46. Alabama : Garry Drummond
Eight decades ago, Garry Drummond’s father put up three mules as collateral on a $300 bank loan from a rural Alabama bank; those beasts were an active part of the business, hauling coal from mines to the farms and homesteads that became his customers. That Depression-era industriousness paid off handsomely.
Garry started at the business in 1961, after a University of Alabama engineering degree, and became CEO in 1973, three years after the company got its big break: a deal to provide coal to Japanese steel companies. The Drummond Company today is a $3 billion-in-sales miner of coal used in electric and steel production. Its enviable reserves total more than 2 billion tons through its mines in Alabama and Colombia. An expansion has led it into real estate, and it now oversees four luxury planned communities in Alabama, Florida and California.