Celebrating America’s Greatest Active Entrepreneurs

Gary Hoover, who is arguably America’s foremost student of business history and entrepreneurship (he has 57,000 books in his personal library!), asked this fascinating question:


“Who is the greatest active American entrepreneur?”

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Spoiler alert.

Gary selected someone who still runs the company he founded 46 years ago. This company has revenues of $50 billion, has 335,000 employees, and is listed on Fortune’s 100 Best Places to Work.


You should read Gary’s article on Hooversworld.com to see all the reasons why he chose Fred Smith, CEO of FedEx, founded in 1971.


I’m glad Gary’s criteria included things besides “market capitalization” because there’s much more to being a great entrepreneur than the bottom line, and how rich he or she becomes.


Other great entrepreneurs (but no longer alive or running the company they founded) that Gary mentions include Henry Ford, Walt Disney, George EastmanSteve Jobs, Sam Walton, and Bill Gates.


Up and comers include Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Larry Page.

With the rise of more socially conscious entrepreneurs, the recent comments of Pope Francis, and given my years at Gallup where we studied employee engagement, well-being, and human development worldwide, I’d like to pose a slightly different question:


Of all active entrepreneurs and business leaders in the US
who do you think cares most about and invests the most in developing their employees?


I’m eager to compile a list of “good business leaders” who care more about people than anything else.


I wonder what makes them tick. I’m curious how they choose to invest in their people. What does all of that look like?


Please put your nominations in the comments below.


I will do research on all of the nominees, and write future blog posts about “good business leaders.”


I’m really excited to get started.


If you can’t think of any business leaders who deeply care about and generously invest in their employees–instead of exploiting them–then we’re kind of in trouble. 😉


Please try to think of at least one nominee, national, or local.

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