35. Idaho : Scott Simplot
Spuds are what make Scott Simplot rich. His father, J.R. Simplot, dropped out of the eighth grade, worked odd jobs on farms and then bought his own potato farm. He became the father of the frozen French fry when he developed an innovative freezing process.
Shortly before Simplot’s death in 2008, his eponymous company was supplying a third of American’s French fries. (Anyone eating at McDonald’s has tasted one.) Simplot also expanded into phosphate mining and fertilizer production. Scott is chairman and chief executive of the company now. He shares the duties of running his father’s firm with siblings Gay and Ted.