The 10 Richest People in Wisconsin
Wisconsin is ranked as the 25th largest state in the U.S. It lies at the center of Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, and Lake Superior. The main economic activities in the state are tourism, manufacturing, tourism, and agriculture. Agriculture is the most prioritized activity, with more focus on dairy farming. According to Census Bureau, the state is dominated by whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans in that order. The state’s dominant language is English. Wisconsin is famous for its Native American culture, which is demonstrated in the various museums in the state. With all these features, Wisconsin is one of the states in the U.S whose top 10 richest people are all billionaires. We will have a summary of them as per the latest ranking sources.
10. William Kellogg- $1 billion
William learned the fundamental dynamics of doing business from his father’s broom manufacturing business. Through his company, Kellogg Company, William holds a special place in determining the richest in the Wisconsin state. He was the seventh in a family of seventeen children. Through his associates, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, he holds majority shares in the company.
Kellogg Company has been at the forefront in the production of breakfast foods in the United States. According to Financial Slot, William had managed to move the company to be the leading market producer of packaged food. He was a generous philanthropist whose efforts remain to be appreciated. His contributions were crucial to establishing the California State Polytechnic in Pomona, California.
9. James S. Chanos- $1.5 billion
According to the Networth post, James Chanos was born in 1957 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Chanos founded Kynikos Associates and uses his company for short selling in stock exchange markets. Many business entities have called him the king of short selling in hedge funds. He schooled at Wylie E. Groves High School and, after that, attended Yale University, where he attained a degree in Political Science and Economics in 1980. Their family had a dry-cleaning business which he opted to leave after he finished schooling. His career started in 1980 when he worked for several banks.
After a while, his name started to emerge as the top-rated financial analyst in the region. He was appointed as the Vice President at the Deutsche Bank Capital Corporation. His aspirations made him quit, and he formed his company-Kynikos Associates. Chanos has been short-selling for companies such as Tyco International, Boston Chicken, Baldwin- United, Coleco, and others, contributing much to his total wealth. He is currently teaching at the Yale University School of Management, which brings him additional income. He serves as the New-York Historical Society’s trustee and is the Browning School’s President.
8. H. Fisk Johnson- $3.4 billion
H. Fisk Johnson is one of the most learned billionaires in Wisconsin. He has a Bachelor’s in Chemistry and Physics, a Master’s of Science in Physics, a Master’s in Engineering, an M.B.A. in Marketing and Finance, and a Ph.D. in Physics. He is based in Racine, Wisconsin. After completing his tertiary education, he started working for his family’s business, SC Johnson. He became the C.E.O. of the company in 2000 and later was appointed as Board’s Chairperson. The company is famous for its three major brands; Windex, Pledge, and Off. SC Johnson has been handed over from one generation to another.
Fisk leads the fifth generation in running the business. Most other family members have remained quiet, only letting Fisk appear in public on their behalf. However, Helen, his sister who runs Johnson Outdoors and Johnson Financial, randomly appears in the press. The family has donated significantly to social and environmental organizations such as the Mayo Clinic and Smithsonian. The Johnsons have contributed to the financial campaigns of both Republicans and Helen.
7. Helen Johnson-Leipold- $3.5 billion
Helen Johnson-Leipold comes from the famous Johnsons of Racine, Wisconsin. Like her siblings, she attended Cornell University. Helen is the founder and the C.E.O. of Johnson Financial and Johnson Outdoors. Johnson Outdoors provides camping services and offers supplies to different military stations. Together with her brother, H. Fisk Johnson, are the public liaison channels for SC Johnson.
She chairs the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread-this is one of the buildings that the Johnsons oversee, and the respected Frank-Lloyd-Wright designed it. After her brother, S. Curtis Johnson was arrested for sexual contact with a child; she briefly took charge of Diversey, Inc.; -a family business. The family later sold the subsidiary, making it the first to sell after the business came into existence. She joined her siblings in donating to the construction of the S.C. Johnson School of Business. Helen has five children and is married to Craig Leipold.
6. S. Curtis Johnson- $3.5 billion
S. Curtis Johnson is based in Racine, Wisconsin. He attended Cornell University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree. He proceeded to Northwestern University, where he did his master’s degree. After school, Curtis started working in his grandfather’s SC Johnson and Co company. He is an openly staunch supporter of the republican party, where he has made several contributions.
Curtis was the former Chairperson of Diversey, Inc., a subsidiary owned by SC Johnson. In 2011 he was charged and later convicted of a sexual assault offense. He served three months in jail after he had admitted to committing two sexual misdemeanors. Johnson has been involved in some business conflicts, with one forcing him to sell a part of his company to settle the matter. He was married to Tracie Stier-Johnson from 2001 to 2016. Together with his siblings, they managed to commit $ 150 million in funding the SC Johnson College of Business.
