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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Most of the billionaires in the world usually graduated from Ivy League schools but not Micky Jagtiani. Though born from a well off family in India, Micky’s personal life involved him driving a taxi in London prior to putting up his own billion dollar enterprise.

Educated in Mumbai and in Beirut, he moved to London to join an accounting school, which he eventually dropped out from. As a college dropout, he drove a taxi in the streets of London to support his daily needs prior to his move to Bahrain to assume his family’s business. When the entire family died, he inherited $6,000 which he used to put up his Landmark Group. The venture became a retail conglomerate with 1,300 stores in 20 countries.

With a net worth of $5 billion, he is considered as the 13th richest man in India and 329th in the world. Part of his new venture is a budget hotel chain and Fitness First Gyms where he invested more than $150 million to develop and expand.

Known for founding the industrial parks in Israel and in neighboring countries, Stef Wertheimer is a German-born Israeli and a former member of the Knesset, the unicameral national legislature of Israel. As of 2013, his family is known as the richest family in Israel.

With a net worth of $4.4 billion, he made the headlines in 2006 when Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway showed interest over his carbide industrial tool manufacturer company. ISCAR was his business that he founded in the garage of his backyard. Having drawn international attention, he finally succumbed to the proposition of selling 80% of his stake in the company. The 20% remaining is now being managed by his son Eitan. The company is now considered as the largest manufacturer of carbide industrial cutting tools. Among its big clients are Ford and General Motors and several other carmakers. It has more than 6,000 employees and has presence in over 50 countries.

When he sold ISCAR to Warren Buffett’s business conglomerate, he was left with Blades Technology Ltd. which is considered one of the largest manufacturers of blades and vanes for industrial gas turbines and jet engines. Among his clients are MTU Aero Engines, Solar Turbines, Techspace Aero, Snecma and Rolls-Royce.

Apart from the businesses that he founded, Stef Wertheimer is best known for his philanthropic works. He has always been a strong forerunner between the peace talks and negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian territories. He has devoted more than $100 million to back his methods of creating a lasting peace between the two. His industrial parks provide rent-free working space for those industrial start-ups in Israel.

Because of his works, he was honored with various awards like the Oslo Business for Peace Award in 2010. He also received in 1991 the Israel Prize for his contributions to the society and economy of Israel and in 2008 received the Buber-Rozenweig-Medal.

David Irving Oreck is an American business salesman, entrepreneur, and lecturer, better known as the marketer and founder of the Oreck Corporation, an air purifier and vacuum cleaner manufacturer. But before all that, he took part in the war by joining the US Army Air Forces and serving as a pilot, bombardier, and navigator. His flair for airplanes though wasn’t just brought about by the war though—it started when he was young when his father took him flying in a Ford Trimotor.

After the war, Oreck started working as an RCA wholesale distributor in New York. Working with the company for 17 years, he steadily climbed the ranks to become the general sales manager. It was in 1963 when he started the Oreck Corporation selling vacuum cleaners by mail. Oreck explained he had a good idea and a lot of energy but no money, claiming it took him around 20 years of hard work to become even in the slightest bit successful. He believed in never ever giving up though and that clearly paid off.

DeWitt Wallace was born on November 12, 1889 in St. Paul in Minnesota. His father was part of the faculty of Macalester College when he was growing up so it was natural for him to later on enroll in the college as well. However, Wallace only attended Macalester from 1907 to 1909, transferring to University of California, Berkeley to complete the remainder of his schooling. He returned home in 1912 and was hired by a publishing firm.

When World War I broke out, Wallace was enlisted by the US Army. He was injured while serving and spent four months in France recovering. During this period, he passed time reading magazines. And he continued reading magazines when he went back to the US, spending the next six months inside the Minneapolis Public Library. There, he was researching and condensing articles in magazines and from there he realized that he wanted to create a magazine wherein articles on all sorts of topics are featured but abridged so they could easily be read. This was how Reader’s Digest began.

The Wallaces published the magazine themselves at first, marketing it through direct mail. Reader’s Digest first came out on February 5, 1922 and since then enjoyed rapid success to become one of the most widely circulated magazines in the world. Wallace stayed on as editor until 1965.

Aside from Reader’s Digest, Wallace was also busy as a philanthropist, donating a huge chunk of his wealth to Macalester College. Having spent time in Northfield Mount Hermon School (then Mount Hermon School) in his youth, a dormitory was also named after him. In 1972, Wallace was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon. In 1980, he became part of the Junior Achievement US Business Hall of Fame. In 1985, he funded the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum in Colonial Willamsburg, Virginia.

