Minnesota native Glen A. Taylor enjoys the privilege of being one of the state’s richest men, a status he’s earned from a 6-decade long career that’s taken in industry, politics, media and sport. After developing a small print store into a multi-million-dollar enterprise, Taylor’s career took a new direction in 1994 when he acquired majority ownership of Minnesota Timberwolves NBA basketball team. In the following years, he’d go on to tighten his grip on the industry with the acquisition of the Minnesota Lynx WNBA in 1999, and the purchase of the Iowa Energy (later to be re-branded the Iowa Wolves) in 2017. Read on to discover more about the intrepid entrepreneur.
1. He received an MBA from Harvard
The prominent businessman was born in Springfield, Minnesota. He spent his formative years chasing chickens and pigs around his family’s farm in Comfrey, before attending, and ultimately graduating from, Comfrey High School in 1959. He subsequently enjoyed several years of student life at Minnesota University before leaving with his Bachelor of Science in mathematics, physics and social science in 1962. After deciding to further his education later down the line, Taylor topped off his list of scholarly achievements with an executive MBA from Harvard Business School.
2. He bought his first company for $10 million
While studying at University, Taylor took on the occasional shift at the Mankato print shop, Carlson Wedding Service. After graduating, he took on a full-time position at the store, and spent the next few years getting to grips with the practicalities of running a business. In 1975, Taylor made the bold move of buying the company from then owner, Bill Carlson, for $2 million, to be paid in installments over a 10-year period. He ultimately ended up paying his debt back early, and the store would go on to form the foundations for the hugely successful printing and electronics corporation, Taylor Corporation. Taylor continues to serve as chairman of the business to this day.
3. He was a State Senator
Taylor doesn’t only have an interest in business- he’s equally passionate about politics. Between 1981 and 1990, Taylor served as the Republican Minnesota State Senator. Taylor considers himself a “moderate” Republican, claiming to be as equally inclined to listen to a good argument from a Democrat as he is from a Republican. “I think that people that worked with me over at the legislature will know that I am a person who can take in many different viewpoints,” he told WCCO.
4. He once paid $10k for a Bachmann-Palin photo op
In 2010, Taylor dolled out a massive $10,000 for the opportunity to be pictured next to Sarah Palin (the infamous leader of the Tea Party Movement) and Michele Bachman (the equally conservative founder of the House Tea Party Caucus). The photo op took place at an invitation only reception and dinner at the Minneapolis Hilton Hotel. While the proceeds of the fundraising event didn’t line the pockets of two Republican firebrands directly, it did help the political ambitions of at least one of them. As the Huffington Post revealed, of the funds raised, $2,400 would go towards Bachman’s primary election fund, $2,400 would go to her general election fund, and up to $10,000 would be donated to the Republican Party of Minnesota.
5. He bought the Star Tribune for $100 million
In 2014, Taylor acquired the Star Tribune in a deal worth a reported $100 million. Some readers of the popular newspaper were concerned he’d lead the traditionally liberal-leaning Tribune down a more conservative alley, while others were concerned with the implications of having a political player direct news coverage. However, Taylor was keen to downplay the idea his political inclinations would lead to a slip in journalistic standards. “My expectations of the paper are my principles of accuracy, consistency and that both sides of the picture are there; let’s show both sides,” he said.
6. He’s donated more than $70,000 to the Republican Party
Over the years, Taylor has donated approximately $70,000 to the Republican Party. However, his generosity came to an end in 2012 when he lost faith in the Party’s leadership. According to Taylor, he tends to be bi-partisan when it comes to donations, preferring to contribute to a candidate with a dynamic personality and a shared ideology, rather than with one with a particular party leaning. “I look at people who are closer to my viewpoint,” Taylor said in a Star Tribune interview.
7. He’s a keen philanthropist
Taylor has donated millions of dollars to charitable causes over the years (and not just to the Republican Party). One of the main beneficiaries of his generosity is his former Alma mater, Minnesota University. In 2008, Taylor gifted $8 million to the university, which went towards establishing the Glen Taylor Nursing Institute for Family and Society, along with an endowed faculty chair and a doctoral program in Nursing. “Nurses have always played a critical role in the health-care system, and in the future they will be more important than ever to the well-being of families,” Taylor explained. “We know that the new endowed chair, the Nursing Institute and the doctoral fellowships at Minnesota State Mankato will create models that will help nurses better serve all families.”
8. He’s won multiple awards
As you’d expect, Taylor’s long and successful career has seen him honored with multiple awards, titles and tributes. Among his most notable accolades are a Mankato Area Distinguished Service Award, a Mankato State University Distinguished Alumni Award, a “Book of Golden Deeds” Award, the Toastmasters International “Communication & Leadership” Award and a Distinguished Service Award from the Minnesota Association for Education of Young Children. He can also boast several honorary degrees, including an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Graphic Arts from South Central College, and an Honorary Doctor of Law degree from Mankato State University.
9. He’s been married twice
Taylor first got married at 16, after his then girlfriend fell pregnant. The marriage dissolved after Taylor fathered a child out of wedlock, but he’d find happiness again years later when he married Becky Mulvihill. Taylor had known the Mulvihill family for years, and had been a close friend of Becky’s husband, Jim, before he passed away from cancer. After Becky’s children subtly let Taylor know their mom was ready for new love, they pair began dating, finally making things official in 2007. Taylor has 5 grown children (Terri, Jean, Taylor, Jeff and Kendahl) and more than 20 grandchildren.
10. His Net Worth is $2.3 billion
Thanks to his many and varied business interests, Taylor has accrued a very healthy net worth of $2.3 billion… a fortune that has earned him a place on Forbes 400, and a status as one of the richest people in America.