5. James Cargill II- $5.3 billion
James Cargill hails from the famous Cargill empire. His great grandfather established the Cargill Corporation in 1865. According to The Pentagraph, James is the 12 heir to the business. He is married with two children and lives a very private life, explaining why he would choose Birchwood, Wisconsin, as his place of residence. The business is 90% owned by family members.
Initially, the company was a grain store business that grew into one of the best family-owned businesses in food production, commodity trading, risk management, and cattle. James is involved in social leadership activities. He is one of the sitting board members of the National Air Museum and the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has also bought some shares in the SolarAtic company. His philanthropic works include donations to several art centers.
4. Judy Faulkner- $7.2 billion
Judy Faulkner graduated from Dickson College and then proceeded to the University of Wisconsin for her master’s Degree. She is the founder and the C.E.O. of Epic Systems. She is currently based in Madison, Wisconsin. Her company, Epic Systems, specializes in designing and implementing health care records software systems. The company has grown at a very high rate to become the best supplier of records software in the U.S. Among the applications manufactured by Epic Systems, there are: ‘Bed Time,’ and ‘Care Everywhere”.
The former share patient information with much ease. It is a hospital bed management system while the other helps different parties. Though she is a billionaire, Ms. Faulkner is media shy and admires having an ordinary life. In January 2022, she picked up a severe battle with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by sending letters to all her hospital customers urging them not to accept rules the department was proposing on sharing medical information. Her position was that this would create breachers in the patients’ privacy.
3. Herbert Kohler, Jr & Family- $7.6 billion
Herbert Kohler is a graduate of Yale University, class of 1972. After completing his studies, he joined their family business created by his grandfather in 1873. He passed over from one generation to the other. Currently, he is the C.E.O. of a family-owned enterprise. Initially, the company was focused on manufacturing farm tools, hitching posts, and commentary ornaments. Kohler Co. is one of the world’s most commanding kitchen and bathroom fixing companies.
It also prides itself as one of those companies contributing to space exploration. The company is also involved in producing engines, tiles, furniture, and generators to diversify its operations. He has a lovely, enthusiastic life and owns two golf courses and resorts in the state. His golf courses have been used to host some famous golf tournaments. The Women’s U.S. Open, Ryder’s Cup, and P.G.A. Championships tournaments are some of the tournaments he has hosted. He has a third golf course and resort called the Old Course Hotel in Scotland. According to The New York Times, Kohler Company experienced one of the most prolonged strikes in the history of American companies. The strike lasted for more than five years and was settled after protracted and vigorous litigation.
2. Diane Hendricks- $13.1 billion
Diane is a household name in the politics of Wisconsin. In the reelection of the Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker, she was the single most significant donor, having contributed $ 510000. Diane is the C.E.O. and the founder of A.B.C. Supply. in the current American roofing, window, and siding market, A.B.C. is the largest distributor. In addition to her business, she has much passion for filming. Diane is the producer of “An American Carol” and “The Stoning of Soraya M.” among others.
Her company, A.B.C. Supply, has more than 800 branches in different parts of the U.S. Before she met her Husband Ken, she used to sell homes for her former builder-employer. With her late Husband Ken, they founded the Hendricks Family Foundation, which has been the gateway through which she conducts her philanthropic works. She also wears the hat of the underwriter of the Wisconsin Eye Public Affairs network. In 2010 and 2016, she demonstrated how brutal she could be in business by acquiring her two competitors. She bought Bradco and L&W Supply in different years, respectively.
1. John Menard- $ 18.9 billion
John Menard started his business activities at a young age. He was born in 1940. In 1958 he had already opened a construction company. Forbes reported that by 2020 he had over 300 stores estimated to be $ 11.8 million. His company Menards focuses on home improvement in the Midwest of the U.S., and he has developed much interest in fancy cars. Menard influenced his son, Paul Menard, to get into motorsports. He has some shares at NASCAR. His love for the game saw him winning the car at the 2019 Indy 500.
This was his first win after attempting to do so for 40 years. He has not gone to the top by mere luck; he is famous for his strict time management principles. He would direct all his top executives to have clock timers in their offices. Menards’ company has been facing competition from Home Depot and Lowe’s. Still, he has maintained to outshine them in his territory. His company has been accused of brainwashing its employees by teaching them right-wing ideologies. In The Menards employee booklet, employees are reminded that if they have any problem, they should be aware that it is the government’s fault but not the company’s. He does not shy away from making political statements that some have described as politically irresponsible.
The wealthiest billionaires in Wisconsin have diversified their areas of investment. One of their most common features is the ability to evolve with time. As times move on, they have been either changing their primary products or inventing new products. The state is also an excellent example of how family businesses can be passed from one generation to another. Economy and financial scholars can take their time and establish what has led to business survival here.
The Jacksons must be pointed out; it will be interesting for scholars to watch how long their kingdom prospers. The rich in Wisconsin are concerned about the welfare of their employees and Jackson’s lead in this area. They even constructed a school for their employees’ children. Comparative analysis of authoritative sources indicates that all billionaires in Wisconsin increased their net worth during the covid period. The list will be subjected to necessary change as time goes on.