One of the pioneers behind Coca-Cola, Charles Emory Culpeper was born on May 11, 1874. He was one of nine children, growing up in a farm in Rome, Georgia. His successes were notable because he never finished highschool. But despite the disadvantage, Culpeper was industrious, first working as a country store clerk before becoming a traveling salesman. He worked various jobs until he joined Coca-Cola in 1899.

In 1917, Culpeper bought the Coca-Cola Bottling Works of New York and Newark for $160,000. Under his management, the two companies were merged to become The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of New York. With many of his years spent with the Coca-Cola company, a substantial portion of his fortune was made up of his shares from the company.

Culpeper died in 1940 in Norwalk, Connecticut. But though he moved to Norwalk in 1913, he never forgot his roots in Georgia, always concerned about improving the condition of the community for everyone’s betterment.

Carl Henry Lindner, Jr. was an American businessman. Hailing from Norwood, Ohio, Lindner was considered as one of the richest people in the world, ranking 133 in Forbes Magazine’s 400 list in 2006 with an estimated worth of $2.3 billion. He dropped out of school when he was 14 years old when the Great Depression was in full swing, helping expand the family dairy business into what would become the United Dairy Farmers. Aside from his dairy business, Lindner also controlled 42% of the American Financial Group, a Cincinnati-based holding company delving in insurance and investments, and was CEO and part owner of the Cincinnati Reds. His other investments include United Brands, Gulf+Western, Warner Communications, Penn Central, and Kroger.

In 1997, Lindner joined the ranks of other entrepreneurs and businessmen when he was inducted into the US Business Hall of Fame for Junior Achievement. He also donated a substantial amount of his wealth to charitable causes and supported a number of private schools in Cincinnati. In 2011, he was honored by the University of Cincinnati by renaming their College of Business into the Carl H. Lindner College of Business in recognition of the Lindner Family’s contributions to the business, university, and college community.

Even though he wasn’t a Jew, he was a very big donor to the organized Jewish community in the US, named in 1978 by the United Jewish Appeal as the Man of the Year. In addition, Lindner also received the Tree of Life Award from the Jewish National Fund. According to Lindner, he received an early loan from Isaac Wolfson and this is what inspired him to not even for one second forget his gratitude towards the Jews. Some of the biggest contributions he’s made to the Jewish community include support in various fundraisers where he gave $1 million in 1991 and $5 million in 2004.

David Overton had dreamt of becoming a professional drummer during the 1970s. However, he decided to throw that dream away. Instead, he opened a restaurant in Beverly Hills, California where he used his parent’s cheesecake as the highlight of the main course served to attract his customers.

Overton did not even have a grand opening for his store or any marketing scheme to get his company up and running. Nevertheless, he was able to catch the attention of a load of customers. This is where Cheesecake Factory Inc. started making noise in the food industry.

Today, the Cheesecake Factory Inc. is a publicly traded company with more than 32,000 employees. The company generates $1.6 billion annual revenue with a bakery and three restaurant brands. When asked about his retirement during an interview conducted by the Wall Street Journal, the 65-year-old Mr. Overton said he had not set his retirement plans yet as his three sons took a different path and were not working in his company.

James “Jim” Kimsey is just among the clever individuals who were able to take advantage of the opportunities that the Internet has been providing since its inception and reception. Kimsey is the founder, first chairman, and former CEO of the popular internet services provider America Online (AOL). While he is most known for creating the said business, which is the largest company that was ever established in Washington, D.C., he has also led many other enterprises, as well as military and philanthropic projects and endeavors.

Born on September 15, 1939, Kimsey grew up in Arlington, Virginia. After he was dismissed from Gonzaga College High School, he went to attend St. John’s College High School. He then went to Georgetown University for one term while on an honors scholarship. He also attended the United States Military Academy at West Point. He graduated from the said academy in 1962.

Jim used to serve in the U.S. Army. He became a lieutenant, exhibiting active participation in the U.S. interventions in Vietnam and Dominican Republic. He was in three combat tours as an Airborne Ranger, two of which were served in the Vietnam War, giving him various awards for service and valor. In July 2005, he became a Ranger Hall of Famer and in 2008, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point gave him the Distinguished Graduate Award for Outstanding Service to the Nation.

After serving eight years in the military, he bought a building in downtown Washington, D.C. in 1970. He rented out the top floor and on the ground floor, he established a bar called The Exchange. In May 1983, he worked as a manufacturing consultant for Control Video Corporation (CVC) which was near bankruptcy at the time. CVC was later reorganized as Quantum Computer Services, which was again reorganized as America Online or AOL. Kimsey served as the company’s CEO until 1995, before Steve Case assumed the position.