Net Worth: $7.2 Billion
Industry: Food and Retail
Notable Member(s): Hank Meijer
Claim to Fame: Meijer’s Supermarkets
Anyone from the Midwest might recognize the name Meijer from the popular chain of supermarkets that are spread across those states. The family has made several of Forbes’ lists, including being one of the 6 families from Michigan “worth 27.3 Billion.” The empire was first started by Hendrik Meijer in 1934, in Grand Rapids.
In fact, Hendrik Meijer has been given credit for being the person who came up with the modern supermarket idea to begin with – meaning that he was the first person who started selling grocery items in bulk at a store that also sold other, general items in bulk. The chain prides itself on each store being built from the ground up – they don’t like to buy out other stores. Today, Meijer has over 200 stores and is one of the fastest growing chains in the United States. Most of their stores are located throughout Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, although they have begun to expand further and further outside of the Midwest. The company is currently run by Doug and Hank Meijer.
The S.C. Johnsons
Net Worth: $29 Billion
Industry: Consumer goods
Notable Member(s): H.F Johnson
Claim to Fame: S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc.
The Johnson’s are one of the 25 richest families in the world that sit on over $1 trillion, combined. And, you can bet that at least 5 things in the room you’re in right now are from the S.C. Johnson company, who produces everything from toilet paper to bug spray. The family owns a countless number of major brands, including Pledge, Raid, Grand Prix, and Glade.
The empire was started back in 1886 by the S.C Johnson. At the time, the only thing the company manufactured was floor-cleaning supplies. One of the floor wax’s that he created happened to become extremely popular, which skyrocketed the business to success. In 1928, S.C’s son, H.F, took the reins. At the time, the company had just over 300 employees. Today, S.C. Johnson employs over 120,000 people around the world. The company prides itself on its equal-rights practices and the fact that they’ve always valued women in the workforce. Before the 1920s, women were in charge of multiple departments throughout the organization. Altogether, the brands owned by the Johnsons' bring in billions each year.
Net Worth: $5.5 Billion
Industry: Health and Wellness
Notable Member(s): Rishi Shah
Claim to Fame: Outcome Health
Rishi Shah most certainly made his family proud when he decided to turn his American dream into an empire that’s worth over $3.5 billion. He first developed the plans for his business in 2006 and began his hunt for investors soon after. In 2017 alone, he raised more than $500 million from huge investors like Goldman Sachs.
Shah, who acts as CEO for his company, Outcome Health, now has a net worth that’s over $2 billion, and he did it all himself. His idea was simple enough: putting touchscreens and tablets that promote products in the waiting rooms of doctor’s and dentist’s offices. Since its fairly recent beginning, Shah’s company has faced some turbulence in the form of lawsuits, like the one where his investors say he breached their contract and failed to give them all of the necessary information. Shah ended up resigning from his position as CEO due to the suit.
Net Worth: $2.5 Billion
Notable Member(s): Jerry Yang
Claim to Fame: Yahoo!
Jerry Yang met David Filo when he was attending Stanford and working as a software engineer. A couple of years after the pair started talking, they co-founded Yahoo and started raking in billions together. In fact, after they launched the site in 1994, it gained its first million views pretty quickly.
Yang moved to America from Taiwan when he was just 10 years old and says that only knew one word in English when he arrived: shoe. But 3 years later, he was fluent and on his way to a very bright future. In fact, after Yahoo started to see some major investments, Yang made MIT Technology Review’s list of the 100 top innovators under 35. Yang is married to his wife, Akiko, whom he also met while attending Stanford. He’s no longer involved with Yahoo, but he holds a seat on several boards, including The Lenovo Group, and often donates to charity. In 2017, the couple gave $25 million to the Asian Art Museum, the largest amount they’ve ever seen pledged.
Net Worth: $4 Billion
Industry: Construction and Defense
Notable Member(s): Brendan Bechtel
Claim to Fame: The Bechtel Corporation
The Bechtel name is attached to quite a few industries, including construction, finance, transportation, and defense. The Bechtel Corporation, which is based in Virginia, got its start all the way back in 1906 when Warren Bechtel helped build the Western Pacific Railroad. In 1919, they started to expand into other areas, such as hydroelectricity.
In the early 1930s, Bechtel did something legendary when he helped to create the Hoover Dam – a project which cost about $50 million, which would equal out to over $850 million in 2019. Then, during WWII, the company tried its hand at building warships and ended up making nearly 600 of them over a span of just 4 years. In the late ’40s, however, the corporation got its hands on a piece of the oil industry and helped build one of the world’s largest oil pipelines in the Middle East. In the 1950s, they began building nuclear power plants all over the world. The multinational mogul was ranked as the 8th largest private company in the United States by Forbes in 2017.