel magnate – $900 Million  

A North Dakotan through and through, Gary Tharaldson was born and raised in the town of Dazey (population 105 in 2013). From farmhand in high school, his path to fortune started with the purchase of a Super 8 Motel in Valley City, ND. He then founded Tharaldson Hospitality Management in the early 1980s, a hospitality business that operates and maintains several hotels in the U.S. In 2006, he sold 130 hotels to Whitehall Real Estate Fund, Goldman Sach’s real estate business, for $1.2 billion… in cash. He then invested in key land properties in various states. Tharaldson graduated from Valley City State Univeristy (in ND, of course) and was also in the insurance business full time before getting into the hotel business.


Birmingham AL


46. Alabama: Marguerite Harbert; construction empire heiress – $1.2 Billion

Marguerite Jones Harbert inherited her fortune from her husband, John M. Harbert III, who was a construction titan and founder of Harbert Corporation, and whom she met in grade school. The company was one of the largest construction companies in the world and had offices worldwide, but was sold in the early 1990s to Raytheon Engineers & Constructors. To date, the international division of the company still has its headquarters in Birmingham, AL, though it is owned by John’s brother Bill L. Harbert. Also, Marguerite’s son Raymond J. Harbert started an investment management firm in 1993 called Harbert Management Corporation which today handles over $20.3 billion in assets.

Sources: Forbes;



45. New Mexico: Maloof Brothers; former basketball team owners – $1 Billion

Gavin Maloof and his siblings, Adrienne, Joe, George J. and Phil, operated the Sacramento Kings NBA team franchise until last year. But their fortune comes from their family, who originally had distributed the rights of Coors Beer in the Southwest since 1937. They opened The Palms hotel and casino in Las Vegas in 2000, but only own 2 percent of it today. They also diversified their business ventures with Maloof Productions (TV), Maloof Music and organized skateboarding competitons. 

(Photo: Sacramento Kings owner Gavin Maloof, right, reacts after Los Angeles Lakers’ Shaquille O’Neal midded a free throw, while Maloof’s brother Joe watches during the second half in 2002, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Sources: ForbesThe New York Times


44. Idaho: Frank VanderSloot; the wellness guy – $1.2 Billion

Originally from a poor family, Frank L. VanderSloot grew up on a farm in Idaho Falls, ID. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management at Brigham Young University, and held two “key management positions with two Fortune 500 companies,” according to the Melaleuca, Inc.’s website, the company that he co-founded and of which he currently presides over as CEO. VanderSloot also made the news in 2008 and 2012 as Mitt Romney’s finance co-chair. He also owned a cheese factory and a construction company, and still owns Riverbend Communications, a group of radio statios in eastern Idaho. You can watch a YouTube video of a series of interviews that a local newstation did on VanderSloot’s life.

Sources: ForbesMelaleuca

jon huntsman


43. Utah: Jon Huntsman, Sr.; polystyrene magnate – $1.2 Billion

He started by mowing lawns and picking potatoes for 6 cents a sack in Blackfoot, Idaho. His family moved to Palo Alto, Calif., while his father went to Stanford University. Huntsman attended Palo Alto High School, where he became student body president. He then received a scholarship to attend the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He served in the U.S. Navy some time after that and earned an MBA from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business. In 1982, he founded Huntsman Chemical and begain purchasing chemical companies, the most notable of which was a deal struck in 1994 for $1.06 billion for Texaco’s petrochemical operation. He has survived cancer two times and founded an institute to find a cure for the disease. He recently published an autobiography: ”Barefoot to billionaire; reflections on a life’s work and a promise to cure cancer.”

(Jon Huntsman, Sr. looks on during a book signing at Deseret Books Friday, Oct. 3, 2014, in Salt Lake City. AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Sources:  Forbes, FoxBusiness


42. South Dakota: T. Denny Sanford; the first premiere – $1.3 Billion

Thomas Denny Sanford began building his fortune as the owner of First Premier Bank and Premier Bankcard. He currently is the chairman and CEO of United National Corp., a bank holding company. Born and raised in Minnesota, he graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree of psychology. He is infamous in the business world for his low-limit Mastercards and Visa cards to “credit-impared” customers. But he is also known as philantropist and made #33 on the Forbes 50 Best Givers list. 

(Photo: In this Feb. 3, 2007 file photo, South Dakota philanthropist T. Denny Sanford speaks with reporters in Sioux Falls. Sanford was one of two South Dakotans ranked on the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of 50 most generous givers in the country in 2013. AP Photo/Carson Walker, File)


tom benson

41. Louisiana: Tom Benson; Mr. New Orleans – $1.5 Billion

What doesn’t Tom Benson own? That should be the question, since he owns: a 26-story office building, named after him; New Orleans’ Fox affliliate; auto dealerships; the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and the NBA’s Pelicans. Born and raised in New Orleans, he started working as a car salesman when he was offered part ownership of a struggling dealership in San Antonio, Texas. He was able to make that dealership successful and then became full owner of Tom Benson Chevrolet. He made his fortune by investing his profits in various banks. He is also a known philantropist.

(Photo: New Orleans Pelicans Eric Gordon (10) hugs team co-owner Rita Benson LeBlanc as they set up for a group photo with owner Tom Benson, seated, and his wife Gayle Benson, at the Pelicans NBA basketball media day in Metairie, La., Monday, Sept. 29, 2014. At left are Pelicans Omer Aski, Anthony Davis (23) and at right are Ryan Anderson (33) and NBA photographer Layne Murdoch, Jr. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Sources: Forbes,

See also:

50 of the wealthiest people in America, by state: Part 2

50 of the wealthiest people in America, by state: Part 3

50 of the wealthiest people in America, by state: Part 4

The 10 wealthiest people in America


© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.