The richest person in every state, by industry

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You might think every American state is overrun with tech billionaires, given the amount of press they get, but Forbes shows that the richest person in each state is more likely to have made their fortune in fashion, retail, finance, or investing:

In all, we recorded 52 people (there were ties in two states) worth an aggregate $747 billion — up from $682 billion last year. Nearly 70% of them, or 36 people, are wealthier than last year; only 12 saw a decline in the value of their net worth. Their fortunes average $14.4 billion, up from $12.6 billion in 2016.

They made their money in industries as varied as the states they call home. The most popular industries for minting a state-leading fortune: fashion & retail, and finance & investments. These sectors each claim 8 list members. Next up is food & beverage, with 5, followed by a three-way tie between manufacturing, media & entertainment, and technology, with 4 apiece.

Forbes has extensive coverage of their 2017 list in case you're wondering whom the poor in your state will eat first in the uprising.

The Richest Person in Every State (Forbes)


A tax free after life awaits everyone of them.


I wonder if there is any overlap with the map of the most morally bankrupt people is each state…


It really seems like fashion and retail is pretty much two different categories in the era of the superstore.

I my state it’s Alice Walton - a woman who has murdered someone with her car and never had charges pressed. She drives drunk, gets in wrecks, and either doesn’t get charged with anything or when there is a charge, it’s dropped.


Man, didn’t know Zuckerberg was worth more than Charles Koch. Then again, if you combine the brother’s power, you get near $100B.

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Forbes is glossing over the truth in the case of Delaware, don’t know about the rest.

Bob Gore’s wealth is inherited. He made his fortune by the clever ploy of being born to the right parents. Unsurprisingly, he is not the man his father was - that’s how that works, generally. Aristocracies tend to naturally devolve over time, it’s not really his fault.

Elizabeth Snyder is his sister. I haven’t met her, and don’t know any of her friends, and so cannot comment on her character, but the source of her wealth is the same.

Their father’s wealth was made in manufacturing. He was an engineer and inventor at DuPont who left that company to to commercialize technology products that DuPont believed could not be made profitably (various kinds of teflon coated ribbon wiring, such as the self-rolling cables used in military and rackmount applications). W. L. Gore went on to create Gore-Tex and several other selectively permeable membrane products and to this day the company employs many Delawareans profitably doing real honest work. It has a weird management culture that was originally created by the Old Man as a rejection of DuPont’s moribund conventional corporate culture. Mrs. Gore (Bill’s wife Vieve) was a co-founder of the company and a force to be reckoned with both within the organization and in Delaware society generally; she was a very respected, dynamic, and competent woman entrepreneur.


I would have expected that the answer would ultimately be “finance and investment” for every state, regardless of how the individuals started to accumulate their wealth.


There may be. Speaking only for my own state, and for the neighboring state (I work at that person’s company) these two individual’s are good people. They genuinely care about the region, and associates that work for them. They have established multiple programs to assist the communities, and are very charitable.

Sometimes being filthy rich, doesn’t mean you have a filthy soul.


Interesting family. I also like that the company is still private.
However, according to Wiki -

“Bob Gore joined the company in 1963 upon completion of a Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the University of Minnesota. In 1969, he was researching a process for stretching extruded PTFE into pipe thread tape when he discovered that the polymer could be “expanded.” The discovery followed a series of unsuccessful experiments in which he was attempting to stretch rods of PTFE by about 10%. As it turned out, the right conditions for stretching PTFE were counterintuitive. Instead of slowly stretching the heated material, he applied a sudden, accelerating yank that unexpectedly caused it to stretch about 800%. This resulted in the transformation of the solid PTFE into a microporous structure that was about 70% air. The company initially referred to this new material as “fibrillated PTFE”. One year later, it was given the name of “Gore-Tex expanded PTFE”.”

I mean, I would expect states with a lively tech sector to be overrun with tech billionaires…other ones not as much. The richest per state is a novel presentation, but statistically very not informative…


I don’t think the Kochs will be eaten first. They have a compound even the Kansas DOT couldn’t penetrate, having to divert main roads around it. They’ll be dug in like ticks.


Gore-tex and teflon itself are both products of serendipity; and the people who are generally credited with “accidental invention” of them are to be respected and commended for their ability to recognize the value of what they’d stumbled on, and convince others of that value.

I’m not trying to say Bob Gore isn’t a competent and knowledgeable man. Nor am I trying to say he doesn’t or hasn’t worked for a living. But Bob Gore’s wealth is inherited, as was his position in the company his father built. He gained it by birth, by being the heir to his father.

And I wonder how many more of those in this list fit that profile as well.


Well, the Waltons in AK certainly do.


And 40,000 years ago, some curmudgeonly caveman no doubt had the same dissenting review of the recently released product called “fire”.

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I’m not trying to deprecate Bob Gore’s achievements as a chemist and inventor.

I am disputing the idea that his invention was the source of his wealth. He did not raise himself from an economically unprivileged to an economically privileged position. That was his parents who did that.

His wealth is inherited.   Full stop.


Not necessarily a bad thing. The whole Renaissance thing happened because enough people got rich enough they could could have some family members piddle around with vats of piss, discovering phosphorus and the like.


I prefer the rarely-realized American Dream of meritocracy, personally, but you’ve got a valid point.

As does the Walton in Texas.

I really could not stomach any Walton whomsoever, Alice or no. So, please, when the revolution comes, do not ask me to the table. I prefer them in the garbage.

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